So just how successful were you last week with Part 1 – How proactive were you on your one issue and was it comfortable or successful for you? It’s important that you adopt the easy habits before they become more challenging so please let me know how it went. Habits are created through repetition, so do it, as often as you can!
This week, we focus on
” Habit 2 – Begin with the end in mind”
This means using an image or paradigm of where you want to ultimately be as a frame of reference by which you examine everything you do in the meantime. For example: let’s use an Olympic athlete as a reference point here, as the huge success of London 2012 is still fresh in everyone’s minds.
There is plenty of research around which illustrates that Olympic athletes (or any world-class athlete or peak performer for that matter) are visualisers. They see their end goal, they feel it, and they experience it in their mind before they actually do it. They begin with the end in sight (in their mind). We have seen 100m sprinters focussing and going through their motions mentally before going into their blocks. Hurdlers are seen to play out going over those hurdles and we see their arms and legs actively going through those motions before they’ve even fired the gun. They lock into the right side of their brain which deals with pictures and relationships, the more intuitive and creative side. They are seeing their end point, they are making their bodies feel their end point in this way. They actively leave their left hand brain (which is logical, dealing with words and specifics) to one side at poignant moments in their training and competitive activities.
There is no reason why we can’t do that for professional success too. We need a professional mission statement (the left hand side of my brains says logical here, the right hand side of my brain says boring!), but its true. To do this, we need to catapult ourselves decades into the future – visualise where we want to be, what kind of relationships we want to be part of and what do we want people saying about us at that point? For example:
- Visualise being at your own funeral! Write an eulogy. What sort of things would you like to be said about you?
- Visualise being at your 50th wedding anniversary, or a grandchild’s wedding or graduation. What kind of family relationships do you have at that time?
- Visualise your retirement day. What do people in your profession have to say about you?
Any of these examples will help you visualise and “begin with the end in sight“.
Personal leadership is not a single experience, so once you have this end in sight, you can’t let it sleep! You have to keep this vision and values alive by aligning your professional activities to it as often as possible. Once the left hand brain kicks in, and you encapsulate your visualisation into your professional mission statement, through words and logic etc, your own personal guiding principles will be your basic signposts from which to set your long-term goals. Your principles do not change and do not react to any outside influence. They are deep, fundamental truths that are consistent, timeless, exacting and emotional to you, and you alone.
Good luck on visualisation. I can heartily recommend it from years of personal experience. I lead with my right hand brain and drag my left hand brain along, sometimes kicking and screaming, but it comes eventually 🙂