In business and life, we often find ourselves at a crossroads or an intersection, if you will. Imagine you’re sitting in your car, and the light is red. Once it turns green, you can’t just sit there. Throwing it in reverse (or making a U-turn) is not typically a good option, so you are forced to go straight, take a left, or turn right.
You do so with intention, yet not always with certainty about the best way to proceed at any given moment. This situation happens for two reasons: 1) You don’t know exactly where you want to go; and 2) You don’t know where you are, so even if you had clarity about your destination, you wouldn’t know where to start. This simple metaphor describes our state during the most meaningful moments of our life. Let’s break it down further by asking ourselves three questions.
Where do I want to go?
Whether you are a CEO or frontline employee, we all have aspirations. We all have a sense of how we would like our lives to turn out. However, Laura Goodrich, author of Seeing Red Cars, tells us that when you ask most people what they want. They’ll often respond with a list of what they don’t want. Management consultant Robert Fritz explains this phenomenon, stating that most people hold one of two contradictory beliefs that limit their ability to achieve or even articulate what they want – a sense of powerlessness and a feeling of unworthiness. As a result, putting a stake in the ground about what we truly want versus what we don’t want can be more involved than you might think.
The inability to shed one or both limiting beliefs explains why Catipult.AI CEO Peter Fuller says that completing an exercise he provides to CEOs and business leaders called the Outcome Statement can be excruciatingly difficult. Peter once told me that a former Navy Seal whom he asked to write an Outcome Statement said it was the most challenging task he’s even been assigned. Creating an Outcome Statement entails painting a complete and detailed picture of what you want your life to be like in 36 months. It helps you focus on what you genuinely care about and serves as a starting point for reverse engineering what it will take to complete the picture you’ve created.
Where am I today?
You might be thinking that this should be the first question you ask yourself. Why wouldn’t I want to take stock of where I am now before considering where I want to be in three years? By defining where you want to go first, you’re less likely to be hampered by your self-limiting beliefs. That said, be honest about where you are today and what it will take to close the gaps necessary to realizing your aspirations. Think about the fact that most successful people are not that way because they can leap tall buildings in a single bound. According to former Runner’s World editor Joe Henderson, successful runners, and people in general, simply do the things that anyone can do, that most people just don’t. As you assess where you are, consider the people in your life, how they can help you achieve your goals, and how you can help them achieve there’s. Surround yourself with the right people, and they’ll help you do the things anyone can do far more often.
How am I going to get there?
Knowing where you want to go, where you are now, and who can help you get there offers you a starting point to create a plan for yourself. But, in addition to surrounding yourself with the right people and developing a plan, you’ll need help executing it and tracking your progress.
Peter Fuller has advanced his concept of Outcome Statements and peer-to-peer support by creating a powerful piece of technology aimed at helping CEOs and business leaders achieve the outcomes they want for themselves and their organizations. Among other things, this SaaS-based system takes the strategic plan you develop from your Outcome Statement and enables you to track activities, create action item reminders, calculate progress against your goals (using advanced algorithms), and helps with decision-making – even during times of uncertainty and unforeseen circumstances. It also reminds you to celebrate your wins along the way, so that you and everyone else can relish in the journey.
Swing for the Fences
Let me offer the extended version of the famous passage by Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?”
As we begin the second half of the year, it’s time to develop an Outcome Statement for yourself and your company and encourage your employees to do the same. Start by asking and answering:
Where do I want to go?
Where am I today?
How will I get there?
Peernovation occurs when a carefully selected, diverse collection of people with a common purpose and shared values work together to make each other better and create something larger than themselves. Take stock of all your assets (including the people around you), develop a plan, and leverage technology to help you achieve what you want for yourself in business and life, as well as for your company and employees.
As Williamson later added, “Playing small ball does not serve the world.”
Written by Leo Bottary.
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