Have you had a hard time finding your groove as 2018 kicked off? Well, you’re not alone. I am surprised at how many people I’ve talked to spent the first few weeks of the year trying to recover from or continue to work through issues from last year. With spring break season starting (it's this week for many of us here in Texas), take time to catch your breath, reflect on the year so far, and make any necessary tweaks. Use these three simple questions to guide you:
1. How has the first quarter of the year unfolded for you?
For me, 2017 ended with a bang with some life-changing decisions and lots of unexpected new business. I thought this year would kick off with a crazy pace but it has been even keel, allowing me to take time to clear some physical and mental clutter out of my life. It’s amazing how much lighter I feel after taking time to organize my office, purge old paperwork, and finish important tasks that I kept putting off.
2. What's working — and what's not?
Some of you might remember that at the end of last year, I decided to stop tolerating what isn’t working for me. I’ve continued to focus on that and it has worked well, freeing up space in my life to cultivate stronger relationships and focus on the right work. And a short but miserable bout with the flu reminded me how important it is to keep self-care at the forefront. I realized that I had let that slip a little.
3. Based on your answers to the first two questions, what's one shift you want to make?
As you consider fine-tuning your approach for the rest of the year, what tweaks would you make? Remember that you can make shifts either to amplify a strategy that's working well or to make a course correction. For example, my cathartic mental and physical decluttering in January reminded me that I need to continue to make more room in my life for people who energize me and limit my exposure to those who drain me.
I also realized that I have to adjust my workout routine because I’m struggling to keep my cadence. So, I’ve changed it up with some more basketball and weight lifting with my son. That makes it much more fun (especially when we take silly pictures of our “bulging” biceps). And I’m heading out to surround myself with beautiful landscapes and physically challenge myself with some hiking in Arizona later this week.
There's tremendous power in pausing—even if it’s just for a few minutes each week. So, I challenge you to answer the three questions above today and identify one action to take based on what you learn. For other strategies to stretch yourself, pick up a copy of my book Show Up. Step Up. Step Out: Leadership Through a New Lens. You can read the first five chapters for free now.