As a coach, I work with my clients to enable them achieve their potential.
I often ask the question, ‘What are you becoming?’, and I hear answers like
- I am becoming tough
- I am becoming a better person
- I am becoming more aware of my nature etc
The question seeks to probe into the long-term vision that a person may have for his or her life, but, surprisingly, most people don’t seem to think beyond one or two years into the future and have no visibility into the long term. This may be because people get caught up in managing day to day deliverables of their job and managing life as it happens, and seldom focus on the big picture.
This leads to:
- Dissatisfaction when small things go wrong
- Confusion on where they are heading
- Lack of interest in their daily activities as they don’t see how they fit into the overall picture
- Inability to appreciate the good things that are happening
- Unable to connect professional success to personal success
In today’s world where there is very less differentiation between work life and personal life, our success in work life is considered overall success. We spend majority of our time doing our jobs and draw satisfaction from our professional achievements, so why not say that we are investing in becoming the best manager, the best marketer, expert in AI space or best sales pro. Our happiness need not come from an esoteric passion that we pursue over the weekends, our day jobs can be what we are passionate about.
As we work on a daily basis towards achieving our professional targets, lets also get ‘intentional’ about what we become as a person – becoming a better marketer, a better sales pro, better artist, or a best version of what you can be in your chosen area of expertise.
If the question to you is, ‘What are you becoming?’, and you don’t know the long term impact of your current strengths, here is where you begin.
Know your spark: What’s your spark? Are you an artist, are you a chef, academician, marketer, sales pro, designer, doctor…what’s your special talent. It’s not necessary that you must have just one spark, you can have more than one. But, if you wish to become an expert, you need to choose one area that you will pursue until you become an expert.
Find a goal that ignites you: In the lines of what Stephen Covey says in his book, the 7 habits of highly effective people, ‘Begin with the end in mind’. Find a goal that aligns with your values, one that can keep you intrinsically motivated. You can set a 1year goal or may be a long term three year goal. You can set a maximum of 4 or 5 goals to pursue. They can be a professional or career goal, a health and fitness goal, a financial goals, a relationship goals and a adventure or travel goal.
Set Macro goals, and Micro quotas: They say that the devil is in the details. Take as much time as is needed to ensure that you work out every detail of the plan before you start executing. Ask as many ‘what if’ questions to ensure that you have thought of every scenario that may arise and how you will deal with them, in case they happen.
It will be a great idea to prepare an answer for ‘What if I fail’ question. Most of us don’t think of this scenario. This question is to help you stay prepared, but not to scare you from progressing with your vision.
The big hairy audacious goal can be broken down into manageable annual and quarterly goals, again broken down into weekly and daily tasks to be taken up and completed. Review yourself against your goals regularly so you get a clear picture on where you are in terms of progress and what corrective action needs to be taken when there is a set back.
Your routines define your success. Your motivation will make it easy to start and then after a few months, contentment sets in. Early success can be dangerous, and this can also result in one becoming content and lazy. One can get a little lax in terms of how they pursue their daily routine. Having a daily routine can be very beneficial, as you will ensure attending to and completing the most critical work on a daily basis. This approach will ensure that you remain on track. Compartmentalize your day to ensure that you tackle the most difficult task at your most productive time.
Develop an unbeatable work ethic: Work ethic beats talent in the long run even among the talented. Your work ethic flows from your values, beliefs and your attitude. If you embrace a performance or goal oriented mindset, people oriented mindset etc, then that mindset should translate into an acceptable set of behavior at work or in life. This in turn becomes your work ethic. This in turn create the organizational culture. For eg, how quickly do you respond to a request from your colleagues, how do you deal with internal conflicts within team members, how do you deal with customer complaints, how to do manage time in your meetings etc, depends on the work ethic that you create for yourself and adhere to. With a good work ethic, even the most complacent individuals can achieve wonderful results.
Be your own boss and be accountable: We do some of these things extremely well when it comes to professional life, as there is a HR department that makes it mandatory for you to be part of a performance management system. But, when it comes to personal life, we take it easy. There is none monitoring us and managing us.
What if you took personal accountability for your goal achievement, and for your success. If you did that, you would be a lot more responsible. Review your progress periodically and be flexible to make course correction when needed. If you had spent a lot of time planning, then you will know what you need to do get back on track.
Understand the power of ‘committing’ to doing something: Often, all you need is a change in the way you think. For example, if you were trying to complete an online program and are unable to find time, think about what’s holding you back from putting your mind to it. It’s likely that you are ‘trying’ your best to find the 2 hours you need. What if you ‘committed’ yourself to finding the 2 hours. If you ‘committed’, instead of just ‘trying’, You will start reprioritizing the tasks on your daily schedule, you might drop a few tasks in order to find the 2 hours you need. Always remember that ‘trying’ to do something has in it the permission for you to fail. But, ‘committing’ to do something has an inbuilt dose of your favorite tonic that does not allow you to fail and can get you run the extra mile. With commitment, failure as an option is off the table. So, choose your words wisely.
Find a mentor: Looks around for people in your area of expertise who inspire you. Try to understand their journey – assimilate their learnings and try to emulate them if you wish. They can be your best mentors. If you can reach out to them, and if they are willing, request them to mentor you.
In conclusion, I would like to state that someone who does not have a concrete goal, does his or her best to go with the flow. In a few years, they find themselves having to come to terms with where they have arrived in life. And chances are that they might not like where they have arrived.
Our life is a sum total of all our choices and our decisions.
Live life more consciously, purposefully and deliberately.
Then you can intentionally design your daily outcomes and can say, “I am becoming a world class marketer/big data analyst/artist – the best that I can be”
About the Author:
Sandhya Reddy is a PCC Accredited Executive Coach and Leadership coach based in Bangalore, India. She is the Founder and Principal Coach at Chapter Two Coaching, a coaching consultancy that specializes in leadership development. She has over 750+ hours of experience with coaching senior professionals. She has enabled personal transformation for over 1500+ individuals through coaching interventions, workshops, webinars and mentoring.
Chapter Two helps leaders in middle levels and senior levels engage better with their teams, peers and senior stakeholders. We help teams develop a growth and performance mindset, align better with the organizational culture and values and function more cohesively. We are also passionate about women’s leadership development and have developed a practice around it. We enable leadership development through 1:1 coaching interventions and through a set of curated leadership and personal transformational workshops.