My Word for 2019

Finding a word to guide my thoughts for 2019

What began as a simple task of reflecting on the year that is about to be behind us and preparing for the year that is before us is evolving into much more of an integrated exercise of intentionality. This overall process has brought me today to the point of identifying one word that will help me create an overarching sense of purpose for the activities and actions that will form the body of 2019.

And that word is — Mindful.

How did that word come to embody my aspirations for 2019? 

I am a fairly introspective person by nature. When you look at the results from my original Emotional Intelligence profile from TalentSmart, it shows a high level of self-awareness. That component was higher than the self-management score. But that is a topic for another time. As I have reflected back on 2018 and as I look toward 2019, the one thing that keeps creeping into my thought process from every angle is the need to be more “mindful” in all that I do. 

My Process

We must first come to realize that this entire process is one of intentionality. It cannot be done haphazardly nor while flipping through Facebook or LinkedIn on our smartphones. It requires specific times that are carved out of our daily allotment of 24 hours.

Set aside a time of reflection and self-awareness — This part of the process is a solo activity. There will be times for sharing a little later. But, this part is intended to be done alone and in whatever setting creates the greatest sense of peace and quiet focus. For me, it is at my desk at home while listening to soft jazz as a sound backdrop. This not always easy as my house if full and energetic. But, it can be done. And I have done it.

Click here to read the rest of the article »

The Importance of Reflection

Leaders Need a Time of Personal and Professional Reflection

What were you doing at this same time last year? For many of us, it is a family time of year. We are basking in the glow of Christmas. And that glow causes us to have an optimistic outlook for the coming year. Is there any value in looking back with some intentionality before we look forward to the new year? I think so.

Consider the words of the ancient Chinese philosopher, Confucius. He said:

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

Confucius tells us that the highest and best method of becoming wise is by reflection. Do you suppose there are any leadership development implications or inferences that we can draw from his words?

The Problem

Many leaders are “Action Oriented.” We are in constant motion and we move from task to task, crisis to crisis, meeting to meeting and we do it from morning till night. There is zero time in our daily schedule for reflecting. Many leaders have adopted methodologies or routines that call for a time of daily planning. I have such a time scheduled on my calendar for the beginning of every day. That time is a time of planning and of looking forward to the events and activities of the day. The day becomes a week. The weeks become months. And the months become a year and we have spent the entire year planning for what is right in front of us or just over the horizon. But, how much time has been spent in reflecting on the outcomes, successes or failures from all of that planning? Do you see the problem?

The Solution

Let me advocate a moment for a solution.

Click here to read the rest of the article »