As part of our wrap-up for 2022, I asked several of my clients to share what they felt had contributed the most to their success this past year. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Having a crystal-clear mission for my work. Knowing what you stand for and what you want to accomplish in the world makes a big difference. It helps you focus your time and guides where to spend your energy. For one client, having a clear mission also led to a major opportunity. A company recruited her specifically for a new role because her mission was aligned to their goals.
2. Writing down and intentionally planning for my goals. In my mastermind program this year we implemented a quarterly goal-setting session. Clients used the time to reflect on their wins from the prior quarter and plan for what they wanted to achieve in the months ahead. By keeping their goals in front of them, they made significant progress during the year.
3. Allowing for “unscheduled” time and using it to think strategically. I have never in my career seen a period in which people are so intensely overbooked as in this past year. People at all levels of management are in back-to-back meetings practically every day. It’s insanity. The biggest cost is that there’s so little time to think. Several of my clients have made a conscious choice to block out “think time” on their calendars so that they can catch their breath and look ahead. I think it’s one of the most important steps you can take if you want to be a truly strategic leader.
4. Hearing my own voice vs. letting everything and everyone around me take precedence. This is related to the prior point. You have a unique point of view in your organization, which means that – by definition – your voice matters. If you want it to be heard, you have to start by listening to yourself. This particular client made some major strides this year as she learned to trust the wisdom of her own voice and experience.
5. Seeing the patterns of interactions and having strategies to respond to them. You may be familiar with “emotional intelligence” which is the ability to understand your own and others’ emotions. Beyond that is what you might call “systems intelligence” or “tribal intelligence” – understanding the human dynamics that run as undercurrents in any human group, whether that’s an organization, a team or a family. My clients learn about these patterns, so that they can identify them in their own interactions with others. They also learn strategies they can use to navigate them effectively.
6. Really connecting with others – being open and vulnerable. Whether you’re starting in a new role, like the client who raised this tip, or you’re wanting to build better relationships with your existing colleagues, finding ways to open up in the context of your work, can go a long way toward building trust and collaboration.
7. Having anchoring beliefs about myself that I can come back to. This has been important in my own development, so I was pleased to hear clients say they found it helpful as well. Anchoring beliefs are core ideas that you can come back to when circumstances are challenging. One of my personal anchoring beliefs is, “There is nothing that can happen in my life – or in my clients’ lives – that I can’t handle.” I bring this belief to mind any time I’m facing what feels like a big challenge. It reminds me that I am resourceful and thoughtful, and it puts me in motion to find solutions.
I hope these tips are helpful to you. If you’d like to know more or are curious about how these ideas could make a difference in your own career, we’d love to explore that with you. Book a call with my colleague, Anne Marie Fayen. She’ll talk with you about where you are in your career right now and where you want to go. If we can help you get there, she’ll talk with you about what that could look like. And if not, we’ll do our best to point you to other resources. Either way, you’ll walk away with some real clarity about what you can do to make 2023 your best year yet.
Here’s a video if you prefer to watch and listen to me talk about this topic: