With 2015 coming to a close and 2016 getting ready to make its presence known it is time for some reflection. Whether you have done this before or have only ever actually thought about doing it, taking some time to reflect can have a number of great benefits. There are numerous ways to reflect upon the year that was but I would like to share one way that you may find useful. It’s all about focusing on what you learned.
See, we may be able to quickly reflect about what happened in 2015 by thinking of key experiences that took place. We may simply think about them for a minute then move on to the next experience. Although this is a good start, what if you took some quality time to really ponder what you learned from those key experiences? Two very important things happen, first you document what you have learned which helps to reinforce those items and second, you now have the opportunity to set some solid goals for 2016 based on those learning’s.
Click on the image below to see a helpful tool I created. You can recreate this tool any way you want; this is just a simple example.
As you can see with this example, based on a Key Learning from 2015 I was able to establish a goal for 2016. It is important not to overwhelm yourself by listing tons of learnings and/or goals. You may actually go through a couple of iterations to help you narrow down and focus on those experiences that provided the greatest learnings for you. Then you can dial in on the 1 to 3 goals for 2016.
Leaders have the ability to learn from every experience. The best leaders have the ability to take those learning’s and make both themselves and those they lead better. Ironically, heroes are those that are always learning from their experiences, it makes them more effective in the future as they are in situations that require them to act and react quickly.
You are a hero and a leader. I have said it before but you don’t need a title to be a leader and most people will not be called a hero even though do heroic things. There are people around you watching what you do and what you say whether you notice it or not. You have the ability to make a positive impact every day on others. I hope you will take some time to identify what you learned in 2015 to make 2016 even better.
Here is to each of you, my heroes, to an awesome and successful 2016.
Given current economic conditions, it’s no surprise that many people are considering returning to college or a change in careers. As some who has spent the past 13 plus years in higher education, I naturally endorse this strategy of looking to return to school or wanting to go into a career you are passionate about. The issue becomes the inability to focus on the right things to achieve ones ultimate goals, doing what they are passionate about. Here are some steps to take to help ensure you chase your Passion not just a Paycheck.
- The first thing to do is spend more time thinking about your interests than you do thinking about money. That sounds counter-intuitive but returning to college or changing your job has to be about more than chasing a paycheck. It’s been said that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. So finding and following your passion is time well spent.
- If you are not sure where your passion would take you let alone what it may be, then sit down with pen and paper and make a list: things you like to do in your free time, different talents or skills that come easily to you, people whom you admire, subject areas and classes you enjoyed while growing up, topics you relish reading about and people you prefer to be around. The answers you provide to these questions will sharpen your focus.
- After you have identified a career path that not only uses some of your strengths but one that also engages you in the type of activity and thinking that you most enjoy, meet and interview people currently working in that field. In some cases, they may let you shadow someone in their office. As you evaluate your options, consider both the positive and the less attractive aspects of the desired industry. For instance, if you like helping people, you might be inclined toward healthcare; but think about how you will respond to sick or sad people on a daily basis.
- It’s important to determine what you are willing to sacrifice in order to do what you are passionate about. So ask yourself: can I devote the time and energy necessary to be a successful? Will I set priorities, budget my time and money and impose discipline in my life? Once you have decided what you are willing to sacrifice, time to create your plan.
- Don’t let any opportunity slip away where you don’t set goals for yourself. This is especially true as you are looking to make changes in your career future. Your goals should lead you down a path where you are following your passion. The longer you chase a paycheck, the less time you have to do what you really want. Money is important and needs to always be a apart of your formula for success but don’t to get caught up making it the only focus.
As you stay focused and determined, you will achieve the success you truly dream of. It will not be easy and the reality is, it shouldn’t be. You want to feel rewarded and accomplished. This can happen with greater peace, happiness and joy as you are allowing yourself to do what you feel you can do best and are most passionate about.
Now, go make something great happen!
This may be a pretty big assumption but I will make it anyway, we will have times where we will face major adversity in our lives. This adversity will come as a result of losing ones job, death of a family member, financial shortfalls, marriage problems and thousands of others ways. We have also probably all heard that we need to be strong during those times. Well guess what? It’s true.
To make a quick analogy I will put it this way because I am one who actually makes this statement quite often, “if it’s good for you it probably doesn’t test good.” Now, I know this is not 100% true but stay with me on this. Let’s say it does not taste good but it does make you healthier, it does give you energy to exercise, it does provide the right nutrients to help your muscles recover and so on. So what is actually happening is while I am “forcing” myself to eat this healthy food (adversity), I am actually providing much needed strength to my body.
So it finding strength in times of adversity is so critical, how does one go about doing it? Here are some quick ways that have helped me:
- Take a step back and see the bigger picture. Too many times when a challenge or trial enters our life we react in ways that can often make things worse. It is crucial to be able to try and see the challenge within a larger picture. This will help provide perspective and can even help you to see that maybe things are not as bad as they have initially appeared.
- Be positive. There is a difference between being positive and happy. Being positive means you are focused on seeing the good in things and pushing forward. Being positive means you refuse to sit and talk about all the bad things that led to this specific trial or adversity. Being positive means you put into action a plan to make things better.
- Find a go to partner. You will need to talk with someone. This person maybe different based on the type of challenge but be sure you have a trusted person you can speak with. It maybe your wife, a close friend, a past boss, a sibling or your church leaders. The key is, you need to find someone so you do not feel so alone.
- Note the lessons learned. Be sure and grab a pen and paper and write down your feelings. Within those writings, be sure and note what you have learned about the adversity you are facing. This can be so helpful as there will be times in the future where you will face a similar challenge or someone you know will. These writings can be key in helping you or them through the situation.
I will be the first to admit that finding strength during times of adversity is actually a lot easier to say than do. However, I have found that there is so much peace, comfort and joy that comes as I apply the four points above. There is nothing wrong when we are faced with adversity, in fact it is a sign we are normal.
As crazy as this may sound, I am thankful for those times in my life when I struggle as it brings me to my knees and reminds me that I am human. It reminds me to swallow my pride and look to others for support. I will always be thankful for those who have been there for me and hope I am someone that others can lean in their times of need. Leaders find way to turn times of challenge into learning and teaching opportunities. Most likely because this is an area where more people can relate unfortunately.
One last thought, as you learn to find strength in times of adversity, you will feel more empowered When you feel empowered, there are no limits to what you can achieve so do all you can to find that strength so you can feel empowered.
Now, it is time to pump some adversity.