The new year is traditionally a time to apply new thinking and try out some new habits. The collective sense of anticipation that pervades the first week back is an energy that can be used to fuel new projects and establish new, more productive, rituals and routines.
Warning: This energy has a shelf-life and will soon dissipate so do not waste it. Here are a few hints and tips to make the most of this short lived burst of energy.
1. Clear your Diary of Clutter
A brave and innovative client of mine asked IT to empty all the calendar invites for everyone with regular, repetitive and routine meetings across their organisation. They could be re-established but only once a mandatory checklist had been completed that asked some simple yet searching questions that were visible to all:
- Why is this meeting necessary and what would be the consequences if it remained cancelled?
- What achievements will be delivered as a result of this meeting and is the return on the planned time and energy investment worth it?
- Who really needs to attend, can we cull the participant list and/or inject some new thinking into this meeting?
- What habits and ground-rules are we going to establish for 2022 to ensure we deliver more than we did in 2021?
The hope is that the regular meeting merry-go-round gets stopped for some essential maintenance!
2. Rediscover your Purpose
If you had to resign and re-apply for your job what would you put onto your application letter? Why should the organisation recruit you? What unique set of skills, knowledge and attributes do you bring that will deliver benefit in 2022? Set yourself some 90 day and 180 day goals, not too many but make them meaningful.
3. Start New Projects with the End in Mind
The first decision with any new project or initiative is to agree your destination; where are you going and how will you know when you have arrived? Time spent bringing your destination to life is never wasted, as it makes it clear when the project is actually over.
The destination should be rich in context and should be appealing to all of the people who will be affected by the project and especially appealing to those you need on the project to make it possible.
4. Dance at the Edge of your Comfort Zone
Become self-aware when you are at the boundary of your comfort zone. It is by feeling the dis-comfort this brings and doing it anyway, that personal growth happens. What have you got planned for 2022 that will stretch your capabilities and take you over that safe boundary? If nothing, then give it some thought, you do not want to reach the top of your career too early!
5. Get a Mentor and a Coach
Be honest, what stops you seeking the help and support a suitably qualified Mentor and / or Coach can offer?
- If it’s your ego, then take care out there as you know what pride comes before!
- If it’s lack of time, then your priorities and sense of personal worth need to be re-examined.
Be selfish for once. If you do not invest in you, (and putting some time aside for your own development is a deliberately selfish act), then why should anyone else?
Beware you don’t subcontract your personal development to others who will place it even lower on their priority list than you! If you do, you run the real risk of ending 2022 with the same skill set that you entered with, and that would be a tragic waste of time and energy.
Whatever 2022 has in store for us all I wish you all the very best of fortune and remember:
“January is the first chapter in a 12 chapter year book, you have the pen, so what’s your story going to be?”