A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it. ~ Jean de La Fontaine
Leaders are typically rational people, searching for stability and balance, despite the burning desire we feel in the pursuit of greatness. Leading well allows us to unearth our full potential and the potential we see in others. Unfortunately, some of our desires are in opposition to one another. Even as we set out to reach our goals, we can put profound roadblocks in place, which end up setting us back. These are the book-ends of mediocrity.
What we need to admit to ourselves is that something always comes up. A new gig, a new appointment, a new meeting, a new initiative…they always show up. Always. And, our propensity to obstruct our progress by adding problems to our list and new goals to achieve are exactly the reasons why we don’t succeed. One issue that many of us face in not reaching our goals is that we have too many. It’s more likely than not that what you’re currently trying to achieve is way too much. The need for “too much” is destructive for getting anything done well, let alone your one-big-massive-important goal for 2020.
The only way to combat the argument for more is to create a master plan and find a way to stay accountable to it. The plan must be detailed enough to create a path forward, and your accountability requires you to have a partner who will check in with you along that path. But, for most of us, one thing that we leave out of our plan, and our conversation with accountability-partners, is the stuff in our lives that we should stop doing. These are either the aspects of our jobs that can be delegated, the agenda items that we add based on urgency, and the appointments that we let stack on our calendars that don’t align with our priorities. Life doesn’t have to be that way.
Take this next challenge as part of your master plan and your accountability structure. Build your plan to include the steps associated with reaching your goals but also the things that you need to stop doing. Tell your accountability partner what you want to achieve but also the things that you need to cut from your daily routine. Take the challenge:
Phase 3: Create a Master Plan
Phase 4: Be Accountable
- As you create your plan that will lead to achieving your goals in 2020, choose something to stop doing. Identify one thing you may have to give up to achieve your goal. Too often we limit our own success through the behaviors and attitudes that limit our achievement. Very often, in order to have a break-through, we must break-from something.
- Commit to reviewing your calendar five weeks in advance. Even when we pick a thing to stop doing, it can appear again-and-again if we’re not intentional about shedding it from our routines. Leaders have a tendency to look at schedules and calendars a day or a week in advance. Take the time each day to look into the future by checking your calendar for upcoming events, especially the ones that you just decided to stop doing. By adding the fifth week to review, you create momentum and focus into the next month.
- Once you have an accountability partner, let them know about your one big important goal so that they can hold you accountable. And, let them know about the one thing that you need to give up to be successful. Ask them to call your on both each day.
Technical Tip: In a recent Tim Ferriss show interview, Gary Keller talked about his paper-pencil calendar strategy. With all the new technical ways to keep time and schedule meetings, the good ol’ fashion desk calendar or appointment book still work the best. Even if you don’t want to move from your Outlook scheduling assistant, commit to printing your calendar once per day to review the week and once per week to look five weeks out. We promise that this tip will make all the difference in the identification of the things that you need to stop doing to reach your goals.
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