Here’s my Happy New Year’s wish, which is perhaps better seen as an invitation, or a taunt:
LEAD YOURSELF to your best year ever. Absurd? Audacious? Well, leadership always has an element of audacity to it. President Kennedy said: we’ll put an American on the moon. Dr. King saw: the children of slaves and children of slave owners sittting together at the table of brotherhood. Sergei Page and Larry Brin say: they’ll organize all the world’s information and make it universally accessible. Why shouldn’t a leader say they’ll have the best year ever? If you can get to the point of making this honest commitment to make it a great year, you are probably 50% of the way there.
If you posit that you will have the best year ever, it then begs the question: What can you do to make it the best year ever? I suggest three things:
1. Look back at your life to see what made for your “best-ever” life context, and look for the inputs that made things so good then. Last year when I looked back in this way, I saw that both my best moments and my best long stretches had occurred when I created time to pray. That had made me purposeful, centered, and at peace. So, in 2011 I started and ended every day with prayer. I also saw that regular physical activity had promoted my productivity, creativity and well-being; my best self times were when I was working out. I thus recommited to treat my physical activity not as a luxury but as a core necessity. These inputs – important to me – may well not be key to you, but what is?
2. Control what you can. Of course, external inputs impact our happiness: a great boss, a romance, a new job, or the birth of a grandchild may have shone upon you. Perhaps your best year was a blessed year, where things like that just fell into place. But leaders control what they can! So, what are the inputs that you can control? Some of the externals – like having a great boss – may be things you need to focus on to make 2012 great. And some things may have to do with re-orienting your own thinking.
3. Write it down. Just reading this RFL is a waste of time if you don’t do something with it! Best case scenario: Take 5-10 minutes right now and write a picture of what you will create for yourself this year. “This year is going to be my best ever because I’m going to commit to….”
I’d love to hear what will make this year a great year, so you can truly
Lead with your best self,