Conversations at this time of year often turn to reflections on the past year; and, in the case of this particular year, life before the pandemic. Looking back at your goals and dreams at the beginning of the year, are you where you thought you would be? In leadership? In life? Maybe you want to become a better boss, maybe it’s something simple like being a better neighbor.
An even deeper reflection, if you remember back to the beginning of 2010…
- Where did you imagine you would be at the end of the decade?
- What hopes and dreams did you have?
- Which ones got fulfilled?
- Which ones didn’t?
Many amazing leadership gurus and writers talk about concepts like “just get started” or “start small” or “write down your goals” or “just improve by 1% per day”.
These are simple concepts. Many people who heed them will tell you they work. Then, why are these simple concepts so difficult to put into practice?
Thoughts Into Action
In a recent coaching session with a senior executive, we got talking about the things he has achieved over the past year. In his work life he has certainly seen the results of following those simple concepts. He wrote down his goals, he read them regularly and he consciously focused on how he wanted to show up as a leader. Making small changes daily/weekly/monthly brought him from where he started to where he is today. When the conversation turned to unfulfilled goals, he identified some personal goals he has yet to achieve. What happened with these goals? After much discussion he came up with two possibilities. “Maybe I just didn’t want it as much,” he said. After another bit of silence, he added, “Maybe I was afraid of trying and failing, or perhaps even afraid of going for it and succeeding!”
As you reflect…Is fear holding you back from going for it?
- Think about the past year, did you achieve what you wanted to achieve in both your work and personal life?
- Celebrate the things you achieved and the effort you put in to achieve those things.
- For the goals you didn’t achieve, ask yourself, “What stopped me from achieving those goals?”, “What got in my way?”, “How might fear have played a role?”
- Write down those things you did not achieve and ask yourself, “Do I really want those things enough to put them on my 2022 goals list?” And if the answer is ‘yes’, “What is the fear I need to acknowledge to succeed at those things in the coming year?”
Fear is a good emotion. There are times when feeling the fear and heeding it is extremely important for our physical or psychological safety! Fear can also keep us from living the life we say we want to live. If you find yourself holding back on going for some goals because of fear perhaps just sit with it and ask yourself a few questions: What’s the fear? Is it a fear of trying and failing? Is it a fear that you will achieve it and then realize you don’t want it after all? Is it a fear of success?
We’d love to hear what you come up with and what big things end up on your 2022 list!