Five Questions You've Been Avoiding
By Russell Hunter
For many of us, the year-end holidays seem like a distant memory already. Calendars are filling up, task lists are getting longer, while our patience gets shorter. How did things get busy so quickly again?
One of the first things to disappear when we get busy is frequent self reflection. And sadly, it is when we are busiest that we need to be the most self aware - to ensure we are managing our energy in service of what matters most, not just what's urgent.
Being beyond busy eventually becomes a way to avoid asking ourselves some tough questions about we are and where we want to be.
So... regardless of what lies ahead for you this year, here's five big questions worth mulling over:
Did any of these questions resonate with you? Don't let them get away again. Keep them close. Sit with the tough questions. See what unfolds. 2009 will have plenty of challenges, but just as many opportunities. Yes, we will need to be busy to get things done. But lets not let our tasks choke our most valuable asset as a leader and a human being - your self awareness.
- What's really going well for you?
The current world economic woes, organizational transitions/changes, and dare I day it... the weather... seem to dominate conversations. Uncertainty about the future often triggers a sense of scarcity and concern about what's not working right now. What IS working for us often gets overshadowed or forgotten.
Gratitude is a powerful performance muscle. Try it right now. Take a minute to acknowledge and celebrate what's working for you right now. What opportunities are you grateful for? What relationships? What experiences? What achievements? Reflecting on the simple things such as the great dinner you had yesterday with friends, or the feedback you got from a colleague that pay big energy dividends.
- What are you wasting energy trying to ignore?
Anxiety and discomfort act like a telephone ringing. We hear the phone ringing inside our minds - letting us know we are moving outside of our comfort zone or something needs our attention. But we often avoid picking up the phone because we don't want to hear the message when we are busy. If left unanswered, the phone will keep on ringing, and grow loader until it gets our attention. This ringing requires a lot of energy and its impact mentally, emotionally and physically is underestimated. Better to answer the phone early and often - receive the message - and decide how to best respond to it.
What conversation are your avoiding? What data are you ignoring about the state of a project? What personal need are you ignoring in service of other's needs?
- Where are you a little too comfortable?
Sometimes the very things that worked well for a few years ago are the very things holding us back from achieving the next level of success. A ritual can easily become a rut when it no longer serves a specific performance need. What thought patterns are a little too rigid or stale? Where do you need to step out of your comfort zone physically, mentally and emotionally? Where should you take some risks in 2009?
- How will you be remembered as a leader?
Remember that you're actions are perfectly aligned with the results you are currently getting. Is this how you want to be remembered in your organization? How are you modeling your deepest values on a daily basis? Are you getting results at the expense of your best self? Who are you beyond your job? Your epitath is already half written so why not decide how it will end.
- Who's getting your best energy right now?
Its helpful to remember we have connections forward through the lives we influence, and connections backwards through the individuals who shaped our path. In the midst of the urgent, are the people that matter most getting your best energy or your energy leftovers? What small thing can you do today to invest in those relationships?
P.S. Special thanks to Michael Bungay Stanier & Box of Crayons for their perspective on this. If you've got 10 minutes, check out their video at: www.fivebigquestions.com
TAKING ACTION THIS MONTH:
Take some time to reflect on the questions that stir you the most. What needs attention this month?
View other articles in January 09 Issue
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