The signs of Spring are in full effect!
The air is chilly, but not cold. The dreary color of winter is being replaced by the vibrancy of cherry blossoms (at least here on the East Coast, anyway). You need to carry an umbrella and galoshes just in case, because you never know when a quick and brief rain shower will interrupt an otherwise sunny day.
And this year, three of the world’s major religions are in their season of renewal at the same time on the calendar: Ramadan, Passover, and Easter.
Nature and religion are providing a visual and experiential reminder to pause, take stock, and prepare for what’s ahead.
So, on this Palm Sunday and as you head into a new week, here’s a question for you to ponder:
Yes, one could say any time of the year is perfect for asking such a question.
But I think doing so as the seasons are changing is a useful habit to cultivate.
Another perfect time? When you are not in a state of crisis.
When things in your life and business are in a state of calm, you tend to be in a clearer state of mind. As a result, you’ll (understandably so) get very different answers to the question – “what needs renewing?” – then you would if you are in a state of angst.
I gather you might deem this a bit of a stretch, however, I liken this difference to when you’re working “on” your life and business vs. working “in” your life and business.
From my experience and observation, the practice of being strategic happens when you’re in a state of working “on.”
Unfortunately, that “more time” never actually materializes. And you find yourself in a continuous loop of only being operational, tactical, and reactionary.
You can’t wait for more time, you have to take the time.
So, with that in mind, here are a few questions that may help you as you endeavor to answer the leadoff question of “what needs renewing?”
- What was your focus for the first quarter?
- How did you do on your goals?
- Name at least three things you are most proud of?
- Name three things that most challenged you?
- What worked well? What contributed to this?
- What didn’t work well? What contributed to this?
- Where did you get in your own way? What resources, tools, or people could have helped you avoid this?
- How did you get out of your own way? What resources, tools, or people helped you?
- Name three lessons you learned from the first quarter?
- What about your current goals need to change; what new goals do you now have?
After answering the above, what clues are emerging that will help you with answering the question: “What needs renewing in your life and/or business?
Taking the time to answer this question (or a variation you might create) is a way of pausing, taking stock, and putting yourself in a better position to prepare for what’s on the horizon.
If you’re curious, I have a weekly review and recap process. And once a month, I take a full day to focus “on” my business. These practices help me to lift my head up from the day-to-day frenzy of being operational and tactical. They help me tap into insights and ideas I might not otherwise; they help me renew before a crisis. And if I’m in the midst of managing a crisis, they help me navigate through it with more ease.
I derive additional benefits from these practices, too. Such as, they:
- Give me additional psychic space
- Enhance my creativity and resourcefulness
- Challenge me to pay better attention to how I manage my time and energy
- Help me with saying “no” – guilt-free
Strategy and strategic thinking are essential for leadership, success, and sustainability – with money, business, and life.
And as it turns out, taking the time to be strategic (not look for a window of time that will be convenient) requires discipline.
Hence, this springtime reminder…take the time!