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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Six Steps for Starting Smart in 2014

There is an ancient story of a young boy who visited a Zen Master hoping to learn something new. When the boy arrived, he began listing off to the Master all the things he already knew. The Master quietly poured tea into a cup while he listened to the young boy. The Master continued pouring tea into the cup although it was full. The young boy exclaimed, “Master, the cup is overflowing—no more tea can be poured into the cup.”

“Ah, you understand, my boy,” said the Master. He then explained that we must make room for something new—often letting go of the old to do so.

An article on leadership in Fast Company reminded us that one of the reasons change is so difficult for us is that we must first break old habits. Letting go of old ways of thinking can be a challenge. New goals are often driven by the desire for new and different outcomes. Approach 2014 differently and examine goals and accomplishments by using these six steps.

Six Steps for a Smart Start

  1. Set a new vision for success. But make it an appealing visualization of what it would feel like to achieve your goal. I call this a visceral vision because it magnetically draws you toward a possibility you want with every fiber of your being.
  2. Stretch yourself toward new possibilities. Ask yourself what you want more of in your work and life. What is missing that, if it were present, would give you a sense of greater accomplishment and fulfillment?
  3. Try something new. When we do the same old things the same old way, we get the same old results. Food for thought: start work a half hour earlier or stay later one night a week. Have a lunch every other week with a person in your network with no specific agenda.
  4. Use your network or Partners in Power to guide you toward your goals. In my book The Promise of Potential I describe Partners in Power—the coaches, mentors and individual support network that challenge you, guide you and offer you valuable feedback to sustain your motivation as you work hard to achieve your potential.
  5.  Invest in a journal or a daily planner to record your plans, actions, ideas, dreams and achievements. Keep a daily To Do list, and transform it into a Ta Da (It’s Done!) list.
  6. Celebrate your accomplishments. Validate your progress and remember to glance back (see how far you’ve come!) right before you look forward again toward those magnetic new goals.

One way I’m instituting a Smart Start to the New Year is by inviting two other entrepreneurs to join me as my Partners in Power. We’ve formed a “Master Mind” group to help each other stretch toward new possibilities. What are your goals for 2014?

What are you planning to do differently this year? I’d welcome the opportunity to help you craft a Smart Start. Let’s make 2014 a successful year and achieve our potential. Would you like to keep the conversation going? Let's connect!

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