If you are particularly goal orientated then you probably started the year with a list of things you are going to achieve. And because you are achievement focused and good at what you do, I have no doubt you will achieve them. But my question is, will achieving these things make a real and lasting difference; a difference to you, and the people that matter most in your life?
Let me give you an example so you can see what I mean. Let’s take a Chief Executive, who is doing well, riding high on his success and starts the New Year with the idea that this year he is going to get it right in terms of work-life balance; this year he will be there for his young son when he needs him, this year he is really going to show up as a Dad.
So how is this to be achieved? Well the successful executive will likely start with the techniques familiar to him in the work world, and plan a year punctuated with exciting events or milestones, a project plan he can direct and (in all likelihood) his partner will deliver! But as the days and the months go by he works harder, and later, and these events rather than being the highlights for the year, become the few occasions he is actually available to his family. Out before the family wakes, and home after 9pm, five days a week, working on weekends and holidays he misses so much of the life of the family he is working so hard for.
But a resolution on how to be, rather than what to do or what not to do, could make all the difference. A difference that doesn’t require a choice between work or life, a difference that doesn’t require a set of rules, or promises that in the end cannot be kept, a difference that ensures that every day little changes are made which add up to the change he wants to achieve.
So returning to our Executive, let’s say he resolves to be a better father, and for now let’s not objectify this with a list of things he is going to do. Let’s just say he simply resolves to ask himself every day, have I been a better father today? And to score himself at the end of every day 1-10 on how successful he has been.
Each day then provides him with the opportunity to reflect, and redirect. Like a pilot constantly adjusting the aeroplane to stay on course. If he hasn’t been there for his son on Monday he can resolve to do better Tuesday, and so on until his score reaches a level he is happy with and he has succeeded in becoming the father he wants to be. Those around him will notice the change in his behaviour and reward him by responding positively, his son will be delighted he made it to the school play, over the moon when he takes him to school (just once in a while), and happy when his Dad puts his phone away on and really focuses in on what his son is saying.
And these small changes, will add up to the big change – that help him to become the father he wants to be – what he actually does each day doesn’t matter, what matters is that he does something every day however small, and the momentum this creates. It’s these small changes, different things on different days – that add up to a big change – a change that is really going to make a difference. The change he wants to see; to really show up as a Dad.
So this New Year, my question to you is how are you going to be?