This is the time of year where everyone starts to set intentions and dream big for the New Year. Some say good riddance to the year that’s ended, and some look back and celebrate the good fortune they’ve had. Regardless of the category in which you may fall into, everyone is curious about what the new year will bring.
I ask, why leave your luck to what’s written on a fortune cookie or to your horoscope on the back of a Cosmo magazine? Instead, I invite you to position yourself to be exactly where you want to be in 2018.
Just like any major player in the retail industry would do, we too need to market ourselves, have a strategic plan, and set specific goals for ourselves. If we don’t, and then fall short of where we want to be, then who’s to blame for it? Sure, there are external factors that will play into the equation and some that we may not have control over. But for the majority of factors, I can say with much certainty, we have the ability to control a desired outcome.
Let me give you a few examples:
- Want to make more money or get a promotion? Set a specific plan on how and when you will talk to your boss about a future raise or promotion. Now, don’t just go into that office and ask “when’s my next raise?” Position yourself to show the value you’ve brought to the team; state what your future plans are and how that will have increased benefit, and ask him/her what will it take for you to get to where you want to be in the next 3-6 months. By creating this team approach, you are directly influencing the possibility of obtaining your desired goal within your desired time-frame, and you’re also building rapport with your manager by making them feel included and part of your progression. Managers love to feel validated and that they are a direct contributor to an employee’s growth.
- Want to feel more of a balance? Balance is often misinterpreted to be this magical place to which one arrives to; or a place where one is a super human that can juggle everything we already have on our plates and then somehow find the time for spa’s and island retreats. I’m sorry to say that while that sounds like a good definition, it’s not exactly what balance is. We can get you there, but it will come as a benefit of living and come from a place of balance in the first place. So, what does that mean anyway? It means, you will need to consciously choose what you will say yes to and what you will say no to. It sounds simple enough, right? I know, practice is always the hard step. So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed because you feel like a chauffeur due to your kids many after school activities and social engagements, I encourage you to reconsider how many activities they should really be a part of. Maybe 1 or 2 is sufficient instead of 3 or more. Next time you get that play date invite, feel free to decline and instead stay home and take a nap with your baby. That may sound crazy, but when was the last time you took a nice afternoon nap? Trust me, your baby won’t be socially scarred for missing out and your mom friend will be okay. And you – you will feel pretty amazed at how refreshed you feel and your mood will probably be a lot better too. As parents we want nothing more than to create an environment that enriches our children, however, it is our duty to lead by example and take care of ourselves first. If you’re not at your best and feeling your best, it shows.
- Want to bridge that gap between you and your partner? Sure you may have fallen head over heels with their cute accent or loved learning about their culture and background; but now you’re starting to see some differences and things may get lost in translation. Eek! If you’re committed to making this work, invest the time in designing your alliance. There isn’t a harder commitment than one of being in a relationship. Think about it, you’re more apt to quitting something like school or a job you don’t like, but usually people stay in unhappy relationships a lot longer because they aren’t willing to invest the time and design the alliance together on what they really want next in their relationship. And yet, it’s not that easy to “quit it”. Why is that? So many answers we can’t possibly get into right now. But in an effort to move you forward, positively (as I presume that’s the direction in which you want to go), I encourage you to have a framework like you would at a business meeting. Set a designated amount of time (going for 3 hours doesn’t serve a good purpose); perhaps 1 hour is a great start. Set a timer if needed or someone gets to be the time keeper. Be clear on the one topic you’d like to address in this setting – and stick to this. This isn’t a time to talk about what happened at Aunt Mary’s 2 years ago or go down the venting path. Name the topic, write it down if you need, and every time one person drifts off, the other is to point back at the topic and realign the conversation. Be sure to use non-combative language such as: I feel, it seems like, my wish is that, and when I think of our future. Above all, be mindful of your tone and your attitude. If you’re not in the right mindset, differ the meeting. As you conclude your hour, state what you are willing to commit to in the next week. Starting with short-term goals will make each person feel less overwhelmed, more motivated to doing the work, and feeling a sense of accomplishment week after week. Take the time to celebrate or acknowledge your partner for their efforts and successes. No matter what our personality type is, we all appreciate recognition.
So you see, setting clear intentions for how we’d like to position ourselves will bring about the very outcomes we desire. If the outcome is different than expected (because things can happen), you can take it as a competitive advantage in having tested something earlier than waiting for plain luck. If we aren’t actively working towards something, we become stagnant. Going back to the analogy of retail stores, those that become stagnant, eventually fail and are forced out of the marketplace.
What’s your position going to be? Are you going to be an “A” player in your life or will you be letting others dominate?