Change is in the Air
It’s time. The blazing heat of summer is waning and giving way to the colors, sounds, and smells of Autumn. September is a transition month, in my opinion. Not only the bridge from summer vacations to school and getting ready for the corn mazes, pumpkin carvings and hot apple cider…but also a time to reset; a time to finish the year strong. I included this quote from Thomas Edison in the banner because I often encounter clients ready to ditch their goals at this time of year. They coast through the 4th quarter, already eyeing the goals to set for the next year. By doing so, they deprive themselves of truly finishing and in some cases, truly experiencing SUCCESS. This month, let’s take time to reflect and reset to finish the year strong!
For me, the hardest part of the marathon is miles 16-20. It’s that odd place where you’ve run most of the race but you’re not at the end. Mentally, it’s grueling and exhausting. It’s when you see many people stop running or walk off the course entirely. “Why did I sign up for this?” “Maybe I should’ve set goals for a shorter race.” For me, this is the stretch where I start to make bargains with myself that I KNOW I will likely break later. “Gut through this and it’ll be the last marathon.” “For real this time!” In this stretch, it’s easy to rationalize giving up. Yet the reality is, if you just keep moving forward, you WILL FINISH!
How does this relate to the business world? Most companies are setting their next year’s budget in September so everyone is looking past Q4 and onto the next year. There is nothing wrong with that but for those people who took their eyes off their goals through summer….when they look at them again in September they realize….YIKES! If the results aren’t measuring up they throw in the towel and skip to the new year, creatively documenting why the goals were not attainable.
You cannot manufacture time. Why squander 3 whole months? What if, instead of trashing the goals that you set, you simply took a moment to Reflect and Reset. I’ve completed 9 full marathons. I learned over time that if I embraced those 16-20 miles as an opportunity to reset mentally, I could set myself up for a strong 21-26.2 miles. I took the lessons that I documented in my book (see image) and cultivated a “Never Quit, Finish Strong” mindset that I applied in every race thereafter. The same holds true for your business and personal goals. Regardless of the YTD results, don’t give up! Resist the temptation to rationalize why your performance didn’t land where you wanted and why it makes sense to “cut your losses.” Don’t end the race early. Believe in yourself!
Take advantage of September as your time to refuel and reset for a strong finish! Simply stated, let go of what “was” and embrace your here-and-now.
Tips to Finish Strong
|Release the past. You cannot change it. Regret is like an anchor that weighs you down. Forgive yourself and/or others. Own your thoughts, feelings and actions. It’s difficult to be truly present in the moment if you are being dragged down by the weight of your past.
|Reflect for growth. Once you acknowledge and recognize that you cannot change the past, resist the temptation to judge yourself or others. Instead, focus on learning, growth and improvement as the goals of reflection.
|Reset and Refuel. Now that you are fully present and engaged in the here-and-now, think about what finishing the year strong looks like. Visualize it. How will you feel when you give it your best shot? In what way can you give yourself space to refuel? Maybe it’s setting what I call “mile marker” goals that you can focus on to the end of the year. Maybe it’s using your drive to/from work to listen to your favorite motivational speaker or preacher. Or maybe it’s getting back to the basics of your WHY.
When you release the baggage of the past, embrace the moment and lean hard into the philosophy that life is a story that you control and write as you go, you give yourself the power of fearlessness. You no longer rationalize outcomes, you give your full, best self into everything you do because it’s about amplifying growth which begets joyfulness and success. Remember, it’s YOUR life, YOUR story!
Just Me and Chiefs Legend, Christian Okoye
Want to be inspired? Listen to the “Nigerian Nightmare” speak! It’s hard to believe that this man terrified his opponents on the football field because he is so genuinely caring and giving! But underneath that heart of gratitude and community service is a fundamental work-hard ethic that fueled him to the success that he continues to achieve today.
I was fortunate to be invited by my new corporate client, Custom Truck One Source to their table at the Annual Goodwill Power of Work awards breakfast, where Christian spoke and recognized companies and individuals who are exceling and inspiring everyone around them.
The lesson here is help others grow and you in turn will grow. Want to elevate your performance? Seek out opportunities to work with and build relationships with inspirational, high performing people who will stretch you and partner with you. Lift someone up and you’ll be surprised by how much that action lifts you up as well.
Most of all, be fearless. Don’t wait for people to come to you. Take the initiative to introduce yourself and start the conversation. You just might find yourself talking football with a legend!
Along with personal development, the BEST leaders prioritize taking care of themselves. There is no company that will reward you for destroying your health, your relationships with others, or your mental health because you made work your only focus. In order to effectively lead others you must effectively lead yourself. Fundamentally, that’s paying attention to: Mind, Body, and Spirit.
Mind. Practice being mindful and set your intentions every morning. I recommend starting with gratitude and ending the day with gratitude! Seek to learn something new every day. Strive to exercise your intellect. Be thoughtful in word and deed.
Body. You only have one, take care of it! You wouldn’t put bad gas in your car so don’t put bad food in your body. Make fitness a priority (cardio, strength, mobility). Be sure to get enough sleep and hydrate (half your body weight in ounces of water).
Spirit. Practice your faith. For me, that’s not only reading scripture but also leaning into God’s embrace every day. Slow down enough to be able to see when the Lord is clearing a path for you; be quiet enough to hear when He is directing you; be humble enough to obey His promptings.
Easier said than done? Maybe so, if you try to take it on alone. The fact is that we are meant to be in community. Find a “power partner,” someone who will not judge you, someone you trust, someone that will stretch you with caring honesty. It’s time to reset and prioritize yourself! If you aren’t comfortable teaming up with a friend, you can always team up with me, professionally!
Great Leadership is a Growth Multiplier