Listen carefully . . . you can still hear the echoes of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” fading into the background as you transit the corridor of time and take these precious first steps into the New ’22.
With memories of another year officially behind us, bubble thoughts instinctively turn to improving year-over-year performance: What steps can I take to dramatically improve my chances for success and prosperity in the coming year?
The excitement builds as we set goals and objectives that can be tracked and measured, strategically aligned with performance-driven objectives amid personal ambitions of prosperity and accomplishment.
You shoot out of the tunnel like an NFL player on Sundays, pumped full of passion and emotion. Eyes shut tight, you lean your head back and offer a primal scream to the heavens, running into the office to engage in another 12 months of intense competition. Yeah!
Then the calendar turns to February, and we’re back to having a second Starbucks before noon, just trying to make it through another day, frustrated that despite all the excitement for the New ’22 . . . nothing’s really changed.
The problem is that we’ve been trained to be SMART . . . when what we should be striving for is happiness.
Everything You Need
There may be elements within your near-range personal development that simply cannot wait: Learning a language for an international assignment; becoming certified in new technology to qualify for a promotion; hearing the doctor say, “Stop smoking, or your next cigarette may be your last.”
All great, timely motivators driving you to pursue change in your world.
But if you’re looking for opportunities to engage in purposeful development, meaningful growth that will continue to inspire improvement over time, you might consider a more refined approach to enhancing skills and abilities already in your catalog.
Think about it . . . even the most well-intentioned personal development efforts measure where you’ll be against where you’ve been, aligning strategic actions to promote smooth and uninterrupted progress along a predetermined path. Developing new skills and abilities is embraced as a process of “making you” happy and successful.
Now, imagine a view of personal development from the inside looking out.
Progress in pursuit of unlimited potential would move beyond the scope of measurement, part of an amazing learning journey with no foreseeable destination. Internal influences external, aligning inherent desire with instinctive ability. Development of this natural acumen is championed within a simplified, universal understanding:
Everything you need, you are today.
The Essence of Vitality
Vitality ranks as one of my most favorite development words. From the Latin vitalitas, it represents the power giving continuance of life; a natural capacity to live, grow, and develop.
It also offers a great perspective from which to begin your Personal Development: We all possess a will to live life to the fullest . . . sometimes we just need to find the right direction and time to do it.
Vital Behaviors are those deemed most necessary to sustaining life. Within a world of performance development these equate to abilities, aspects of personal performance that most directly influence professional results. It’s important to identify these behaviors at the beginning of a personal development process. They offer understanding to what matters most in your position, then act as a growth compass when determining a sequence of activities.
This awareness can pinpoint opportunities that may result in a more holistically energetic you.
Example: Managing Work Execution
This is a competency area commonly evaluated within a leader’s performance. You can’t do everything yourself, and perhaps improvement in this area will boost your overall effectiveness and approach to work and life. But Managing Work Execution is much too broad of a category to build a quality development plan around. So, you filter it down into two sub-competency areas: Delegation and Accountability.
You decide that delegation is more of a comfort zone, but accountability is what keeps you up at night. Good first step.
Both sub-areas involve communication, a cornerstone to effective and influential leadership. A more traditional approach would point you in the direction of holding others accountable for their behavior and performance. Development activities are directed toward becoming more assertive, including reading books with titles like, “The More Assertive You: How to Kick A** and Get Results!”
You were never drawn to read books like this before, and it feels more like desperation than development. Even worse, you don’t see yourself portrayed within the application or techniques. No connection, no influence.
Try changing your perspective: You identified a comfort level with delegation, but is your team comfortable with the way information is being communicated and received? What if you improved techniques that would not only enable your team to perform, but engaged them in the process?
Your development activities would take on a more proactive, rather than reactive character. Then you can read books like “Relay and Relate: How to Engage Your Team for Better Results.”
You visualize elements of yourself portrayed within refined applications and processes. There is a strong, intuitive connection, and a broader scope of influence.
A Refined Approach
Learning is about inspiring growth through change. We garner incredible insight from the environment around us, where growth is sometimes driven by necessity or circumstance (think global pandemic).
Other times, we are afforded the opportunity to slow down, and consider a more subtle and accurate approach. These are the times we focus on inherent aspects of our lives or performance, that if enhanced or improved, will result in a stronger sense of happiness and fulfillment.
It all relates back to a simple and universal understanding: Everything we need, we are today.