To 2019! Coach It Out’s Year-End Message: Keep Getting Better!

Leadership Lesson: Here are some considerations to keep in mind as we move forward into the new year, so we can each keep assessing — and evolving along — our own path of leadership and development.

Another year comes to an end. Another year of accomplishments, maybe some so-so’s, and probably some disappointments and letdowns. What we did in the year likely ran the gamut from happiness-inducing achievements to discouraging misfires. 

And here we are — New Year’s Day, closing in on the finish line of 2018 and the starting line of 2019. Even though New Year’s Day isn’t tangible and visible, and is merely a demarcation set on paper, we typically see it as a new beginning to set resolutions.

New goals. New commitments. New re-commitments. 

We always promise we’re going to evolve and get better.  

And that can happen in both our personal and professional lives; it’s not only relegated to the health and fitness in our personal lives, which most resolutions usually revolve around. Resolutions can be made for the professional setting as well — and you can still refer to them as health and fitness choices.

What we do at work has a great impact on how we feel mentally. You’ve probably sensed it yourself in your professional roles – improvements of any kind making you feel better, with setbacks making you feel less-than. So both the health and fitness monitored in the personal life take on a comparable form in the workplace, albeit maybe in a bit more of a mental, psychological, and emotional form.

And, yes, more organizations are implementing well-being programs and cultures. But even some of those examples of programs and cultures don’t address the approach to the work and the work itself. And if you monitor the actions just outside the work but don’t retool the work environment itself to mitigate mental, emotional, and psychological impacts, you’re just setting yourself up to need more of those offsetting wellness exercises and behaviors. 

So how will you improve, for health (and sanity) reasons, the nature of your work and what you take from it? We should all consider this question for both current satisfaction and long-term effects

Most of my work, at first, isn’t about how to lead others, but about self-reflection and determining what it is the leader has taken into consideration about themselves. That’s how it begins: determining what a leader truly needs, what she has to offer, making sure she realizes it, taps into it, and refines it, to then demonstrate it to others.

Here are some of the top considerations clients have needed to make in 2018. At first glance, this list may not look like a leadership-centered plan of action. One might say this doesn’t look like it helps someone address the way they lead their followers, group, or organization. Oh, but it does.

Related: The Strongest Aspect Of Leadership is Not About Them. It’s About You!

Consider If You’re Demonstrating Who You Really Are

Most of the frustration – the foundation of the issue – with clients tends to be the inability to communicate who they are, what they want, or what they can really do. 

This is the frustration of most people in the workplace, to one extent or another – not getting their way, in a sense. And for this purpose, let’s have “getting their way” mean with the intent to be productive or contribute, and not just talking or stepping in for the sake of action or ego.

The ideas, thoughts, opinions you may have – are you providing and expressing them? Do you have a format or a platform by which to express them, whether it’s in your professional role or not?

Frustration is pent up tension. It’s essentially energy of some kind, cocked and ready to explode, with no ability to go off, making you feel like you want to jump out of your skin. This frustration can stem from the inability to express something positive to your environment, or the need to offset or fight off the negativity coming at you from your environment.

Does this sound like your dilemma? 

If it does, are you in the right place? Do you need to get out? If you can’t get out, for any number of reasons, are you getting that energy out of you in some form — for instance, contributing in a separate environment outside of your professional arena. (And home does not count. This is an exercise you need to do for you, outside of your regular responsibilities. They’re obviously not something you can do at home, because it’s a professional need, and, again, work itself is not allowing you to express them.)

Find somewhere you can get these things out of you. Whether it be coaching, volunteering, teaching, learning, networking – avenues that will allow you to build and be built. 

Consider If You Need To Change Your Environment

Building off of demonstrating who you are, make sure to change your environment when it’s not conducive to who you want to be. 

If an environment isn’t working for you, whether it’s the work, people, or culture that is toxic or leave you feeling stagnant, as much as you can and as is realistically as possible, GET OUT!

There are too many experiences to have and people to encounter to anchor yourself to environments which are toxic or stagnant. It amazes me how often and for how long people put up with toxicity or stagnation in their lives. 

Related Newsletter: How Much Do You Do For Yourself?

Instead, get curious, for your own sake. See what’s out there that’s going to make you a better person (first) and professional. (The person is the core of the professional, so start with that deeper need, and build out.)

Don’t f*cking settle. You’re worth more than that. 

Consider Fighting Your Fear Of Failure

This topic, admittedly, is approaching being written about to death. More and more headlines bring it up to the point where it’s almost becoming cliché. It may seem like a buzz phrase and idea, but there’s very much something to it.

Don’t be afraid to fail. This is something we should teach our younger generations. We all should have been raised with the growth mindset, which would have allowed us to see the possibilities in continually and habitually striving to get better, regardless of how many times we don’t succeed. Instead, most of us are stuck in the fixed mindset, paralyzed into inaction by the fear we might not succeed.

And do not read this as Fail!, or Fail fast! The message here is, instead, to be as prepared as possible, and do your due diligence, and that if you fail, learn from it, retool, regroup, and push forward.

Get comfortable with exploring and trying new things, living, seeing, and being in different ways.

There are too many people, experiences, and challenges to take on to settle for what might be in front of us.

Consider Stepping Outside of What’s Familiar And Safe

Don’t just stick to what you know. There’s no growth there. There’s limited learning there. You’re leaving capacity underutilized — your capacity for intellect, curiosity, ability, skills, knowledge. You’re leaving all of it on the table if you don’t try something new.

New environments can benefit from who and what you are, and vice versa. New experiences can show you things you may not possibly know about yourself. 

Challenge yourself by stepping into the unknown. 

So these are the things I’ve seen in people I’ve worked with this year. Somehow, for whatever reason, to one extent or another… 

  • …they’re not able to demonstrate what they’re all about, what they’re fully capable of.
  • …they stick around in environments that are bad for them.
  • …they’re crippled and forgo experiences due to the fear of failure.
  • …they only stick to what is familiar to them.

Some of those may seem like they overlap. The last three may sound similar, illustrating a person’s transition from what they know to what they don’t, but each touches upon a point that merits its own deeper discussion: leaving what’s bad around you, focusing on the fear of failure to move forward, and the danger of sticking only to what’s familiar.

All of these are points which need to be customized to each person. Each of us/you is a different person, living and working in different environments, existing under difference circumstances and capabilities.  

But they are considerations. That’s how I try to write and coach. Nothing is cookie-cutter or boilerplate, easily transferable for work across different people and clients. We are all just too unique for something so formulaic to work.

So these aren’t a prescription or recipe. They’re considerations. Take them into consideration.

At the very least, I want you to think about them, analyze them, and see if you’ve given them some thought in the past.

Bring them into your new year, and let’s get the best out of ourselves — and each other.

Happy New Year!

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