Disciplines for success

When we start a new year we often take the opportunity to review what went well during the last year and what we could do to make it even better in the next 12 months.  I carried out a similar exercise over the Christmas period and I thought I’d share it with you as it linked into what I’d written about in my last newsletter.  You may remember that I’d already started some work identifying where I was hampering some of my achievement. I decided to explore this work further and use my time off to explore where I’d allowed my lack of action and busyness to impede my results personally and professionally.  I decided to use a well-known model in the coaching world called The Wheel of Life.  I love it because it’s so visual and easy to use, like a lot of my tools and techniques!

When I use the Wheel of Life, I relabel the sections so that are more meaningful to me.  You might find it useful to do the same.  Once you have your template, take each area in turn, with the centre equalling zero and the outer edge being 10, and score your satisfaction for each section.  You will then be able to join the dots and create a star.  This will provide you with a clear visual of where you have higher satisfaction levels than others enabling you to reflect on your life holistically as well as by area.

So this is what I did over Christmas, and instead of completing one wheel, I decided to create two, one for work and one for personal.  This small action has provided me with greater clarity and focus straight away as I’ve been able to break the areas into smaller chunks rather than trying to shoe horn them into 8 sections.  I also decided to create two stars on each wheel.   One shows where I am now, my actual score and the second star shows the score I feel I could achieve if I spent time developing each area.  I haven’t been over ambitious with my stretch targets as I know I can sometimes use this as a stick to beat myself.  However, I am feeling excited about what I can achieve, if I remain on track.

So this is how I started on my journey:

  1. I carried out the ‘actual’ scoring
  2. I then noted down everything that made me score each section in such a way, both positively and negatively so that I could understand more fully the impact of my actions.
  3. I then looked at each area in turn and reflected if there had been a time when it had scored more positively.  If so what was I doing that made it score more highly and I noted down those actions.  It was surprising how some very small, yet positive actions, that didn’t take a lot of effort had dropped by the wayside, creating quite a deficit on bottom line results.
  4. I then started to dream!  In each area I visualised what great could look like in each section.  This helped me to identify a target score.

When I’m working with teams we often do an activity called Stop, Start, Continue and Improve.  It gets the team to think about the activities they do on a day to day basis that have an impact either positively or negatively on the results they achieve.  With everything I’d noted down in the points above it was very easy for me to identify the things I should stop doing because they were either no longer relevant or a waste of time.  There were some clear things that I should either reinstate of start doing and some activities that I should continue to do in the same way whilst others could be tweaked to make a positive difference.  These are now time-lined to begin at different times in the year.

I have to admit that at this stage I was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed and wondered how realistic I was being.  Would I really stick to my new plans, or would they be like some people’s new year resolutions and fail before they’d even begun?!  It was my colleague, Ian Henderson from Eagle Training, who reminded me of the missing step in my process!!  That of standing back and looking at each web in turn and deciding whether focus on one section would create positive leverage on all the other areas.  This is so key especially if you’re an eager beaver like me!  As it previously stood, I had 16 actions that I was looking to make regular habits.  No matter how small they were, that’s an awful lot to include in an already busy day.  So now I have two key areas where I am focusing my energy and if I’ve done my reckoning correctly they should impact the other 14 segments positively.  I haven’t ditched my plan and time line, but it has provided me with clarity on my priorities.

And just to help me keep me on track, I’ve created an affirmation for each element so that I can visualise what success looks like on a daily basis!!   From these reflections a saying that comes to mind is … where our focus goes, the energy flows.  When we have a clear purpose of what we want to achieve, we move towards it.

From these reflections a saying that comes to mind is … where our focus goes, the energy flows.  When we have a clear sense of purpose, we move towards it.  So on that note, I wish you clarity in your purpose for 2019.   I hope you’ll find the above tool useful in helping you to determine where you want to spend your time and energy to make the most positive impact in your life.  And, as it looks as if it’s going to be a challenging year ahead, let’s stretch out of our comfort zones, focus on the things in which we have control and influence and get on with them!

This time next year you’ll be astounded at what you’ve achieved.

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