Focus

Moving from "I wish" to "I will" with SMART Goals with a Strong Heart!

It’s summertime here in Colorado, and it’s 14er season for Russell. This is one of my SMART goals: that I want to climb all fifty-four 14,000-foot mountains over a five-year period. This is personally enriching for me but also very satisfying to be able to go from the valley to be able to summit the peaks of so many of these 14ers that are throughout Colorado.

Mt Yale, Colorado 14,196’ August 17,  2019

Mt Yale, Colorado 14,196’ August 17, 2019

More than just making the summit, it’s also the enrichment and the experience of being able to do that with other people who want to join me on the journey. This is something that’s not just an event but an experience that’s really built out as a long-term goal over a lifetime. What are some of your goals that you’re working towards? 

Just last week, I was coaching with a leader in Mexico, and he had this great desire to grow his business to the next level. The more we listened, I heard just some general and vague and even confusing language around some of the goals that he has to grow his business to the next level. As we talked more, I asked him if he had ever heard of SMART goals. That was the first he had ever heard of that language.

SMART goals invites you to be able to take some of your general aspirations, to be able to see something accomplished in bringing a specific framework around some of those things. What are some of your goals? If you and I were sitting one-on-one and we were just to take a moment and write down some of those things, what would those goals be? Would they be general and vague, or would they be specific and measurable and relevant and something that’s time-bound that you hope to see accomplished? Maybe it’s in five years, or maybe it’s in the next quarter.

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Again, this is your opportunity to write down some of these things, and do they pass the test of being SMART? Well, just in the context of our 14ers, one of the realities of going to the next level, especially in Colorado, is the lack of oxygen. The idea of capacity is a very real thing. It’s one thing to be able to aspire towards the next level of achieving those goals. The second area is this idea of capacity. Often taught in the coaching context that I have with leaders is that opportunities plus challenges equal growth. As you step into the opportunity of your goal, suddenly you’re met with a challenge. And that challenge, at least for me this past weekend, was the lack of oxygen. 

What do you have to do to increase your capacity? So let’s get those goals defined in terms of what’s SMART, and then let’s really identify, really, what is the capacity and where you need to grow and develop. These are five specific areas that allow you to look at some of those capacities that, as you do, that will invite you to grow to the next level of your leadership.

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Finally, in terms of that engagement, just as you look at all the things that you’re involved with, the opportunities, the commitments, perhaps there’s some things that you need to just evaluate: “What do I need to stop so that I can start doing some of those right things?” As you make that list and it begins to narrow, when you see those lists of activities before you, it gives you some clarity in terms of what you need to start, what you need to stop, and some areas where just you need to grow as a leader.

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Ultimately, if you feel stuck today in terms of your goals, I wonder what might be holding you back. What could be distracting your focus or even robbing your energy? This is one of those areas we’re trying to get some clarity in terms of your desire to want to grow to the next level and advance as a leader. What are the things that are holding you back? 

As you get clarity and even being SMART in terms of just your focus and your goals and how you need to grow your capacity, it’s going to get you moving forward so you advance to the next level in your leadership.

Optimizing Your Highest and Best! - Exercising Healthy Self Awareness

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Healthy Self Awareness will protect you from wrong commitments and empower you to the right ones!

Every week in private coaching consultations I ask entrepreneurs, executives, and CEOs the same self-awareness question... using the Birkman Color Map... 50% answer wrong.

What's your primary personality style?

It may difficult to limit yourself to 4 areas, but I'd invite you to give your best guess!

You may recognize the familiar categories of the extrovert (red/green), introvert (yellow/blue), task (red/yellow), and people (green/ blue) orientations that gives the framework. These are similar quadrants to assessments like DISC, PDP, and Myers Briggs. Go ahead, pick one word that describes yourself?

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Depending on how fast you respond may give you a hint of your answer. For good measure, select your secondary personality quadrant. Picking your favorite color maybe not be a good qualifier for the exercise.

Let me invite you to switch mental gears toward your goals, commitments, calendar, and task lists. Somewhere you have a mental list, KPIs, performance reviews, or project list that requires your energy. These are the activities that will determine your effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction at work.

Depending on your roles at work your list will vary. For our self-awareness exercise, you may need to review your list. Let me break it down like I would for my clients. List your key activities that are critical for each area. (I invite you to use the free form to review these questions)

  • Goals - (Motivating/Difference Making) - Annual - What’s your focus this year?
  • Commitments - (Initiatives) - Quarterly - How will you meet your goals?
  • Calendar - (Meetings/Events/Projects) - Monthly - When will you accomplish it?
  • Task List - (Disciplines/Activities) - Weekly - Who will get what done?

