I hope you enjoy the photo of Reudi Reservoir in Basalt, CO taken recently by my older son Whitton. Each of my articles for this edition focuses on different ways to supercharge the year ahead. I hope you find my thoughts inspiring, relevant and insightful.
One Bold Proposal
I am a firm believer that we are all closer to our dreams, whether in business or in our personal lives, than we could imagine. Many of us have relationships, business contacts, acquaintances and friends who would be more than willing to help us out, whether we ask for assistance, an introduction or a referral. So, as the New Year commences, I request that you think of one person, potential client or contact with whom you would like to become closer. Perhaps they are the ideal client that could dramatically change the scope or size of your business. Maybe they are someone who is a leader within your industry that could become a mentor or at the very least could provide you with sound advice. Perhaps they run the company for which you eventually want to work.
Now, investigate within and see what comes up for you. Fear of rejection? Hesitation? That small voice that whispers “That person would not (take my call, respond to my email?) I challenge you to push fear aside and MAKE THE CALL, SEND THE EMAIL. At moments like these, we have the choice to let fear dictate our lives, to remain motionless with the herd OR to move boldly beyond fear and hesitation and create more interesting and successful futures for ourselves. As the author Katie Byron says “You can have anything you want in life, if you are willing to ask 1,000 people.”
Recently, I followed my own counsel and scripted a bold coaching proposal to a contact that works with an A+++ list billionaire entrepreneur. I drafted and re-drafted my proposal and vetted it with several coaching friends. When I was convinced that I could not make any more improvements to the letter, I enclosed the proposal, a cover letter, and two gift books into a package and took it to the post office. My heart was pounding with excitement as I paid the postage and handed it off to the postal clerk. Although a few weeks have ensued and I have not heard back from the entrepreneur, I am not discouraged. Having created and delivered one proposal, I know the next time I am inspired to repeat this process, it will be easier. And the time after that, it will be even easier. So, what are you waiting for? Go out and make that bold proposal! Better yet, make one each month during the New Year and watch how your life changes!
Never Allow Fear to be an Excuse
In my work with clients, I make many bold challenges and requests. One of the agreements that I have with my clients is to never allow fear to be an excuse for them when considering whether to take on those challenges and requests. There are good reasons that we experience fear. Fear is an important and necessary part of our evolutionary development. Fear is an autonomic response to stressful stimulus, meaning, we do not consciously trigger it or even know what’s going on until it has run its course. As humans evolved and emerged from caves roughly 130,000 to 25,000 years ago, the fear response provided an evolutionary advantage in avoiding untimely death from threats such as the woolly mammoth or the sabre-tooth tiger. Those with an evolved fear response experienced a quickening of the heartbeat and blood-engorged muscles that allowed them to flee or fight off external threats.
Today, fear prevents us from getting hit by a bus or attempting a double black diamond ski slope unless we are able. Unfortunately, in the workplace, fear – of judgment, of failure or even of success – prevents us from taking on new challenges that would stretch our capabilities, our self-perception and allow for greater success. If we choose to give in to fear, we are selling ourselves short. I strongly believe that those who experience the greatest success in their lives and careers have learned to creatively act in spite of fear, when faced with daunting challenges. So, I urge you to do the same. As you look at the year ahead and your looming challenges, consider the words of Eleanor Roosevelt who said “Do one thing every day that scares you!”
As we enter the first weeks of 2014, it is the time that many of choose to set goals for the coming year. In thinking about your professional and personal goals, I challenge you to stretch, think HUGE and set goals that take you out of your comfort zone. Most of us spend too much time in our comfort zones, when most real growth and transformation occurs when we are in the stretch zone. When setting your goals, be sure to frame them as S.M.A.R.T. goals, as outlined below.
Specific. Your goals need to be specific to be achievable. What is it you want to accomplish?
Measurable. Your goals must be measurable and include dates for completion; otherwise, how can you know you’ve accomplished it?
Accountable. In moving toward your goals, make yourself accountable to someone other than yourself. This is one of the roles I provide for my coaching clients.
Resonant. Be sure to set goals that are resonant for you. Ask yourself if your goals are truly serving your highest purpose in the world. As you work toward your goals are you honoring your values?
Thrilling. Your goals must be so thrilling that you can’t wait to get started! The best goals may even be scary to contemplate. Set goals that have you stretch, that will call you forth to new capabilities and power, that pull you forward into a bigger life.
In setting goals, I always ask my clients “How will you celebrate once you have achieved your goal?” Too often, we “A” types just move from one task to another without taking the time to celebrate our successes. So, I urge you to celebrate every time you achieve one of your goals.
Peter Feer, CPCC, ACC