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4 Ways to Embrace that Goal – Life Well LED

Last week, we talked about our New Year Resolutions and whether or not we were over-valuing them. This week, I want to share some tips on how to EMBRACE THAT GOAL that you are not choosing, but your boss is assigning to you! Many of you are fortunate enough to have a supervisor/leader who understands your strengths and let’s you decide the who, what, when, where and how of your days. If you do have this luxury, chances are you know exactly what’s expected of you, what you have to produce at year’s end in order to be successful in your role, and you carefully craft your goals in a way that will get you to that pot of gold in an energizing and engaged fashion. (If not, we should talk!!)

For those of you who may not be as fortunate to work for a leader who provides you with this opportunity, it’s going to take some personal leadership and self re-direction to appease both your boss and yourself. Here are some tips to consider and try out immediately:

1. Pay close attention to your inner chatter.

When that goal is assigned to you (and you freak out!), immediately become aware of what you’re saying to yourself about it. Your inner dialogue will provide you with clues about the fastest way to shift your thoughts and get busy succeeding. For example, let’s say Charlie finds himself thinking, “I’ve never led a team of so many individuals to coordinate such a large-scale project. I’m not a project manager!” When we lead with strengths we learn to shift our thoughts toward what the possibilities of our succeeding can look like. So after you capture your inner chatter, you want to do the following…

2. Pick a strengths-based NEW thought.

In the example above, Charlie can pause, understand that his inner chatter is putting him into a fear-based place where success doesn’t live, and have this expanded dialogue with himself, “I’m usually the one who takes action on project issues and gets them done quickly. I’m an Activator, and that’s where I’m comfortable! How might I, though, use my talent of Arranger to work with others to begin making this happen?”

Now, in my example, Charlie is obviously aware of what he’s naturally good at and how he achieves success. You, too, can identify your talents on your own and in your own words by taking the time to become keenly aware of what you’re great at and how you operate best. However, you also can use the quick, inexpensive, and effective Strengths Finder assessment. Once Charlie has shifted his internal dialogue to a better place where solutions live, he can then…

3. Create a specific strengths-based action that will get him started.

It’s important to realize at this point that although an assignment has been given to Charlie, one he’s not crazy about and which can disengage him from his role if he’s not careful, he can take back his personal power by tailoring that goal to how he operates best. He’s going to find a way to do it so that he supports himself and appeases his boss. It probably won’t be the very best use of his talents, but he will bring more energy to the task and feel better about it.

So now that Charlie identified that he has a unique talent that he can leverage to help him get excited about this goal (even if it’s just a little bit!), he needs to immediately write down 1-3 steps he’s going to take using his talent of Arranger. One of these steps can sound like: “I will schedule a 15 minute meeting with each person on the team to identify what they’re best at and how they can be successful to this project.” Arrangers happen to be great at spotting talent in others and bringing many people together to bring things to fruition.

In this example, Charlie was not using his talent of Arranger as much as Activator, so he now needs to bring it out into the open and make it a focus for this specific project. Finally, to ensure increased energy and success with this goal, Charlie should…

4. Track his success and check-in with himself weekly.

The self-awareness should never end. Just as with any goal, we must keep them in front of us and present at all times, measuring and tweaking them. Especially with goals that do not initially hold much value for us at the onset, we have to breathe life into them consistently so we don’t push them to the back of our list. We all do this, don’t we? All of the goals we’re super excited about we tackle first, but those which are equally important, because we will be held accountable for them by our leaders, we tend to push them off for as long as possible. But, as I’m sure we’ve all experienced, that tactic can hurt us more than help us.

Leading a strengths-based life is not easy. It takes moment-to-moment awareness, focus and action. But, knowledge is power, and this knowledge about ourselves, what makes us unique, and what helps us to feel successful in all we do, can truly make the difference in our own personal engagement with our roles and goals.

Now, some of you may be in a third category (almost all of us experience this!), where you’ve got that leeway to operate in a strengths-based fashion, but you also have to tackle some assignments or goals that you just don’t care for. Well, I just like to call this LIFE!! If we are able to shift ourselves into a strengths-based way of operating, despite who our supervisor is or what he/she assigns us, chances are that we will be more engaged in our work and and in our lives, and we can better manage those unwanted things that come our way daily. Am I right? Whether it’s an emergency where we have to drop everything, or our position changes overnight, or someone drops the ball and we’re asked to pick it up and make great things happen, change is constant and our glory and engagement lies in leveraging our strengths to make the very best of it (and move on!).

Bottom line: When we are able to roll up our sleeves and accomplish a worthy goal (whether we like it or not) we receive a tremendous amount of energy and exhilaration from it. And if we do so using our talents and strengths, we will always achieve greater levels of productivity, success and joy. All of us, equally, have the capacity to receive these benefits. It’s always a choice.

What will you choose?

It’s your life. Lead it well.
Monique

 

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I can’t believe it’s already “holiday” time! So, not only does that ignite within me the desire to begin creating lots of lists (gifts to give, recipes to cook, cards to make, etc.), but I’m also thinking about what I’ve accomplished this year, and what I still hope to accomplish during my fiscal year (almost half way there!). How about you? I don’t mean to stress you out, but simply to encourage you to look at how far you’ve come and assess whether the goals you’ve set are truly the ones you will, or still hope to achieve. Goals can serve two purposes energetically, they can either fuel us and move us forward with great momentum, or they can weigh us down. The only way to ensure that they don’t do the latter is to take the time to check-in with ourselves and our goals, and continue to give them energy. When we don’t do this, it could be a sign that we are caught in the trap of just setting annual goals, because we are “supposed” to, or we “have” to. There is hardly any positive energy associated with “supposed to,” but there is LOTS of good “ju ju” associated with “want to!” Now is a great time to SWOT it out for yourself; complete a simple analysis–check-in– to see where you’re strong, where you can do better, what opportunities still remain, and what to watch out for, or just let go of (yes, we are allowed to let go of our goals!).

I’m sure you’ve seen this:

Screenshot 2014-10-21 11.32.16

This is an effective business tool for strategic plans, and I find that it also works wonders for our personal development. Here are some questions to ask yourself when completing it:

  • Where I am doing really well? What’s working? What’s getting me 80% of my results via 20% of my time and energy?

  • What are my strengths and how am I leveraging them? How can I better leverage them now? (If you know your strengths via StrengthsFinder – http://gallupstrengthscenter.com– list them here! Looking at how you’re strategically using your strengths daily can help to keep you on track!)

  • What’s not working so well and why? Which weaknesses can I manage better? How? Which weaknesses are better ignored? (Remember that investing in your strengths–what you’re naturally talented in–will always get you better results faster!)

  • What opportunities are on the horizon that I can take advantage of? What didn’t I know or see that now excites me? What’s my low hanging fruit?

  • What can prevent me from achieving my goals? What do I need to address and/or pay more attention to? Again…What may I need to let go of, due to threats? Are these threats worth my time, energy and worry? (Same with weaknesses!)

Based on your SWOT analysis, take a look at your goals and re-assess them. I guarantee you’ll feel much better about where you are and what you are able to achieve. Mostly, though, you’ll feel better about the decisions you’ll make now. Finally, celebrate all that you’ve achieved so far!

It’s your life. Lead it well!

Monique