From reaction to proaction:
STOP! Before you break another New Year’s Resolution, step away from the guilt and read this blog. You do not have to go on breaking promises to yourself! You can Unlock Your Opportunity in 2015 without all the guilt or a trail of broken resolutions. What you have been missing is a plan of attack and a partner to encourage you and hold you accountable! I decided to write on a theme this year and I thought I would use Unlock Your Opportunity as my blog theme for 2015. Each month I will select a topic that can positively impact your life and in your business and I will write one blog post on how that topic applies to you personally, and then a second post on how that topic might apply to your business. So, join me each month in the journey and together we can will Unlock Your Opportunity in 2015.
To start, take a deep breath, put your guilt-mirror down, and pause… just simply pause for a moment and breathe. Breathe all the way in through your nose and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Go ahead-- I’ll wait. How long has it been since you simply stopped to breathe? Do it again and feel yourself relax a bit. Doesn’t that feel good? Are you ready now? Good, then lets make 2015 a great year together!
The first key to unlocking your opportunity is to look back and review how you got to where you are. Looking back to evaluate what you are doing, how you got here, makes it easier to identify what is working, or not working. Sometimes, we can’t get to where we want to be because we have no idea where we are, or how we ended up here. We react to whatever comes our way and most of the time, it takes us off course…away from whatever plans you had, and possibly away from the opportunity that was waiting for us around the next curve. So, lets look at 4 exercises you could use today to review your current situation.
1) Document your victories and your losses in the past
Spend a few minutes thinking of accomplishments in your past that made you feel successful, energized and proud. Many times I find myself spending time on the things I’ve done wrong or the times that I was not my best. I think about how I can improve and what I might do differently next time. I remember vivid detail the things that went wrong and relive all of the pain and embarrassment! BUT, when something goes really well, I tend to minimize what it took to make it happen, and then I quickly move on to the next challenge. We all need to take just as much time to celebrate the victories as we spend on dissecting and reliving our losses. We need to hum the lyrics from Frozen and just "Let It Go!" Write down a few of your past successes think about what made them a success, and how you felt… and enjoy it.
But then you do need to list a few of the misses too as they have a part to play in any review. What were the times that you didn’t do your best? Is there a particular event or series of events that don’t seem to work out? Sometimes it is helpful to remember the embarrassment, or disappointment to realize, “I don’t want to do that anymore!” Or, “I don’t perform well in those situations.” We can’t be good at everything! Even though I love basketball, I knew was never going to play like Dwayne Wade or Michael Jordan and that realization has saved me a lot of practice time!
2) Evaluate who, when, what, where and why!
As you look back over your life, are the reoccurring instances of people, geographic places, seasons, or circumstances when you were specifically happy or successful, or vice versa? Sometimes people bring out the very best in us, and other times… well, they just don't. Is there a pattern that you see that might allow you to make adjustments so that you have the best chances for success or happiness? I am not a winter person! I have lived in Florida since 1989 and I have not missed shoveling snow once! Others LOVE the snow and enjoy everything about winter. What do you like? Where do YOU want to be? Write it down!
3) Your personal SWOT
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. When you honestly review your personal situation in each these areas, you should be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Some of those we are very aware of, however if you spend some time on this step, you might uncover some hidden strengths or weaknesses that you didn’t recognize before.
Another important part of this step is to look around and see if there are a few good opportunities right in front of you. Many times in the effort to keep up with our hectic schedules, we are so busy accomplishing our daily activities that we miss a great opportunity that is right before our eyes. Additionally, we should always be looking at threats to our happiness that might be avoided. Losing your health, or making unhealthy choices can easily derail your personal or career success. Taking financial risks without a complete review can threaten your financial health and remove potential opportunities from your consideration.
Complete your SWOT analysis and write them down as part of your review process. This will ensure that you think through each area and have a record of your review. You can always add to the list or delete things as you go through the process but it is important to reflect, review, and document your thoughts so you can complete the next step: feedback.
4) Ask for feedback!
Now it is time to take your review and share it with a few people who will give you open and honest feedback. This can be a little uncomfortable at times because discovering that others may see us differently than we see ourselves can come as a shock. Feedback can come from family members, your children, or trusted friends, however to complete any review will require input from others. You don’t have to share everything, or your inner thoughts, but you do need to seek input, and then LISTEN to the feedback. Remember, perception and reality can differ, but learning what others see, feel, and think is a good rule for happiness every day, not just your annual review!
Your personal review doesn’t have to be a long and arduous process. You can do it all in one day, or you can start the process and think about it over a few weeks. The biggest challenge is to get it started and completed by before we discuss our next key to Unlock Your Opportunity in 2015: devising your plan.
Until Next Time…