Happy New Year…Again

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A new year can seem like déjà vu all over again, yes?!

It’s especially true for people in sales: Another set of goals, quotas, and annual targets; more metrics that don’t quite capture what it takes to be successful; that familiar feeling of wishing you could take the entire month of January off to rest and recoup from yet another blazingly intense 4th quarter.

It’s true for leaders, as well: New goals and objectives that continue to involve some type of stretch; updated policies and procedures that turn the familiar upside down; another set of priorities and strategic initiatives that still don’t provide the clarity or resources you need to get everything done.

Yes, a new year CAN seem like déjà vu all over again.

Let The Circle NOT Be Unbroken

Left unchecked, this over-and-over-again can wear down even the most resilient of us. But it doesn’t have to.

A quick scan of the following five categories can help you break the cycle and make you more E.A.G.E.R. to face – and be ready for – the challenges of the New Year:

  1. E – Your ENTHUSIASM – Never underestimate the value that enthusiasm can bring. So bring it. Big Time. ESPECIALLY when you don’t feel like it.
  2. A – Your AGILITY – Sure, you’ve got your favorite ways of doing things, and many of them are likely quite refined. But make a point of expanding your range, as it were. Being a one-trick pony may feel safe and familiar, but it all too quickly leads to boredom, which leads to inattention, which leads to making mistakes and missing prime opportunities to have a real impact.
  3. G – Your GROWTH – Now I’m a fan of strengths-based leadership, but truth is, if you don’t expand more than just your strengths, you’re likely going to start overcompensating for your weaknesses in ways that dilute your brand. So make this the year you hit things ‘head on’ by developing some new skills that you know you need to learn. Not sure which ones? Come on, now, yes you are!
  4. E – Your EASE – Intensity, well-applied, is a good thing. But constantly creating (or adding) stress and drama – often the unavoidable byproducts of intensity – gets really exhausting, really fast. Just ask around. You can immediately become a better role-model by NOT freaking out every time something new suddenly blips on your radar. It’s you chance to show others how to handle pressure. It’s your chance to be a SOURCE of strength, caring, and focus…for THEM. It’s your chance to be a source of strength, caring, and focus…for YOURSELF, as well.
  5. R – Your RESPONSIVENESS – Whether you consider yourself an extrovert or introvert, the workplace requires you to interact with the people around you. So be pleasant. Be patient. Answer the questions they’re actually asking. Wait. What? Seek to understand. Try to actually be helpful. Sure, it may feel like a waste and even a pain, at times, but it’s an investment – you don’t know who’s watching, you don’t know who’s listening, you don’t know whose help you’ll need or when you’ll need it most. Besides you impress no one by being pompous. That only shows others you’re not as impressive as you mistakenly think you are.

E.A.G.E.R. for the New Year

Here’s a little exercise:

  • For each of the five categories listed – Enthusiasm, Agility, Growth, Ease, Responsiveness – or for any other or additional categories you’d like to include, rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 (10=already excellent; 1=embarrassingly not). These are your ‘EAGER 1a’ baseline ratings – where you currently are (or believe yourself to be).

E.A.G.E.R. for the New Year – Step 1

  • Add another column, and in that column add 2 points to each of your baseline ratings. (So if you gave yourself a ‘responsiveness’ rating of 7, put a 9 (7+2) in the corresponding box.) These are your ‘EAGER 2b’ intention scores (‘2b’ – ‘to BE’ – clever, right?!) and will help stimulate your imagination for what ‘could be’ for yourself and those around you.

E.A.G.E.R. for the New Year – Step 2

  • Next, list out 3 or 4 specific steps you can take to achieve your EAGER 2b ratings. (Would it be too much to call these your EAGER 2c – ‘to SEE’ – scores?!)

E.A.G.E.R. for the New Year – Step 3

  •  Save your spreadsheet, create a recurring task in your calendar to review your progress monthly, and then do so without fail.

Putting the ‘New’ in New Year

As Margaret J. Wheatley said, “Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”

Hopefully, that’s reason enough for all this, but if not, just let me know.