Take Stock of Your Progress
Until something drastic happens in their lives, some individuals rarely take time to take stock of their personal progress. This activity is often left for milestone moments, celebration events like birthdays or religious holidays. Whilst any engagement in self-evaluation is generally beneficial, higher rewards and quality outcomes can be realised when we are deliberate in our approach to self-introspection.
In strategic thinking we ought to constantly remember that time is the limited resource that we need to manage wisely for the maximised achievement of our overall life goals. Until we take time to stop, stand back and consider our personal progress, being constantly in motion can cause us to live our lives by accident. The gift of life that every individual has is the greatest resource which has been availed to them. In strategic planning It is therefore important to nourish and replenish healthy emotional bank accounts as critical resources that are foundational. In pursuit of lives that go beyond survival and general success, the call to significance and trans-generational wealth creation requires us to constantly review and evaluate our personal progress.
How will your eulogy read?
One of the most effective ways to stimulate self-evaluation is through writing your own eulogy. A eulogy is a well-crafted speech intended to commemorate a loved one who has died. Whilst the thought of mortality or our own death is a dimension that many of us are not comfortable in broaching, the power of the eulogy can help us to come to contact with the deeper core of ourselves and allow us to critically intensify our self-examination. As we take stock of our life in the context of time as a diminishing resource we become actively aware that we do not have forever to accomplish our goals. The eulogy-writing approach to self-evaluation becomes more than a performance review or a list of our good traits and accomplishments but even more a candid examination of who we really are. As we write about ourselves we can begin to review those things about us that we like as well as those things that we are not too proud of. In this assessment we can also think of those things we wish were different and the relationships that are important to us. In our self-introspection we can honestly ask ourselves whether there is a sense of direction in our lives and measure this against the set goals in the various areas of our lives. The exercise with the eulogy is not designed to beat ourselves up or become judgmental but rather to enable us to gain clarity as we are ultimately all “work in progress.”
So where do we start?
We can start by documenting a summary of our personal history and some of our life issues. As we move from the history to our current state of affairs it is important that we make an assessment of what is working in our lives and highlight any areas of dissatisfaction or “deathbed regrets.” Ask yourself if you are doing something every day that matters to you and whether you are finding fulfillment in the work you are doing. Probe within yourself and see if you are using your talents in ways that enrich your time or if you are just surviving and merely sustaining life.
What motivates you?
We must examine the things that things that motivate us to pursue our goals. We should be able to clearly articulate this in the vision, mission, strategy, goals and budget of our strategic life plan. It is against this backdrop that we must establish what really defines us. Is it our possessions or our pursuits that bring definition to our lives? Pursuit by definition is a process of following and trying to catch or capture (something or someone) for usually a long distance or time. It is only when we can identify our true motivation and ambition that we can be fulfilled in our long term pursuits. Are we pursuing the goals we have set for ourselves because of competitive reasons? Are we using benchmarks that have been set by others before us and are those individuals the true measure our success? Is it a haunting past that we are fleeing? Or perhaps could it be a determined effort to just prove a point to someone or a group of people? In the final analysis I believe that success should only be defined by beginning strong and ending strong in one’s appropriate pursuits. As we pursue our long term goals beyond the thinking of our present generation, it is excellence alone that should be our only competitor.
Can we define what motivates our desire to achieve? We must consider the reality that what we desire most influences nearly everything about us. Our desires influence how we spend our money, our time and our energy. This is what provides motivation for our day and dominates our thinking. The same influence defines our view of success. It is our direction that determines our destination. Whose direction are you taking? Is it someone else’s direction? Where did you derive your goals from? Could your goal have been ingrained within you since your childhood? Is the goal you are a pursuing your parent’s, your spouse’s, your boss’, your children’s or is it YOURS?
So, by all means possible, we must choose our pursuits wisely. Can our pursuits be measured against meaningful purpose, significance, and contribution? As we think strategically beyond 2018 we must remember that fullness of life is not only found in the things we possess because our lives are too valuable to waste chasing mere possessions. We must also constantly remember that time is the limited resource that we need to manage wisely for the maximised achievement of our overall life goals. Until we take time to stop, stand back and consider why we are after what we are pursuing, being constantly in motion can cause us to live our lives outside of the context of our true purpose, ambition and definition.