The Process

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-by Matt Leedham

Examining your life and/or career can be an emotional journey, often clouded by insecurities, fear, passion, and ego. What can be challenging to remember is that growth often comes from a process. It’s not good enough to just explore your thoughts, emotions, actions, goals, values, vision, etc. You need to walk through the process of advancement…of forward movement…to make lasting, sustainable change.
So, what is the process?
Well, it’s different for everyone. You may be asking yourself, “if the process is different for everyone, how can it be a process?” Great question!
Everyone is unique and requires a different formula for growth. The ingredients often remain the same, but the recipe is slightly different. As a coach, working with someone on personal or professional growth, we would start with these ingredients:

Be Aware: We will dig deep on your values, your vision, and your purpose. You will take an Energy Leadership Index assessment and explore who you are and where you want to go.

Be Balanced: We will examine how your roles in life are impacted by each other. We will then learn how to apply what we’ve uncovered from your values and vision to achieve more balance in your life.
Go Conquer: With a solid foundation in awareness and balance, we will build targeted action plans to conquer your vision and reach your full potential.
Then there are those that already have a huge goal or project they want to accomplish. Similarly, there is a process for advancement. Again, every process is different, but here are the ingredients:
Sparking: This is the passion you bring to your life, your goals, or a project. Creating and using fire is what separates us from all other sentient beings, and passion, or “spark,” is what separates achievers from non-achievers. In a group context, spark is also creating buy-in, so everyone is passionate about the goal/project.
Revving: Once you have a flame going, you have to keep fanning the flame to increase your energy around the spark. Revving your engines is part of the Energy Leadership Index. You need to maximize your perspective and attitude to opportunities and challenges.
Orbiting: Orbiting is building the track for your goal. If you are not in orbit, you will have difficulty reaching your goal. Orbits (aka, values) keep you focused. Also, orbits have a strong gravitational pull, conserving your power. The more you are out of orbit, the more power you will burn to get to your goal, and the harder success will be.

Forecasting: See the future. Plan with the end in sight. Your forecast (aka, vision) should be as specific as possible, involve all your senses, and be reviewed daily.

Atomic Planning: Atomic Planning has two components. First, you will identify the big, audacious goal. Atomic energy is the most powerful energy in our universe, so GO BIG! Second, you will plan the smallest possible steps. Atomic planning means that you have a huge goal with lots of tiny steps. The more steps, the easier it is to rack up wins. The more wins you rack up, the more likely you are to continue.

Viral Solving: Viruses adapt, adapt, adapt. When you take on a challenge like a virus, you know that there are millions of ways of overcoming the obstacle. Use your resources and networks, uncover assumptions and limited beliefs, and stay creative. A virus wins because a virus is always evolving to beat the odds.

Fireworking: When you’ve achieved your goal, you have to celebrate. Transition rituals are empowering (think bachelorette party, sweet 16, wedding) and provide closure (funerals, retirement parties, going away parties). When you take time to celebrate, you also rev your engines, providing the SPARK for the next big goal.

Following the process and using these steps as you encounter challenges and new opportunities will guide you down the right path for you. Each path is different, as is each process, but in the end, these ingredients yield success!

Get Off The Mountain

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-by Matt Leedham

Every morning I receive an email entitled “A Daily Boost From Your Professional Partner.” A good friend of mine from New Jersey, Anthony Fasano, is an executive and career coach for engineers, and sends out these little 1-2 sentence daily boosts. This morning message was particularly awesome:

“Matt, many people equate chasing their goals to climbing a mountain. If that were the case we would always be climbing mountains. Maybe we need to reframe this though in a way that promotes a more enjoyable career.

Reaching Your Goals Should Be Fun,
-Your Professional Partner

I immediately had this vision in my head of all of my friends, family, colleagues, and clients climbing mountains, constantly trying to reach the summit and achieve their goals (like these crazy mountain goats to the left). I laughed out loud. That would be ridiculous! Unless you’re an avid mountaineer, that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to me, especially if you’re starting at the base of the mountain.

So, let’s take a moment to reframe the thought process here, as Anthony suggests. Instead of looking at goals as simply an end result (i.e. victory, accomplishment, satisfaction, pride, etc.), let’s appreciate the entire goal setting (and goal getting) process.

If it will take you 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months to achieve a particular goal, viewing the entire process as a personal growth experience validates the whole time it takes to achieve (or not achieve) the goal. In other words, even if you fall just a little short of your goal, or even if you downright fail, you still take with you the experience you had along the way.

Your journey will become more enjoyable, as every day and every challenge, and every method you use, is helping you grow and become better. You won’t be forced to define yourself by the goals you achieve, but rather by how well you navigate the process.

Enjoy the ride!

PS…Nearing the end of the process of a stretch goal and looking back can often feel like you’ve just climbed a mountain. I should note that the visual image of reaching the Summit is a positive way to celebrate success after achieving a big goal.

Bonus Reading: Scott Young wrote an interesting post about setting goals for process vs. setting goals for desire. It’s a different spin on things, but you might enjoy the message.