How long has it been since you sat down and took stock of your life? Sometimes Life forces this upon us in the shape of a divorce, a redundancy, a promotion or some other life changing event. However, even when none of these occur, we can find ourselves looking back at where we have come from and all that we have achieved, and also those things that we haven’t, and asking “What is really important?”
Once upon a time, people really had little choice about what they did. If they were lucky, they followed in their parents’ footsteps and were taught a trade. Most people worked from dawn to dusk just trying to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads. The second half of the twentieth century saw a change in this pattern and people not only could make choices but were told this was their right.
However, with choices came consequences, successes and failures. No longer was a full belly and somewhere to sleep enough of a measure of success. Maslow taught us about the hierarchy of needs, and having taken care of the life and death basics we now needed to self-actualise, or fulfil ourselves and our purpose.
“Why are we here?” is just about the most difficult question most parents get asked, but I wonder how many of us can really answer that question properly, whether as an individual or a business.
It is important to take time to take stock of what we are really trying to do and why. The way we express our goals and dreams not only defines them but also restricts & limits them. Did you want to be a doctor, or just help people feel better? Did you want to be the boss or just in charge? To be in charge or just have no one telling you what to do?
Each change in how we express what we want opens and closes mental doors. It is important and valuable to have someone challenge what we really mean and really want.
We only have a limited amount of time, energy and resources. We all know that but how often do we take the time to make sure we are investing them wisely. Investing them in a way that gives us most of what we want, and least of what we don’t want?
Too often we live our lives, and run our businesses as if they we on a set of tramlines, and having embarked, we relinquish any options of changing directions. There are always many ways of getting to where we want to be; many routes, and many modes of transport, we just have to choose.
We tend to envy people with options, but we all have them, we just have to take the time to consider. Consider:-
I remember interviewing a successful team of business professionals, many of whom talked to me about work-life balance and its importance but very few had it. It tends to be spoken of as something of an impossible dream, but we all have a balance point; it’s just often in the wrong place!
Here is a simple exercise you can do. Review your life, and in each important area (and the following are just some suggestions):-
Mark your satisfaction in each area on a score of 1-10 (where 1 is low). Review it and see if you are satisfied with the balance. Obviously not everything has to be a 10, some areas are more important than others (and the relative importance changes over time).
One can do a similar analysis for a business. It is important to focus on improving the things that will make a difference, not only to you, but to your staff and your clients.
Focus is everything. If you aren’t paying attention to what is really important, chances are no one is and then it is a matter of blind luck whether you get it or not.
Time for a change…?
..the result of Richard's intervention moved the team forward by at least 6 to 8 weeks - SmithKline Beecham, Director and VP of Enterprise Integration
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God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Reinhold Niebuhr