Entries in goals (3)

How to Wrap Up 2015...and Get the New Year Off to a Flying Start!

The last couple of weeks of December is the perfect time to take stock – not only of whether you’ve been naughty or nice over the past year – but of what you’ve accomplished, and where you need to focus your time, attention, and energy to set yourself up for success in 2016.

To help you do that, it might be useful to conduct the following seven productivity “inventories”:

• Goals inventory
• Personal inventory
• Environmental inventory
• Relationship inventory
• Financial inventory
• Time inventory
• Self-development inventory

For more details on each one, please click here to read my complete post on The Hired Guns website!

What Bed-Making and New Year's Resolutions Have in Common


I really hate making the bed.

I know it’s such a small and trivial thing, but it’s one of my least favorite things in the world to do. And yet it’s something that has to be done every single day.

So, like other things that people don’t like to do, I often put it off. I’ll do everything else first and save it for last. Or avoid doing it altogether.

But what’s the result of this behavior?

I’m thinking about it. I’m dwelling on it. I’m dreading it. It’s hanging over my head and distracting me as I go about doing other things. And until it’s done I can’t move on with my day, because I know that the only thing worse than having to MAKE the bed is coming home to the sloppy mess of an unmade bed.

So what’s the solution?

Make the bed immediately! Right away. Now. As soon as possible. To start on it before my feet even hit the floor. Before I even have a chance to think about it! And before I know it, the bed is made. So now I can move on to more important things.

So what does this have to do with . . . well . . . anything?

As you kick off the New Year, ask yourself this question:

What are the “unmade beds” in your life?

What are the things on your to-do list that are hanging over your head, the things that are always on your mind? The things you have to do, need to do, or dread doing. The things that you have been putting off for whatever reason? The things that should be done? The things that if you did them would affect other things? The things that would make a difference? The things that are keeping you from doing the things that really matter?

Why do we delay?

It could be because of busyness (or bus-i-ness), distraction, fear, lack of knowledge, lack of skill, lack of understanding, lack of motivation, or any other number of other reasons people procrastinate, including the universal excuse: lack of time.

But we all have the same 24 hours a day, the same 525,600 minutes that everyone else has. Why are some people able to do more with them than others? Is it discipline? Determination? Willpower? The ability to focus? The ability to prioritize? The ability to eliminate distractions? The ability to just Get Things Done? There are a million possible reasons and excuses. But the bottom line is this:

No one wants to HEAR excuses . . . they just want to SEE results.

Look at your list of New Year’s resolutions from January 2014 and compare it to your list for 2015. Is there anything from last year’s list—from 365 days ago—that you haven’t even gotten started on yet? My bet is that there is. The key is to narrow down and prioritize your resolutions, and focus. Too often we make too many commitments. Set too many lofty, ambitious goals. And what happens? We end up getting none of them done. As Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Simplify, simplify.”

I was supposed to write my first book over the past year, but it simply didn’t happen. I have a ton of ideas in my head, and pages and pages of notes in my notebook—and the very best of intentions. But sometimes life just gets in the way of our best-laid plans.

So after I’m done with this blog post, I hereby resolve to finally get working on my book . . . starting . . . right . . . NOW!

But before I do, I better go make the bed.

The Leadership Journey: A Picture Worth a Thousand Words...and Hours of Discussion



If life is a journey -- and leadership is a journey -- what are some of the key questions we need to ask ourselves along the way? 


They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. And that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And that leadership is not a destination . . . but a journey. I’m not exactly sure who “they” are, but regardless of who said what, I think we can all agree that there’s something moving and memorable about this simple, beautiful, visual image — and something incredibly powerful about the thought-provoking metaphor that we call “The Leadership Journey.”

In my leadership workshops, as well as in the NYU graduate course I teach on “Transformational Leadership and Team Building,” we spend many hours discussing this image – and this metaphor.

“How can you spend so much time thinking and talking about one simple picture?” you might be wondering.

Well, to begin...

The windshield represents “the future”: Your vision. The road ahead. The road not taken. The unknown just over the horizon. The obstacles yet unseen. The fears yet confronted. The opportunities yet explored. It is the path you have chosen. The choices you have made. The choices still to be made. And the work yet to be done.

The rearview mirror represents “the past”: Where you’ve come from, and how you got here. Your successes and your failures. The experiences — and the baggage — you’ve brought with you. Your core values. Your regrets. The competition that may be gaining on you. The people, plans, dreams, or memories you left behind. And it is a constant reminder of the need to pull over periodically to take time, both literally and figuratively, for reflection.

The dashboard represents “the present”: it contains your dials and gauges and metrics. It tells you how well you are doing, and how much farther you have yet to go. How fast you are moving, or how slow. And it helps you to determine whether or not you have what it takes to make it to your next destination…or change course  As the legendary management guru Peter Drucker once famously said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

And what else?

What does the steering wheel symbolize, and the tires, and the engine, and the trunk? Should you continue to stay on this road, or take a different path on a road less traveled? Are you following your intended road map, or is your GPS warning that you might be speeding forward in the wrong direction?

It seems to be blue skies and clear sailing for miles to come, but are you prepared should you hit a patch of stormy weather, or bumps in the road, or a sudden, unforeseen traffic jam or detour up ahead?

Is the fact that there seem to be no other vehicles in sight a good thing or a bad thing? Are you so far ahead that you’ve left everyone else in the dust… or so far behind that you are out of the race? And where should you be, as a leader: in the driver’s seat, the passenger seat, the backseat . . . or perhaps not in this car at all?

With this many important things to think about, and so many questions yet unanswered, now is as good a time as any to pull over and reflect on where you are on your journey – and what decisions you may need to make to help you reach your desired destination for this year…and beyond.