Guest Blog from our Coaching Panel - Neil Woodard
Creating Your Own Destiny
Some people complain about not having the life and/or career they want – this is probably due, to some extent, to poor planning and execution. To get the life you want, you need to work ‘on’ it, not ‘in’ it. Working ‘on’ it, means thinking about it and what you want for now and the future, planning and taking action to make it happen. Working ‘in’ it means doing stuff within your life that fills time, pays the bills etc.
Here is a method you can use to get the life, and career, worthy of your potential………..
1. Plan your preferred future. If you don't know where you are going, then any road will get you there. So, you need to plan in a specific and measurable way. Take time to examine the details of every aspect of your life, personal and professional, and clarify your goals. There are some excellent tools to help with this eg Wheel of Life.
2. Be pragmatic. The future has to reflect what is physically possible with the available resources and limitations, but don’t let pragmatism be too restrictive; design your future to exploit every opportunity and asset you have. Also, be clear and honest with yourself, to ensure you don’t waste time and energy on what's unachievable or irrelevant.
3. Decide the person you want to be (Who), not the role (What). Success is not just about ££, there are so many other factors which will be individual and unique to every person. You need to define who you want to be, not what you want to be doing. The ‘who’ centres on your passions (things you love doing and really care about), core competencies (things you’re really good at), and core satisfaction factors (eg material requirements that will make you happy). If you know who you truly want to be, you can then consider what to do, what to own, what resources you need etc, and the opposite (ie what not to do etc). One way to think about the ‘who’, is to sit down and draft your own eulogy….. what legacy do you want to leave behind? Great parent? Successful business owner? Entertaining writer? Supportive friend? Well-travelled and open-minded? Highly skilled and experienced in XYZ? Brilliant story teller? Skilled engineer? Warm and caring, always took the time with people? Amazing teacher/mentor? Charity supporter? Great networker?
4. Be honest. You need to challenge yourself constantly to get to the truth of who you are and who you wish to be. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled; ‘quiet politeness’ to yourself won’t help. Sit down and ask yourself tough questions:
What am I good at? Why?
What makes me tick? Why?
What am I not good at? Why?
What do I really dislike? Why?
Who do I enjoy spending time with? Why?
Do I want to be static/stable or mobile/changing? Why?
Do I like working in teams or by myself? Why?
Am I a leader or follower? Or a bit of both in different scenarios? Why?
Where/when do I feel comfortable and where/when do I feel uneasy/stressed?
What do I need to work on to become the ‘who’ that I want to be?
Honesty to yourself is vital; being economical with ‘your truth’ will only dilute the results, and therefore reduce the outcome.
5. Use the resources around you. Every resource is important. In this planning exercise, use any resources, new or old, to reach your desired future. You are not an island, you are not alone, there is experience/advice/guidance/support all around you – you need to seek out what you need, listen and then decide what to do ……… you do not have to do what someone else advised; that may have worked for them, but it may/may not work for you. You are the only person who really knows you and your own situation, but listening to others will be invaluable, even if it makes you mentally say “Nah, I won’t do that – makes me cringe.” Listen and think and stash away any little gems of wisdom.
6. Ignore the naysayers. Constructive criticism is fine, especially if it helps you consider and make changes to your plans and actions. Baseless conjecture or unhelpful ‘advice’ that stems from emotional baggage is not (think of those dissatisfied friends or colleagues who are always negative……. “Oh no, don’t do that! My mate’s brother did that and it was a disaster!”). You can listen to them, but you don’t have to follow them or their ‘advice’. Find people who understand, ask you useful questions to help you think clearly, and engage them in your preferred future. Then, for that ‘feel good factor’, you could also help them achieve their preferred future.
7. Don't settle for less. Many people settle for what is easy rather than engage their energy and effort to create something different and meaningful for themselves. Pursue the goals you really want. It’s totally fine if your goals/desired outcomes change over time – that could be due to what you’re learning as you go through life or maybe changes in your lifestyle and priorities – but keep an eye on what matters, who you are and makes you happy, and keep doing things that help you move towards that.
Remember, good and bad luck come to all, but maybe it's how you plan, execute your actions and respond to other events that determine your return on that luck………..?
- Neil Woodard