Time is elusive, it can’t be grouped, limited, can’t be controlled…it simply keeps on moving and ticking away whether we like it or not. What we do have control over is what we do with our time and how do we spend it. Audit your life to see if you are spending time on small insignificant things which don’t matter in the great scheme of life or are you more intentional and strategic towards achievement and attainment of your goals. Our goals will and do vary, they will change, evolve and grow, but the way we get to them will always be the same, by putting in the necessary work. Nothing will ever replace the hard work we all must put in to reach our goals. Talent, skills, connections…they will all play a part in easing the process, but the work is the only true constant which is non-negotiable and is here to stay.
Are you working hard enough towards what you want or have you though of another excuse today? Being honest with yourself (not anyone else) is a prerequisite for change.
Leaders must not only be honest, truthful and knowledgeable, but the very best of them are authentic and consistent as well. If you make a decision, stand behind it across all challenges (both internal and external) and communicate authentically across the enterprise. People you work with must know why you made the choices you have made and they need to know that your principles, integrity and leadership and consistent and non-negotiable.
Be who you are at all times, everyone else is already taken.
Our vantage points and perspectives differ and they matter when making decisions which is why it is important to do your best to understand as much of the environment as possible. Understand what and who influences decisions.
As you progress in your career, your priorities and responsibilities will change and so will your decisions. It is important to do your best in trying to understand how and why decisions are made and what has influence on the final outcomes. In my career, I’ve come across decisions I didn’t understand and didn’t agree with (some of them I STILL don’t understand or agree with), but it is important to differentiate between questioning everything (which is generally good) and simply refusing to accept a decision without any effort to understand the circumstances (which is not good).
“Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes” – American proverb
Listen, learn, question everything, speak, advance, grow, contribute, yet be mindful that the same area might be seen differently based on vision, strategy and importance from different perspectives and vantage points.
Focus on present actions, not your future desires. Focus on your journey, not just on the outcome or destination. You must know what you want, what you truly want and why you are doing all of this. Why are you putting in your time, effort, energy, commitment…connect to your why first. This why has to be yours and you must own it. Don’t do stuff because someone else wants it, you must want it in order for it to make sense and for your drive to get you there.
On this journey, you need to be flexible yet committed to the outcome that matters to you. Each day, make progress and you will get there. No matter how large and ambitious your goals may be (by the way, dream BIG!) they can all be broken down into more manageable smaller increments which when put together will have you standing across the finish line. Furthermore, progress equals fulfillment, and it makes us feel alive, makes us move, and enjoy each day. With that in mind, focus on making progress each day, even if it is smaller than you wanted it to be, it’s still better than NOTHING, it is still better than where you were yesterday.
Keep moving forward!
Planning our future and our goals is something we all do across both our personal and professional lives. Planning is good, but it is utterly useless without accompanying action. Lack of commitment to continuously making progress is the single largest cause of why most of us don’t reach majority of our major goals and keep postponing them year after year (at times until it is too late to act on some of them).
Furthermore, the way most of us do this historically is via “to do” lists which rarely (if ever) work. When it comes to these lists, all we end up doing is carrying them around in our phones, tablets, computers, pockets, books…with little to no action on any of the major items. Instead try using your calendar and actually block off time to act on making progress towards your goals. Even if this progress is small initially it is still a step in the right direction. Think about it. Let’s say that you need to write a book and you begin with a page a day. A year later, you will have 365 pages and your book will be done for the most part. Small steps are OK as long as you keep taking them.
Pitching your project, product or service is a necessary step in entering a new market or a segment. It is a necessary skill in getting the word out, in attracting investors and in staying in business in general.
Furthermore, during your presentations you should be prepared for all the questions that might and will come your way. You must do your due diligence, your research on your markets, competitors, your products and services as well as on those you will be pitching to. You have to know it all and be prepared BEFORE you step up to that opportunity as that one event could have a significant impact on the overall success of your product, services, perhaps business as a whole. Do your homework, know your audience, it will make all the difference.
Your team matters a lot, even more than some of you might think. They matter as much as you do (if not more in some instances) as their actions, values and contributions speak volumes about you, their leader.
Your job is to select (attract and retain) the best people you can, provide them needed resources then get out of their way. In this process you must allow, enable even expect in a sense a failure or two…they should be allowed to experiment, grow, learn, advance and even make mistakes along the way without fear of repercussions (this obviously doesn’t apply in EVERY situation). Treat people the way you want to be treated and remarkable things lay ahead, trust me.
Hard work is a prerequisite for nearly everything of value in life. However, while we all know this to be true, in practice we often behave differently. For some reason way too many of us over estimate our talents and under estimate the work it will take to reach our goals. Furthermore, we often attempt to go through business and life relying on talents alone and that is rarely enough for anything above mediocrity, slightly above average at best.
Of all the people I’ve ever met, across dozens of countries on multiple continents, I am yet to meet ONE person who has been very successful (business, life, career…whatever) without putting in the hours, days, months, years of hard work. Talents are important, but please realize that they are not enough to reach your full potential or to even come close. With this in mind, we get to the remaining ingredients of passion and quality. In order to be valuable to others and therefore successful, do your best to work in the crossroads of passion, quality, talents and hard work…go all in and success is unavoidable.
ONE LIFE, MAKE IT COUNT! As far as we all know, we each get one chance at life and as such we should value it a lot more, respect those of others and do everything that we can to make it better, more enjoyable and fulfilling. Your past is exactly that, your past, it is gone, it is behind you and it can’t be changed, corrected or altered in any way.
However, what you can do and influence is today, tomorrow and each subsequent day you get to enjoy and live, live to the fullest. Audit your life, your career and assess your current place and where you want to be. If there’s a mismatch, you have work to do and that work needs to be focused and begin today. It needs to start today as you don’t want to regret wasting your life on frivolous and unimportant things, things that didn’t matter in the end. Regret is a heavy burden to carry years and decades from now, so get moving, NOW!
Do you know your CEO? More importantly, do they know you? I ask this as I know that you are a high achieving and high performing individual and as such have aspirations to grow, advance and make progress. If my assumption is correct, it is important to do what you can (where possible and practical) to be more visible at the highest level. This visibility should obviously be focused on your positive attitude, great knowledge and skills as well as contributions that go well beyond your current responsibilities.
Remember, you demonstrate your qualities and capabilities first, then look for an opportunity to leverage them for the greater benefit of all those you work with. Along that path, your personal reward, recognition and advancement will come as well.