How Will You Show Up in 2019?
The end of one year leading to a new year has always been a time when I reflect on the year that is exiting to understand the events of the year, my emotions, and what worked well, and what didn’t. When I was working full time in the workforce there was always a portion of my reflection that looked at what had worked well in our business, what didn’t, and what changes I needed to make in how I led. Most often, I reflected on the following topics: Relationships, Communication, Critical Thinking/Problem Solving, Innovation, Strategy.
If you have read my work, you know that I value relationships above all else in the leadership spectrum. Leadership is the byproduct of relationship. It determines the quality and amount of influence I have. I have found that to be the case whether I was talking from a business leadership perspective, or a personal perspective. One component of that relationship building has to do with whether I am ‘responding’ or ‘reacting.’ The more I respond, the more I build trust because the more my behavior matches what the situation calls for. I think about where I need to strengthen my relationships. Who do I need to spend more time with? Who don’t I know well enough to know what their goals, desires, dreams for their job or their future look like? That knowledge helps me to understand where I need to spend time.
Communication is always a critical component in my daily world. What is my desired message (be it written, verbal or nonverbal)? Is it clear? Is it concise? Does it contain the tone that I want? Who do I want to communicate with? What is the content? How often? Communication is not just about the ‘message.’ The greater skill in ‘communicating’ has to do with how I listen. Am I listening to understand, or are my assumption and biases in the way of the deeper understanding? Over the years I have found that my communication was at its best when I had listened with a presence and desire for understanding that broadened my ability to craft a better, more concise, more meaningful message when it was my turn to speak/write.
Critical thinking, for me, is the ability to think reflectively and independently in order to make a thoughtful decision. This requires work. It is part of my reflection on am I reacting or am I responding? What assumptions or biases are at work in my thinking? Critical thinking may seem like a ‘strange’ area to focus on, but my observation is that with the speed with which information and business moves, we have lost some of the discipline we need to make good decisions. I believe that to conduct business and life well requires me/us to have the discipline of reflection and contemplation so that we can live/work with informed intention concerning the direction of our lives and work. As a leader, and a parent, I believe that we should be looking forward to every situation where we can educate. Education is that act of ‘calling forth’ the information from another. Yes, there are times when we will ‘teach’ because the knowledge doesn’t exist, but I believe our best work comes when we are able to help draw out the information that lies within. When we help others to discover their answers, they are more motivated to go develop the best version of themselves.
The next area I would reflect on is innovation. Over time there is an allure to ‘doing what we have always done.’ Whether we like to admit it or not, we like developing certain ‘patterns’ to our lives because then we don’t have to think or work as hard. The path that is well worn may be comfortable, but it may not be best. I want to be curious. Curiosity requires more questions than answers. A phrase I used to use with my work teams was, “Is there another right answer? Is there another way to look at this?” These questions are useful in forcing us to think deeper and broader than we might be comfortable with. They are also the questions that help us ‘imagine’ another way; unlocking creativity that leads to another way. It leads to innovation.
Lastly, Strategy is the plan we use to help us reach our vision (our view of the future). This vision can be about ourselves, or about our work/company. Are we pursuing a plan that has the best chance for helping us achieve our goal/vision? Is what we are doing getting us what we want? Reflecting on strategy always helped me to determine if the direction were heading was where we wanted to go. Were the assumptions from the prior year, or longer, still true? What changes had occurred in environment (technology, competitiveness, client growth, workforce changes) that needed to be re-examined? I spent time on this last because the other areas had more of a personal element of how I was doing in each of those areas compared to strategy, which tended to include more of a ‘group think’ approach. I found it important to reflect first on what I was doing that was working, or not, before I reflected on the value of the overall strategy.
The final area of reflection for the new year had to do with how I was caring for my four energy centers (Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, Spiritual – PIES). How I ‘show up’ has a lot to do with that care. Who I am in life has everything to do with these centers. Our energy is our only renewable resource. The quality of our relationships, our abilities at work, our ability to be pursue our desires, to be at our very best, all stem from this energy. If we are ‘off center’ in any of our PIES we will be and bring something less than.
How do you want to show up in 2019? What’s most important? Is it in the area of your health, your family, your development, your work, your career? What will you have if you are able to achieve what is most important? What will it take to look back on 2019 next December and say, “This was a really good year.”?
(Past Executive Director National Hospital Collector's Assoc and Agency President)
To your journey and living out the best version of you…
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