In less than two weeks, the clock will strike midnight ushering in a New Year – a transformation that is typically accompanied by revelry and proclamations of resolutions and big, bold, goals.
As I was thinking about the New Year, I thought of a hedgehog. Weird, right? However these spiny mammals can actually teach you and me a thing or two about how to prepare for success.
Hedgehogs are known for their peculiar approach to foraging. They are also known for how they protect themselves when threatened: they roll into a tight ball. Setting aside the motive for why they do it, in an odd way, it is this practice of rolling into a tight ball — of going inside — that can help you when it comes to something that I believe is critical for sustainable success: having clarity.
- Are you clear about what you want?
- Are you clear about what you want to be different next year?
- Are you clear about what you want to change; how about what you want to stay the same?
- Are you clear about the deepest desires of your heart?
- How do you define clarity?
- What do you stand for; what are you willing to do (or what won’t you do) to make whatever you stand for happen?
- What do you value?
- What are your priorities?
- What are your goals?
- Do you feel so stuck that clarity seems like a luxury, rather than an absolute necessity?
Clarity…the new sexy?
I ask these questions because these (or variations thereof) are questions I’ve been pondering as I get ready to kick start 2013. And I have to tell you, as I’ve undergone the process of answering them, I’ve come to a conclusion about clarity: it’s the new sexy!
With clarity comes an indescribable level of confidence and enthusiasm. However…
Gaining and having clarity doesn’t happen passively. It doesn’t happen overnight. Nor does “having” it mean you have absolutely everything figured out.
The process of gaining and having clarity requires a LOT of internal exploration and questioning and specificity and choosing. For this, you have to go inside (roll into a tight ball) to quiet the outside noise. But oh, the benefits…
- feeling focused and “right-directed”
- feeling centered and light and on mission (kind of like a ship’s rudder)
- feeling less concerned about outside approval
- being productive and managing your choices and time, strategically
- questioning, not due to lack of confidence or direction, but from a space of inquiry and a deep desire to ask even more meaningful questions
- lacking the need to compare (reference, perhaps), but not compare
- and more…
It’s my opinion that clarity is the under-rated secret to your (and my) success.
Are you charged up and raring to greet the New Year?! I know I am; I am giddy for 2013 :).
The transformation from one year to the next is exciting. And the mystery, enthusiasm, and anticipation of what’s to come can be quite exhilarating. But if, in about four to six weeks, you don’t want many of the resolutions and big, bold goals you’ve declared for 2013 to fall by the wayside, be like a hedgehog, roll inside, and use that space to get clear.
p.s. hey, why not scroll back to the top and leave a comment…I’d love to know what “lessons from a hedgehog” helped you get clear on.
p.p.s. One of my favorite business books is “Good to Great” by acclaimed researcher Jim Collins. In my opinion, it should be mandatory reading for every MBA student and every business owner. Actually, it’s worth a read even if you don’t run a business. True, many of the companies profiled in the book are no longer “great” – some twelve years later. But here’s why I (still) love and highly recommend G2G: it’s a business book about transformation and the principles it espouses to go from good to great can also be applied to social enterprises and to your personal life. And he talks about the Hedgehog Concept!
p.p.p.s. Ready to get unstuck in the New Year? Details coming soon for a free webinar on January 7th!
Any chance you saw the movie, “Sliding Doors,” a fictional British-American film from 1998 starring Gwyneth Paltrow? It uses comedy to spotlight the choices we make and the role of serendipity, and to dull the harsh reality of life’s disappointments. All along planting the seed of the one question that can plague us all at one time or another: How do I know if I am making the right decision?
The scene that gives the movie its title – the sliding doors of London’s Tube – for some odd reason tends to pop to mind whenever I am in a contemplative mood, thinking about a serious decision that needs to be made. At the conclusion of the movie, it becomes apparent both visually and metaphorically that the closing tube doors are akin to the difference between the past and the present. Likewise, you see onscreen what you and I live out each day for decisions large and small — one choice can lead to a set of consequences that typically are quite different than if you had chosen an alternative.
“Sliding Doors” is sort of a movie within a movie showing two parallel story lines: one depicts Gwyneth’s character’s life if she catches the train and the other if she misses the train. “Debbie-downer” warning: In the movie, both story lines unfortunately have a tragic ending. And as much as I find both endings sad that isn’t what I find most intriguing about the movie’s subtle message about the choices we make, whether proactively or reactively.
Usually, when you and I talk about our decisions, we focus first on the outcome; rating it on a scale from poor-good-great-excellent. Investing the time to dissect our decision-making process typically only happens when the result isn’t what we wanted. Lately, this tendency has me…
…mesmerized by the moment before a decision is made.
You know, that almost imperceptible, pregnant pause before you say “yes,” “maybe” or “no” – literally or by way of your next action. It makes me wonder how might the quality of our choices change if you and I paid more conscious attention to this moment.
When you are in a reflective mood thinking about the decisions you make, what do you tend to focus on: the decision itself; the result of your decision; or the process that led to your decision? If we agree to view the decision as the moment, do you ever think about the moment before the moment? If so, has that short pause ever caused you to change your mind at the “last minute”? Leave a comment and let me know!
P.S. On Monday, April 16th, we are kicking off our free Monthly Q&A Call. Have you registered??? We’ll address common, as well as not so common, questions about everything that affects your money and how money affects everything in your life. I am really excited about this new initiative, and I can’t wait to hear your questions! Click here to get on the call list and to get the dial-in details.
After more than a year of planning, it happened…the Financial Intimacy Conference launched this past week in New York City! It was a tremendous success and more satisfying than I could have imagined. Three days later, I remain delirious with excitement — and from exhaustion! In forthcoming posts, I’ll share some of the surprising lessons I learned from producing and curating a project of this scale, such as the “vision within the vision” and related to that “the difference between impact and vision.”
But there’s one lesson I am just itching to share right now: My deepening awareness that what contributes most to one’s success and satisfaction is invisible to others.
Manisha Thakor, one of the speakers on the 2011-2012 Financial Intimacy Conference tour, reminded me of this via an analogy she shared regarding a tree. She described the role of the tree’s trunk, leaves, and roots as it relates to our relationship with money and how we are undergoing a shift from focusing on the trunks and leaves (what you can see) to the roots (what you cannot). Her story further reminded me of a book I’ve re-read several times by Joel Goldsmith, “Invisible Supply.” (Continued Reading…)