What's your first response to your list... Act on it Right Now? Share it with Stakeholders? Critique for Accuracy? Plan a Strategy?

Last month I attended a  training session in the Colorado mountains with a veteran consultant. She reviewed the philosophies of personalities instrument. She invited us to sign our name on a piece of paper. So we did. No problem! Then she instructed us to sign our name using our opposite hand. So we did that, which included a few laughs. It's comical to compare the results. Can we do it? Sure! How did it go? Not so good! We all have a natural bent, style, and approach that works.

Far too many executives are writing with the wrong hand in their leadership, responsibilities, and commitments. It may be time to switch things up.

As another consideration, look at your list of work activities, who would you hire to do that work? Doer, Communicator, Analyzer, or Thinker?

The question may be a little too polarizing as most projects need all 4. Think about which quadrant strengths you need for the opportunity and challenges that are before you.

If you're launching a new product or service, then you need significant focus in "green/ communicator" working as an evangelist to get the word out.  If you're primarily as "blue / thinker" your strength is the strategy. You'll be designing a better way to connect with your customer. That may help your launch but may fall short of getting people committed without a personal touch.

If you're constructing a bridge with a team of "red / doer" people, you'll get it done. However, without a team of engineers “yellow / analyzers,” having all the specifications and inspectors on-site you may still have a bridge collapse on the interstate.

The reason 50% of self-aware leaders give a wrong answer is that they have been doing the right thing in wrong ways for a long time. Writing left-handed when you're a right. Continually adapting to get to do what's required. It's admirable! But, what's the highest and best of your time?

Here's a real-time coaching assignment for one of my clients who's stuck... Take the next few days to keep a running journal on a napkin or on your phone of all the things that you were doing from a task standpoint. Once you have a solid list, take note of which of these would you like to delegate?

I have one question that is going to take some work to answer. What two or three things would you like to spend 60 to 80% of your time doing every workday?

These are activities they give you the most joy, fulfillment, and profitable return for your efforts. Completing then reviewing your Birkman personality assessment will give your further insight...Going through the exercises above will help get you started.

You have a unique style! Start today, use the free self awareness survey exercise, begin by  aligning your priorities to your personality. Surround yourself with others who can compliment you. Then you'll see your goals met, commitments fulfilled, and have some fun while you're at it.

Discover Your Life Purpose! 8 Circles, 7?s, and 1 Change for the Year!

Douglas Slideshare

During 2011 I was in a significant career transition. There was a gap in my daily working reality and my passion to influence leaders. I felt the ache from the inside out. I knew something had to change, but that gap seemed impossible to bridge.

I was trying to do the right thing by working my job to pay the bills yet feeling like I was meant for something more... Maybe you can relate? How could I transition from a career, an industry, and a business that I operated for 15 years? The simple answer...Discovering Clarity, Calling, and Coaching into my purpose.

Sounds simplistic but the process required more courage and personal growth than any other time in my life. I'm grateful that I had some amazing people speaking into me and encouraging me to move forward. During that time a statement emerged that today reflects my purpose for coaching with leaders.

Moving Leaders from Inspiration to Impact in their areas of Influence

Discerning, defining, and acting on your life purpose can be overwhelming without help. Here's a great tool to simplify the complexity of capturing and communicating your life purpose. Many leaders I coach are clear on defining their circles yet after some discussion they discover quickly they don't often align. Maybe it's time to recalibrate. Maybe you don't need a massive career move like I experienced but you may need to make some adjustments.

7 Questions!

  1. Do you love what you do? What do you love to do?

  2. Can you define the gap?

  3. Where does your Passion, Mission, Occupation, and Vocation intersect?

  4. How do your Character, Abilities, and Compassion intersect?

  5. What makes you feel alive doing what you love that meets a need in another person's life?

  6. Who are the people in your circles to help you align your purpose?

  7. What changes need to happen?

Take some reflective time to answer these 7 questions and define these 8 circles. Start with using words or phrases to keep it simple. You may find some categories easier to define. I encourage you to press into the areas that may be a challenge. You may need feedback from friends and family. After you have defined these areas now identify the gaps. Brainstorm on some ways to bring your circles together.

Make One Change!

If these circles don't connect for prolonged seasons it leads to stress, fatigue, and often burnout. You risk losing your joy and zest for life. If you've felt some of these symptoms in the last year I encourage you to act on your discovery. Creating a plan to move towards alignment. Start today with a commitment for one Change on your calendar that you can act on your purpose.

If you need help, find a trusted friend, coach, or mentor to get you moving! As you move forward in clarity and change I'd love to hear your progress in the comments below! Enjoy the discovery!

Your change may inspire others to do the same!