At the beach on my recent holiday, I strode into the water and got knee deep pretty quickly. I surveyed the waves at the gorgeous Boomerang Beach and thought, 'They're certainly not swimming waves, but I am definitely going under!', so I moved forward and got thigh deep. I kept looking out at the stunning water, thinking, 'It will be so nice once I'm in, I'll feel so refreshed and energised' and then as the wave approached me, I turned my back to it and took the hit of pressure instead of going under. Then again, then again. Despite knowing that I genuinely wanted to get in and get that amazing rush of the ocean it took me a good 10 minutes of self-talk and wry smiles at the lady next to me doing the same thing.
Will you make the most of your opportunities this year?
I think that's a similar feeling many of us get when we're faced with the opportunity to take the plunge into something new and exciting at work. Whether it's the opportunity for a new role, making some changes in our team, taking on a new project or simply walking into a new year in your current role, we're faced with the prospect of jumping in: do we create a life by design, or default?
With that, I hope you have started the year feeling refreshed and full of positive energy! Energy that you're keen to channel in the direction of achieving something significant and meaningful this year. Something that will shift the dial for you at work, but will also impact you positively at home as well. Depending on your vision, that will look different for you compared with me and my vision and the vision of your boss and your peers.
Do you have a vision for how you want the year to play out?
I suppose the first question you need to address is whether you have a clear vision for the outcomes you want to achieve this year. I often say to my clients, 'If we were having a conversation over a glass of wine in December, what would you be telling me about the year?'.
So in the safety of your inbox, with no one watching or judging, I invite you to take this opportunity to think big about the possibilities for you this year. What would be the big things you'd have accomplished that sitting at your desk now, in the 2nd week of January, seem completely out of reach? I'm not talking about your CPI salary increase, your year-end bonus, or the year-end(s) you've managed to get through. That's BAU - part of the job. What are the things you'll be particularly proud of? That will set you up for an incredible 2021?
Will you push yourself out of your comfort zone and seek a horizontal or upward move within your organisation? Will you raise the bar for your finance leadership team so that they have no choice but to work cohesively together as 'One Finance'? Will you actively champion those high potential female leaders in your leadership team by investing in their professional development to grow their career?
Do yourself a favour, and take the time now - if you haven't already - and invest in this thinking. If you can't think it, you won't achieve it...as they say, 'hope is not a strategy'. Here is a simple template to get you started.
Context does not preclude clarity
One of the things you might be thinking is, 'but I don't know how the year is going to play out? What changes will come up in my role, my company, etc? It's impossible to be clear on achieving something without fully understanding the context?' You're both right and wrong here. Yes, you don't know what changes will arise, what curveballs you'll be thrown, but when you are clear on what you want to achieve and most importantly why you want to achieve them, context won't be the thing that makes achievement seemingly impossible. If you commit to the journey, you will achieve big things.
Shifts in context simply allow you to refine the opportunities available for you to achieve those things and usually those refinements mean that the outcomes are better, bigger and more meaningful. You might know the infamous story behind how post-it notes came to be? Dr Stephen Spencer, a research scientist for 3M, was trying to come up with an ultra-strong adhesive which was the company's focus at the time. What he created clearly didn't fulfil that brief, but over time and through Spencer's conviction in his creation and adaptation to the changing contexts, he put a strip of the removable adhesive on the back of a small yellow square of paper and....well, the rest is history.
Clarity is contagious
It's unlikely you'll be able to achieve your vision alone. In fact, I'd say that achieving your vision will be highly dependent on the skills, time and priorities of others around you, the business, your clients, your team. Which means you'll need to have a solid vision to compel them to help you. You'll need to be able to tell the story about why you want to achieve a particular thing, what you need in order to do it and why they should want to be help you. And when time's get tough, you'll need to repeat that story, and explain again why you're taking a certain approach.
If you are clear in what you want to achieve, why you want to achieve it and how you intent on achieving it, it's easy for others to understand. When it's easy for others to understand, it's easy for them to help.
It makes it easier for you to achieve your vision.
The time is now
So, while it may have taken me 9 minutes too long to take the plunge at the beach, let me ask you this: how long are you going to wait to achieve the outcomes you want? Is this your time?
What do you want from this year?
I invite you to make 2020 count.
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