In little more than a few hours we’ll turn the calendar on another year. We look back on the year past with a little sadness at its passing and a little more gladness that it’s over. As we launch into a new year, we are forced by calendars and convention to turn the page, as it were, leave what was, and face what will be.
Having done this very thing for a good many decades, there is one lesson that stands out. It that we must leave what was behind if we are ever to partake of what is ahead. There are three cardinal rules that govern my actions. I have written of them before but it has been quite some time ago so they bear highlighting once more. They are:
- Build your life only on islands of health and strength. The “health and strength” part applies personally and corporately. Personally it means that by now you should know what you are good at and accept what you are not so good at. Although the opportunities may be many, the options need to be limited. Don’t even consider spending much time on projects or tasks that demand that you leave or neglect what you are good at to pursue things for which you are not well-equipped. Saying no in this case is as imperative as saying yes. The same applies to recruiting and delegating to others. Unless you do run a rehabilitation clinic, your job is to develop capable people not to spend hours in therapy trying to fix broken ones. I know it may sound callous, but time is passing and a new year highlights that more than just about anything else. Focus on producers and producing.
- Work only on things that will make a great deal of difference when you succeed. There just isn’t time to waste on the pursuit of the trivial and insignificant. Life offers lots of choices. Learn to evaluate them and select only pursuits that will result in significant changes. Some nice things do not promise enough reward. With limited time and energy, make you minutes and days count.
- Work only with those who are receptive to what you are trying to do. Your powers of persuasion and enthusiasm for your job will inspire and motivate many, but some are just not going to go along. Do not even try to convince someone against their will. I simply refuse to fight with someone. If I cannot persuade them, then there are those who are receptive. Oddly, the person you replaced will likely be the least receptive to you, even if s/he picked you as their successor. Your job is to move on which implies leaving what lies behind. The pace of your work is NOT determined by the most reluctant and resistant member. Find those who will buy in to your vision and take ownership of its many components.
If you were to measure 2014 by those three items, how did you do? What will you do differently for 2015? Got it figured out? Okay, do it.