leadership incorporated blog

December 6, 2010

Inspired To Succeed: How did you get schooled by 2010?

The last year has provided plenty of learning  opportunities —although you may not have seen them that way. How have you grown as a result of what’s happened in your work and life?
Most of us  stopped noticing our growth years ago. Still. we continue to grow every year. We still go through phases in which we develop new skills or circle around to master those we’ve already acquired.

We’re all always in the school of life, always growing, but our curriculum is no longer set by teachers, it’s set by our own challenges, opportunities and desires.

Looking back over 2010, in the Life University School of Business, what courses were you enrolled in?

Were you learning about dealing with adversity? Or perhaps seizing opportunity? Did you develop new ways of seeing yourself or your work? What are you taking away from this year’s lessons?

And what courses are you signing on for in 2011? Of course, you can wait a year, let life choose for you, and see what you’ve learned in hindsight. But I’d like to invite you to get intentional about your growth and experience the difference that makes.

Does that sound woo-woo to you? Well, it doesn’t to my client R.S. At the end of October, she set a clear intention for her career. This week, she realized her objective almost to the letter of what she had described one short month ago. Her comment to me:”I’m a little freaked out by my power here.”

Her message to you: don’t underestimate the power of intention.
If you’d like to get intentional about your personal and professional growth in 2011, here’s a tool you can use:
I call it my Annual Theme. And I’ve used it for 5 years with incredible results. The annual theme is a personal stretch that can be a game changer.
How do you identify your stretch? I usually spend the month of December reflecting on where I am, how far I’ve come and what’s next for me. As I think about my goals and desires for the coming year, I look for the missing piece of the puzzle, and usually something rises to the top as my area for focus in the coming year.

Here are some questions you might ask yourself to help your theme rise to the top:

What do you want for yourself in 2011? Look at both business and personal

Now, what do you really want?

Fill in the blanks on this sentence:

I’d have everything I need to get  [what I really want], if I were more _____________.

Is there someone out there who has been down the path you want to travel? Someone who’s gotten close? Who did they need to become to get there? What do they have that you don’t think you have?

Your theme will be personal. It will be simple — usually just one word. It will be something you have control over. Something you can apply to any situation.

Here are some examples:

  • Focus
  • Planning
  • Confidence
  • Public Speaking
  • One-to-one speaking
  • Closing
  • Connection
  • Communication
  • Understanding
  • Patience
  • Organization
  • Vision
  • Decisiveness
  • Innovation
  • Observing
  • Listening
  • Slowing down
  • Speeding up
  • Inspiring others
  • Clarity

I usually put my Annual Theme up on the desktop of my computer and look at it every morning. I work on making a habit of walking into every situation with the intention of seeing how my theme can be applied. I make it a priority. And then I practice, practice, practice.

You’ll know you’re on the right track if the idea of stretching into your theme scares you a little (or a lot).

Get growing. And feel free to let me know how it goes.

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