Start by categorizing your values into three life domains: yourself, your work, and your relationships. Then use these values as guides for determining where to place your attention, what goals you want to accomplish, and how much time you’ll need to dedicate to those goals.
In an interview discussing success in leadership roles, Michael Watkins, professor of leadership and organizational change at IMD, pointed out: “There’s lots you don’t know, and in fact, there may be lots you don’t even know that you don’t know. The time before you actually start […] is a really crucial time when you should focus on preparing yourself.”
Transitions are a momentum game. You really need to be identifying places where you can get some early wins.
“You need to be thinking in terms of the key relationships that you need to build, the alliances you need to create, as you really begin to move forward with those critical early initiatives that are gonna create momentum for you,” Watkins said.
One advantage is problem-solving. On your way to accomplishing your goals, you’ll inevitably encounter problems, and that impediment to your progress risks festering as self-doubt. By bringing others into the problem-solving process, you can avail yourself of much-needed emotional support and potentially an outside perspective that leads to a solution.
For example, a 2018 Harvard business school study found that a group’s collective intelligence outperformed individual problem-solvers at solving traveling salesman problems. While individuals created a wide range of possible solutions, the quality of those solutions varied wildly in quality. Conversely, intermittent collaborators tackled the more complex problems more effectively and creatively.
As actor Nick Offerman noted in an interview: “I often espouse a general philosophy in my life of pursuing a discipline of one sort or another […] But it’s not to ever approach any level of perfection.” Offerman said. “Instead, what keeps us living and what keeps me vitally engaged is a constant pursuit of betterment.”
In an interview, Amy Herman, founder of the Art of Perception, explained how this approach helped her succeed in overcoming cancer in 2014. When she first received her diagnosis, she was overwhelmed by the challenges and emotionally fraught road ahead of her. The sessions of chemotherapy, the surgeries, the diet, the side effects, it was all too much.
Another approach is to take your large goals, break them into bite-sized steps, and tackle them one at a time. Because smaller steps are both more feasible and less intimidating, you’ll be more likely to start and accomplish them. That in turn builds confidence in your ability to succeed, and each accomplishment becomes a milestone you can use to propel yourself further still.
What keeps us living and what keeps me vitally engaged is a constant pursuit of betterment.
While we may intellectually understand that any success has failures built into the foundation, we’re also constantly bombarded with the triumphs of others on TV, in newsletters, and through our social media feeds. And by the time those reach us, their failures are well into the background while our own are anywhere but.
“Chatter consists of the cyclical negative thoughts and emotions that turn our singular capacity for introspection into a curse rather than a blessing,” Kross writes. “It puts our performance, decision-making, relationships, happiness, and health in jeopardy.”
Kross has what he calls the “chatter toolkit.” This collection of behaviors and practices help you escape the echo chamber of your mind to “adopt a broader, calmer, and more objective perspective.” One such practice is distanced self-talk — that is, talking to yourself with the same compassion and distance that you would a good friend. Another is creating a ritual that gives you a sense of control over the present moment.
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