An unexamined life is not worth living- Socrates
A lot of what happened in our lives, careers, and organizational lives happened for a reason. Some of these reasons were unbeknownst to us from the beginning. In hindsight, it unraveled with greater clarity. The speck in our eyes got dusted off and pretty soon, with honesty and candor, we began to search for real meanings.
The unexpected successes that we have cannot all be credited to luck. Luck is product of being in the right time, in the right place, presenting your best, in worst and glorious conditions. For example, walking along the cafeteria, you met an old friend and started having a conversation, and before you knew it, he gave you a piece of insight that helped you in your current project. Who would have thought that it could turn out that good? Not expecting it would be an understatement.
We live in an interconnected world that is hard to ignore. We are all part of the system, whether we like it or not. We belong to a small whole, that is part of a bigger universe and so on and so forth. Luck is being prepared when the right opportunity comes -- come snow or high water.
With that in perspective, it is easy to brush off a one-time issue, problem, or challenge. When it gets repeated with same results, you better get down to it. It's a pattern that can be corrected or if positive, maximized or that is a symptom of far greater thing you can't possibly handle all by yourself. You might need a telescope rather than a microscope. You might need a rheostat than a thermostat. You might need a nimble, light approach rather than CAT scraper.
Depending on the situation, examine your accidental prosperity, favor, or success. Let that give you the fuel to seek what is right around the corner, and seize the day with vigor.
My three-year-old daughter claims that "she pressed the wrong button" and apologized for making a mistake or making a minor infraction. I don't know about you but I find this to be very apt.
We have a lot of buttons in front of us all the time. We try to press the right button but that doesn't mean that we do it with 100% accuracy. We do the balancing act: searching for understanding in light of uncertainty and complexity, looking for commonalities and broad-based agreements, pursuing the high road.
Understanding the right cues and contexts, and ensuring we practice empathy, active listening, and regard for others is always good at any situation. But sometimes, we misread people and situations, we overreact or become stone-walled, or sometimes react badly with the slightest provocation.
Making mistakes is part of our humanity in the context of many buttons. We have to stop incriminating ourselves, instead treat mistakes as a vehicle for learning and evolution. It is never fatal unless, it becomes an ego issue.
Defiance is better left to more substantive issues of the day.
How do you welcome a new year?
-Do you make those silly resolutions that fail after two weeks?
-Do you jot down key goals and share these to your loved-ones and accountability partners?
- Do you start with positive attitude knowing that this year can be better than the last or exceed your expectations/
-Do you start a new habit right after the eve and pronounce war with resistance?
-Do you become cynical about making changes in your life that what you want to do is to just get ' that one thing done at a time?'
These are not trick questions meant to make you feel inadequate but to provoke you to consider adopting the road less travelled. The road less travelled is not easier but it works because you are not fighting against yourself or against the odds that are bent on crushing you.
It is about harnessing your greatest strengths because those things can elevate your performance from 'good enough' to 'excellent.' If you are good in writing, focus on writing. If you are good in marketing, perfect that marketing proof or that material you want to develop. If you want to have a stab at innovation, start leading an innovation camp within your organization. Don't try to be something you are not destined to be! Go where there is the natural flow and let that take you places you don't imagine exist.
Try to look at areas in your life that are not developed enough but have the potential to fulfill your spirit, increase your joy, build efficacy, and maintain your discipline. These areas are evidences that you can be better at something without going overboard and breaking your bank and back. Furthermore, this exercise can give you the added nudge to move in parallel to where your priorities are for the year.
You can only start from what you have, not what you don't have. Consider moving in areas where there is the least resistance and get a big dollop of satisfaction from accomplishing them.
Now that the year is ending, a perfect vision emerges.
Here are some of the top questions to guide you to reflect on the year that is ending very soon.
What had we accomplished this year and what didn't work?
What were the accidental successes and what were the unexpected failures?
Should you do more with ___what?
Should you do less with ____ what?
What should you build?
And what should you be forsaking?
What breakthroughs could be imminent?
What was the most positive feeling felt and when did that occur?
What was the most frustrating feeling felt and when did that occur?
What would be the strongest and most breakthrough resolve you can make next year?
Think about these questions whether in your personal, professional, and organizational life, and get back to me.
This is better than therapy shopping, I tell you!
Are we there yet? The little boy asked his parents from the back of the van. Eager to get into the destination, he forgets that the trip itself is one big adventure.
Like that little boy, some of us are still persistently asking the authorities, our leaders, our neighbors, the statisticians, or any one who wants to care, "are we there yet?" in terms of economic recovery.
Are we at the tail-end? in the mid-wing? or completely out of it without us realizing or feeling different? Statistics do not say much. Perception is reality.
Instead of asking 'are we there yet' what can we do right now to steel up and get going despite and in spite the economic woes we are experiencing as a province, with policies left and right that try to suppressed our natural resources and gifts, and the kinds of leaders bent on reversing all the decades of economic development we had built.
All these taken together should give us the fodder to
-strategize not only to survive but to grow, beat the competition, and dominate our markets;
-define our value proposition and solicit more feedback from our loyal customers;
-now is also the time to invest not hoard 'precious dollars' to help us bounce back better when the boom is back;
-seriously create a mindset that takes setbacks as good feedback;
This 'are we there yet? persistence could be driving all of us mad.
Let's stop this whining and moaning to realize we are creating our doom and gloom prophesies. We have the agency, volition, and control within our leadership roles to get back on the right track.
Did I say stop whining?
I caught myself driving in a snow storm last night.
At one point, there was no visibility except the peripheral views of the shoulder and the obscured images I couldn't seem to define.
Except at the end of that episode was the traffic sign that says -drive 60km here, that I felt confident that I was moving steadily towards my destination.
After that, the squall ended, I saw better and had the momentary pleasure to be comforted at the prospect of getting hope fine despite the weather.
How many organizations do not seem to have a clear signpost of where they are supposed to go?
Should they turn here or go straight?
Should they speed up because it is an easy drive or they need to calibrate for the conditions?
Should they be anticipating to stop and pause, or should they run like there is no tomorrow?
Without these signals, it is literally like driving without visibility. Pilots can come down with the plane with less visibility because they have the instruments to help them land safely. Without these, it would be reckless and dangerous to even attempt to do it.
If you are going full throttle, do you have the mechanism to simply get a bird's eye of how things have been from a third-party who can completely, independently, and without self-interest, honestly tell you how things are actually going?
Get yourself a trust adviser. There are no downsides, but many upsides to it.