As we are coming to the end of the year, I am in a reflective mood and a lot has happened in 2017, most of which I could not have foreseen. Looking back at my posts, here are five of my most popular articles that contain lessons that have served me well.
How often have you found yourself wanting to be somewhere different but stuck where you are now? To get to that new place we have to be willing to give something up. So what am I attached to that I am afraid of giving up? This question shows how we trap ourselves. We seek the perceived security of what we know and view the unknown with doubt and fear. To move forward we have to ask ourselves, “What are we willing to let go of?”
My story has and probably always will be, to get more done I have to work harder and longer. I have started to assess my capacity, only committing to those items that fit within my available time. I always want to do more than I have time available, nothing new there. Deciding what not to do is always a miserable experience but I am learning something very interesting. When I do, it feels great to complete the things I have committed to and not have a list of things I promised and couldn’t deliver. This is a liberating feeling and I am getting more done by committing to less.
In my new coaching and consulting career, it is hard for me to gauge my progress. I live with the question, “Am I doing enough?” There is no good answer to this question and I usually default to doing more, just to be sure. The more productive approach is to ask myself “Am I making the expected progress on the things I have promised?” This leads me to ask, “Am I making the right promises?” Doing the right thing is always better than simply doing more. There is no end to the amount of work we can do.
Complaining has a bad rap. We associate complaining with whiners who prefer to blame instead of getting things done. I have seen light hearted ‘No Complaining!’ signs around the office. I think we are missing the point. What do we do when a promise has been broken? When a key commitment isn’t met? Complaining is a skill and if done well, it is a game changer. The easy approach is to blame but it rarely accomplishes anything. Instead, make a complaint and focus on two things. Are we in agreement on what was promised and do we agree on what has been done? The answers to these questions will lead to a valuable discussion about why we have a breakdown and what needs to be done to avoid another one in future.
Looking back at my corporate career, I had feeling it was time to do something else but I wasn’t prepared to make the decision. I was held back by a couple of things, my story that quitting is for losers and my fear of the uncertain future. Seth Godin does a great job in his book ‘The Dip’ to outline when you should quit. I was stuck in a dead end path and didn’t see it clearly. To overcome my fear I focus on my long term goal, keeping it in front of me from day to day.
I wish you and your family a very happy holiday and a successful 2018! I will return with more new posts in January.