The 5 questions that get me excited about 2018

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I’ve noticed recently that my blogging has gotten a bit away from sharing my own insights on life and leadership. It’s the time of the year when I feel the need to look back and reflect on where I’ve been and where I am going, so I’d like to share my very personal thoughts with you on this topic.

Let’s start in the summer of 2016. Truth be told, I was exhausted. I had been serving as the CEO of a nonprofit in my community for six years, and, with the support of my team, had transformed the organization. It was a lot of “heavy lifting”. I am a person who values innovation, and I was feeling that we were moving from creating to continuous improvement processes which, professionally speaking, left me feeling less interested in the work.

I was offered an opportunity to work with someone who had been a mentor to me and to build programming around topics about which I was passionate. We did some innovative work together but, in the end, I realized that what brings me the most joy is working with non-profit leaders and their organizations. I literally had a vision of a very specific non profit niche which I could serve well, and this vision was different than that of my employer.

So, I found myself in a place where I needed to get real honest with myself. I have this funny little expression….”you either become an expert or you expire” and I knew that, at my age, I had a very tight window to launch the business that was calling me. This wasn’t the first time I had taken a career turn, but I did have the sense that I finally was ready to do what I was meant to do.

In my coaching practice, I often talk to my clients about how vision and values can feel misaligned and this is where I landed in May of 2017. Now, seven months later, there is much on which to reflect regarding my decision to launch Think Good Leadership.

I’d like to “talk out loud” about these reflections with you, based on five key questions:

·      What do I want?

·      Who really needs my “A” Game everyday?

·      Who can I serve?

·      Why not now?

·      What does my internal compass tell me about where I am going?

What do I want?

Professionally, I want to build a business that provides nonprofit organizations with the confidence and tools to take their organizations to the next level of excellence. I want to see their leaders develop and maintain a leadership mindset and I want these leaders to empower their staff to adopt that mindset across the enterprise. If we are going to really solve the biggest problems facing in the world today  (substandard housing, food scarcity, education), we need to ignite the problem solving capacity of nonprofits.

In my personal life, I want to be able to be fully present with my family and friends. I want to be able to focus on one conversation at a time. I want to balance well so that I can lean in to working with my best energy.

How did I do in 2017? I would give myself an “A” on the professional side of this equation. I love my clients and the work they are doing and I do see them growing as a result of our work together. Unfortunately, it’s a “C” on my personal life. Early into my consulting, I took on a part time Executive Director role. It has been challenging on a weekly basis to balance building my business, doing my business and managing my energy well. I need to focus on creating more space for recharging and bringing the joy in 2018.

My big goal next year is to address the next question of “who needs my ‘A’ game today.” I recently listened to a podcast with super motivator/author/seeker Brendon Burchard. He suggests setting a desk trigger for yourself and asking yourself, who needs me most on my A game right now. He opines that, “bringing you’re A game means that you are giving your best effort with full focus on the singular task at hand.” I’ve decided this will be a daily practice for me in 2018, as it will help me focus on the challenges of each day.

Who Can I Serve? Everyone right?  Oops…that just isn’t possible. I suffer from a severe case of “pleaser syndrome”. I learned this trait from my grandmother and while I know that it makes me a very caring person, it also can make me feel a bit resentful. When you squeeze everything out of yourself pleasing others, you have very little left for your self. So, I think a better answer to this question in 2018 should be who I can “best” serve. If I can’t be all things to all people, I think I need to consider who would be best served by my help. Who is coachable? Who is committed to a growth mindset?

Why Not Now? New ideas for my business keep me up at night and keep me squeezing out every minute of every day. I listen to many podcasts that give substantive suggestions about how to build a start up business. It’s actually a bit overwhelming to think about all of the tools, resources and information out there that can impact what you do. And, if you know me at all, I am wildly enthusiastic. If I am really honest here, the choices can be overwhelming. Podcast? Videos? Group coaching? Professional development? I want it all. I want it now. I think my biggest challenge in 2018 will be narrowing down all the noise about what is next and focusing on no more than three platforms which will best assist my clients.

 What does my internal compass tell me about all of the other questions? I have worked hard to clarify my personal values this year. What I’ve learned is that, at my best, I am insightful, inspiring and enthusiastic. When living with intent, my connections with others are driven by mutual respect, kindness and full engagement. I also know that, without taking risks, being persistent and managing my life with integrity, I will feel off my game.

I would love to hear from you, my readers, about your top questions for next year. Let’s get a conversation going, and let’s make 2018 extraordinary.