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!
You know how when someone nearby yawns, you usually end up yawning as well? This unconscious tendency is called “contagious yawning.” Sometimes, a similar phenomenon occurs in the realm of ideas.
As serendipity would have it, on the same day last week two of my favorite bloggers – Stephanie Pollock and Chris Brogan – wrote about something you and I work toward almost every day: Success. While reading their posts, I immediately drew a correlation between financial success and their message of business success. But what also came to mind is something I believe we rarely consider: The price we pay when we chase someone else’s indicators of success.
You may say, “I don’t do that!”
Actually, you do. You pay a price when you occasionally look for success in all the wrong places. This happens each time you compare your success (financial or otherwise) to another person or business. Whenever you and I travel down the rabbit-hole of comparison, it is usually a straight line to disappointment and dissatisfaction. And, it is proof we have lost sight of our own definition of success, what it means to us, and why what we are aiming for is important. Further, it is evidence that we are valuing another person’s story above our own.
Aside from the act of comparing being a never-winning battle (with you on the losing end), the other problem with pegging your success to another person’s (or business) is that what you “see” – aka their results – is just one part of their story. Plus, when you are in comparison mode you tend to supplant your version of success for someone else’s. In other words, your locus is more externally focused than internally driven.
That said, we all fall prey to the comparison trap from time-to-time. I must admit while reading Stephanie’s and Chris’ piece, I felt a bit convicted because recently I was doing precisely what they warn against and what I counsel my clients not to do.
It is perfectly okay to reference what others do and how for ideas to experiment with, but it is never (ever!) healthy to compare.
So, the next time you realize you’ve traveled down the comparison rabbit-hole, here are three choices you can make to recalibrate and look for success in the right place:
- Acknowledge what you are doing!
This may sound obvious, but you can’t self-correct if you don’t admit you’re going in a direction that won’t serve you.
- Celebrate progress.
The comparison bug typically kicks in when you aren’t making the progress you want, at the pace you desire. That’s when looking at someone else’s success shifts from being a point of reference for you and celebration of them; that’s when you are tempted to believe they know a “secret” to which you aren’t privy. The best antidote to this is a walk down memory lane with one goal — to measure how far you’ve come rather than how far you have to go.
- Go within to reconnect with your “why” factor.
In his leadership book, Start With Why, Simon Sinek deposits that great leaders are great because they begin with the why that lurks behind the work they do. I submit the same is true when it comes to money.
I am in the camp that believes success, like everything in life that is of significance, is an inside-out job. That means you have to get to know your story; so when it comes to money you must be willing to explore your money story. Unfortunately, few people know theirs beyond a superficial awareness; therefore, they can’t truly appreciate what they have, what they do with what they have and why. And, they don’t have a clue how much what they don’t know about their story is costing them.
Any number of things can trigger the comparison trap (e.g., a lost client/job; an unmet personal or professional goal; or simply a “bad” day), but making one or all of the above choices can help you shift your perception so that you don’t linger in that moment of looking for your success in someone else’s accomplishments.
p.s. if you’re curious about the dynamics of your money story and are committed to creating financial success on your own terms, then check out my latest group coaching program – What’s Your Money Story? This six-week program is designed for people ready to learn how separating fact from fiction can increase their wealth. We start June 20th – will you join us? Click here to join the sneak-peak list.
Photo Credit: Flickr, A. Jurina
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…)
Last week, I attended an event sponsored by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. It was part of the firm’s “Open Talk” series and featured Harold Ford, Jr. interviewing Russell Simmons. As I described to a friend soon after, it was a no-hold bars conversation; Russell’s transparency and candor were refreshing, funny, and for some in the audience of approximately 400, I would suspect, shocking.
I am on Marie Forleo’s “Rich, Hot, and Happy” mailing list. This week’s video message about one of her non-negotiables ironically (?) contained the same message as is in Russell’s book, “Super Rich” – which I’ve been reading since the event.
What do Russell Simmons and Marie Forleo have in common? (Continue Reading…)
In 2008, like millions of other people, two of my dear friends, whom we’ll call Tracey and Mitch, were unemployed. Two years ago, they each took jobs that at the time seemed “off-course” – that seemed like the proverbial “two steps back.” Tracey stayed within her area of discipline, but changed industries. The result: a relocation and $100,000 drop in salary. Mitch stayed within his industry, but changed his area of focus. The result: he could now work from home, but he gave up a six-figure salary.
Tracey and Mitch took their respective jobs, in 2009, because they needed a job. I don’t believe they viewed the job they assumed back then – at the height of our economic crisis – as their “dream” job. Nonetheless, they stepped into their new jobs and did what they are known to do: They, as usual, worked hard; they were politically strategic; they were focused, disciplined, and determined; they managed using the 360 degree paradigm. These plus a plethora of other factors, like being humble, committed, and flexible, having the “right” ambassadors, and keeping their eye on the prize, to name a few, led to the wonderful news they shared with me last week.
Mitch got a promotion and is now a regional director responsible for a large sales force. And, he is back to earning a six-figure salary. Tracey was promoted to executive vice president by her organization’s president and chief executive officer. She is now managing a team of nearly 3,000 and got a $100,000 raise (yes, you read that correctly!). (Continue reading…)
I love birthdays. I view them in much the same way as most people look upon New Year’s Eve; it’s a time to celebrate the year that was and the one to come. I recently celebrated a birthday myself (woohoo!), and my friend and fellow Careerpreneur expert, Malla Haridat, sent me a lovely birthday greeting. Her note contained many well wishes, including one that really captured my attention.
I cannot tell you how many times, since 28 November, I have pondered the portion of her note that read, “…all…the resources you can handle…” I immediately honed in on the word – handle – and wondered about the relationship between capacity and what we have. Said differently, is what you and I have in any given moment a reflection of what we can handle in that moment? Read more…