Happy New Year!
And welcome to National Change Month, the time of the year when we get fired up about changing our lives.
As you contemplate the changes you’ll commit to making in your life this year, consider three sets of questions to help make next year your best year yet.
1. Am I a Human Being or a Human Doing?
If you’re similar to the business leaders I meet and work with, your natural abilities and persistence to succeed have helped make you a winner on a certain scale. You likely envision a better life for yourself. More freedom. More personal satisfaction. More of the good life.
Over time, however, many leaders gradually discover they are working harder than ever. They have changed from human beings into human doings. Does this description resonate with you? Could it be you in a few more years? If so, try answering these two fundamental questions:
What do I want out of life?
Is my business helping me get it or keeping me from it?
You can’t make it your best year until you’re crystal clear about what “best” really means. To help you achieve clarity around what matters, you can download for free through January 31 this goal-setting template I developed called the 7 Fs.
2. Am I Ready to Move From Success to Significance?
During the holidays, we visited the family of my wife’s sister.
My brother-in-law David Jumper played football at Baylor, saw active duty in Vietnam as a Marine, took over his father’s business when he returned home, and today is a respected authority in the field of water treatment.
David rose from modest beginnings, set high standards for himself and those he influences, and worked hard to achieve his dreams. He is guided by rock-solid values and has a firm grasp on who he is and what matters in his life. This message – known variously as “An American’s Creed,” “My Creed,” and “An Entrepreneur’s Credo – is framed and hangs over his desk at home.
The quote is often mistakenly attributed to Thomas Paine, though it originally was written by New York politician Dean Alfange in 1951.
I do not choose to be a common person.
It is my right to be uncommon—if I can.
I seek opportunity—not security.
I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.
I want to take the calculated risk, to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.
I refuse to barter incentive for a dole; I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of Utopia.
I will not trade my freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout.
I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat.
It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid; to think and act for myself; to enjoy the benefit of my creations; and to face the world boldly and say: “This, with God’s help, I have done.”
If you’re reading this, you are successful. Are you prepared to be uncommon? What must you do to move from success to significance?
3. Who Will Hold Me Accountable?
As a chair for Vistage International, the world’s largest CEO membership organization (www.vistage.com), I spend a significant portion of each month serving as a coach, consultant, and confidant to 32 CEOs and 16 key executives who are leading successful organizations in a variety of industries.
Once a month, I facilitate a group of CEOs in noncompeting businesses who act as a sounding board for each other. They discuss problems and opportunities, question decisions before they’re made, and then hold one another accountable to implement the decisions made in the meeting. In between the monthly meetings, I conduct private coaching sessions with these executives to ensure that accountability becomes reality.
Even effective leaders have coaches, cohorts and accountability partners to help them improve.
If you’re ready to take another step in your growth and development as a leader – or you know someone who is – contact me at [email protected] and we can discuss if you’ve got what it takes to become a member of one of my Vistage groups.
To dive even deeper into the topic of accountability, I invite you to purchase a copy of my bestselling book, “Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture.”
Business schools teach case studies. Hollywood blockbusters are inspired by true events.
Exceptional leaders are students of history. Decision-making comes with the territory.