It’s that time of year, again, and the pressure is on to turn over a new leaf or achieve more. If you are like many of us, the process of identifying what we need to do more of, and visioning about what could be can be frustrating.
Indeed, the statistics on succeeding with New Year’s resolutions is grim. It is said that 80% fail by February. The reasons could fill a book (and they have!). But I’d like to propose a new approach for your new year that is more powerful.
Consider focusing on what is working for you and take that to a deeper level.
You see, we’ve fallen prey to thinking we must target imperfection and head for perfection. And perfection is something that is not humanly attainable. Even so, the world keeps telling us to get more, do more, and be more than we are – a dastardly setup. As we buy into this, it can create and feed the mindset of a hamster on a wheel – keep going, spin faster and faster. And we all know where that ends (if you don’t, the wheel only spins until the exhausted hamster stops).
What would it be like, instead, to capitalize on what is working for you and simply do more of that? To create a mindset of gratitude for the abilities you possess, and to use these to impact the world around you to a greater level?
Here’s a five-step process that can help you to be more of your best self, make bigger impact, and simplify your life at the same time:
1. Take an inventory to identify the top three gifts or abilities you bring to life’s table.
- Are you someone who is able to influence others easily?
- Do you have a special gift for making sure that things run smoothly? Note these.
2. Measure the impact you have been able to make by using these top three gifts.
- In other words, because you have used these gifts, what outcomes have you been able to see for yourself?
- For others?
- How have these made a difference?
3. Do a mental scan.
- Discover the opportunity you have to be even more effective through flexing these gifts.
- Mentally scan the areas in life and work where you could use more of your top gifts to make greater impact. Let’s call these areas your “growth areas.”
4. Triage to streamline.
- You may see a growth area where you can flex more influence, but in doing so, you won’t have as much time to spend doing other things.
- Don’t make the mistake of stopping the exercise – this is part of the process. Instead, simply make a list of these other things.
- Now, take the list of things you have identified that might interfere with flexing your gifts to a greater extent.
- Are they things someone else can take over for you?
- Or are they initiatives that are “nice” but not necessary – or which can be pushed back to a later time?
- Be intentional in your prioritizing so that you create a picture for yourself that is congruent and effective.
You hold the key to the new year. You alone can choose how you want to spend your time, your focus, and whether you want to make significant impact.
I encourage you to step off the hamster wheel the world has created, and to claim a platform where you can truly make more of a difference.
Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive consulting, leadership development, succession planning, change management, and conflict resolution. She is also an experienced Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.