Practical Ideas You Can Put To Use Within 48 Hours.
In a moment of holiday weakness, my daughter talked me into pulling out some of our old family photos. It wasn’t until after the pictures were put away I realized the version of me I saw in the photos was different than the current version of myself. I’m not talking about physical changes and the effects of getting older that made me look different. What became clear to me was parts of my character are different and possibly even improved. I am far from a finished product, and definitely a work in progress, but it was nice to consider that parts of me have become better.
Personal Development and Leadership Coaching are all about getting better but growth and improvement are not automatic and don’t happen chronologically. It requires work. I’ve not met one person who improved their fitness by hanging out at the gym and watching other people work out. In the same way, changing our character and improving ourselves as leaders happens deliberately and incrementally. That was my “Aha moment” in looking at the pictures. The “old me” pictures reminded me there were areas of my life that either needed work or I wanted to improve. I remember at the time doing some self-evaluation, seeking feedback, writing out my intention and a plan and then working on those areas. For me this is different than a resolution, where the focus is on starting something new. In this case, the focus was articulating the improved version of myself, and then using that description as a beacon and a standard.
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo
Here are some ideas for making progress toward incremental greatness:
What’s one thing you will work on this year to increase your self-awareness?
- Be more conscious of how you come across to others
- Ask others for feedback on how you are perceived or where you could improve
- Review your past 360 evaluations or performance reviews
- Read books that challenge and inspire you to stretch
- When you make mistakes or don’t measure up, review the situation, look at your role and identify what you will do different next time
What’s one thing you will do to increase your value and effectiveness?
- Invest in someone else’s growth and development/actively sponsor someone with potential
- Stop criticizing and complaining and dive in to create solutions
- Take a leadership role outside of your normal function or role
- Come alongside someone who is struggling and offer help
- Actively demonstrate appreciation for others
What’s one thing you will do to have more of the life you want?
- Take deliberate action toward one of your goals or dreams
- Invest in a friendship that has lifelong potential or mend a broken or strained relationship
- Plan your vacation earlier this year and be deliberate with how you spend your time off
- Work on being present and being the best version of yourself in every situation
- Make healthier choices about your diet and your sleep
The questions and ideas above are intended to be a list of suggestions and also to demonstrate it doesn’t have to be something huge. We just have to do something, maybe even just one thing. Don’t be fooled, procrastination and perfectionism are two enemies of greatness.
Incremental greatness works when we focus on PROGRESS rather than PERFECTION and progress always starts with taking one action. So what’s the one thing you will do and when will you start? It’s a good idea to review your commitments on a monthly basis and be sure to assess your progress at the end of the year.