Wouldn’t it be great if you woke every day fueled by the difference you were making, personal growth, and the work ahead.
The reality is that no matter how right a business, a career, or an initiative, some days are fun and fulfilling, and others not so much. So, instead of dreaming about what life would feel like on a constant high, assessing where you are on the path towards meaningful growth, and what you can do to increase the odds, offers a solid investment of time in your future happiness.
Four Steps to Meaningful Growth
If you look at what it takes to go from new idea to resounding success, the process almost always involves an initial spark, an intense period of planning, execution, then ultimately a process of continuous improvement. Anyone familiar with building a business will tell you that success doesn’t often come straight out of the box.
Since you are ready for more inspired and meaningful growth (or you wouldn’t be reading this article), it is important to determine what phase of growth you are in, and what actions can make a difference right now.
Step One – Inspiration/Vision
The first step in any new initiative, venture or job search requires the drive to effect change. If you think about the times you have been motivated to take on the status quo, it likely came at a time your values were being challenged (in a positive or negative way) and you were inspired to work towards an exciting new vision with an important outcome.
What is so interesting, is that people are inspired in different ways and by radically different things. Some people are visual and are motivated by what they read, see, and discover. Others are inspired by a speaker, an introduction to someone interesting, or by a leader who enables them to see a new perspective or possibility. We may be motivated (or not) by making money, supporting the growth of others, our environment, the ability to create, power or politics, learning and personal growth, or a variety of other things.
To thrive requires understanding what makes you come alive. The challenge is to find ways to make sure that more of what motivates you crosses your path on a regular basis, especially when you are feeling stuck!
There are always challenges no matter what you choose to pursue, so investing the energy to discover and work towards outcomes that really drive you is a prerequisite to meaningful growth. And if you are trying to inspire a team, effective leaders know that the Secret to Engaging Teams involves understanding the uniqueness of each team member and finding ways to leverage their interests and passions within the framework of their goals.
Step Two- Focus/Strategic Planning
Strategic planning requires zooming out on your ideas in order to gain a big picture view, and zooming in to understand the nuances. A variety of perspectives and real data analysis will enable you to determine what is most important (for you, the market and the business). Taking the time to create a comprehensive strategic plan will help you frame out the activities most critical to getting from here to there,and build consensus and ownership if a team is involved.
The strategies that come from a well thought out plan make it easier to determine how to invest limited time and resources on the right things; an important discipline for meaningful growth.
Step Three- Action and Sticking With the Plan
“Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes”
Moving forward often requires reaching out of a comfort zone. The good news is that with inspiration and focus, the leap becomes easier. Once you have determined what really matters, it is easy to identify the potential obstacles and challenges that might prevent you from getting there. By identifying possible solutions, and choosing the best ones for every obstacle (most people don’t do this, but it can make a huge difference), you will have created a well thought-out, strong action plan.
Sticking with a plan is more than half the battle to achieving success. Unfortunately the day to day activities aren’t always as exciting as the inspiration. Placing constant reminders of the inspiration, your values and the desired outcome in front of you, can help you work through the hurdles and keep you motivated. There are many ways to refuel the original fire that are fun, inspirational, and important to driving momentum.
Step Four- Reflect, Build and Move Forward
When things are going well it is easier to think about what next. But when things don’t go as anticipated or deliver the results you were expecting, while extremely disappointing, it is not the time to give up! Seeking input from everyone involved enables you to adjust and improve the outcomes. Reflecting on the feedback and honing the plan can make the difference between success and a failed initiative. Remind yourself and your team of what’s important and the difference you are trying to make.
Where are you right now?
Think back to when you were last ‘in the zone’ and thriving. What was driving you?
When you are inspired it is more likely that you will dream big, plan, act and adjust your course to achieve your goals.
- Think about what motivates you. Have you put inspiration on your path lately? Sometime it can be as simple as finding the right retreat, seminar or book. Seek out someone to talk to who can remind you of your strengths and values.
- You have a dream, but your not sure the best way of moving forward? Put together a focused strategic plan with written goals, identifying solutions to potential obstacles. If you are too close to think clearly, find someone to help you gain perspective.
- Overcome inertia by reminding yourself of your quest and your plan.
- Build on results, both the good and bad, because that is where there will be the most meaningful growth.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ”
Author: Helene Mazur
Helene is the founder of Princeton Performance Dynamics, an executive coaching and strategic planning facilitation company for business and non-profit leaders and their teams. Helene’s passion is helping her clients to focus their goals, see new perspectives on their current situation, put in place realistic, motivating plans, and execute to achieve new levels of success.
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