I LOVE January! A new year and a new start. There is something so invigorating about a clean slate. White space. A chance to reflect on what I’ve learned. What do I want to try again? What do I want to keep? What do I want to discard? What will I refine? Where do I want to create something new? It’s like a big release retrospective! It’s also the time of year where we make lists, set goals and define intentions.
In our work with leaders, we help them focus. We help them define foci (pronounced fo-sigh) statements. Foci statements are positive, inspiring and bold. They are so BOLD that they may even be hard to write down at first because they will not feel real or possible. It will be a statement that would make the greatest difference for you if it were true this time next year. This statement should say something about who you are being. Some examples would be:
- I am a courageous and authentic leader.
- I am a published author.
- I am an authentic team member.
Want to give it a try?
1. What’s something that would make the greatest difference for you if it were true in January 2019?
Think about an area of your life where you want to make a change. It might be leadership, family, work relationships, your partner/spouse, your personal well-being. What’s the area that you want to place your attention this year because attention in this space would have the biggest impact and make the greatest difference for you?
2. What do you want to accomplish most?
Brainstorm a list. No judging! Just create a list of the big, bold things that you want to accomplish. They might be things like: Get a new job. Take more time off. Exercise more. Grow my business.
3. Now that you have your list, narrow it down.
First Step: What’s the one thing on this list that would make the greatest difference in your life?
Next Step: Who do you need to BE in order to accomplish this?
Thinking about that one thing you want to accomplish, who would you need to BE in order to accomplish this? I’ve had the idea to write a book since 1994. I think about, I talk about it, I dream about it, I brainstorm titles for the book. But it’s 2018 and the book is still not written. Because, for me, my mindset, the way I think about writing, gets in my way of actually writing. What I want is the outcome of writing a book. That’s something that I will DO. But what’s missing is who I need to BE in order for a book to happen.
For me, my foci statement is “I am a voice for collaborative leadership.” One of the ways that I get in my own way when it comes to writing is I devalue what I have to say in comparison to what others might say. This statement is important to me because notice it says “a voice,” not “THE voice,” not “THE RIGHT voice,” not “THE ONLY voice,” but “A voice.” I do have something to say about this topic and I do have quite a bit of experience with it, because it is how I lead. So that one phrase “I am a voice for collaborative leadership” is my foci statement. I keep it posted where I can see it and I have to remind myself like 100 times every 15 minutes to stay focused on that.
How will you know you’ve landed the right foci statement for you?
- It will take your breath away to say it today
- It will feel far away
- It will be an edge, something just outside your comfort zone
- Most importantly it will inspire you and call you forward to the next level
Here are some inspiring foci statements that other leaders have created:
- I am courageously authentic, fiercely courageous
- I am a force multiplier
- I am a wildly successful entrepreneur
- I am a teacher that inspires and energizes others
- I am an inspiring and motivating leader
Ongoing Step: How will you know?
Once you have a foci statement that resonates, capture a few things that will help you to know what this looks like. These are measures, the yardstick by which you define this foci statement today. These should be concrete and measurable. Some of my measures are:
- I write one blog a month
- I have completed a draft of a book by June 1, 2018
- I write every week day for at least 20 minutes
- I publish one article by October 1, 2018
I can’t predict in Jan 2018 all the different kinds of opportunities that might emerge that fit under this heading of being a voice for collaborative leadership. Here’s the thing about foci statements, they are like agile projects. So I’ll check in on these measures every month and I’ll adapt them because they might shift or change.
Be willing to adapt your measures. Allow yourself to make changes without removing the measures completely.
Who knows if a book will be written, but I’m writing the book because I want to share what I see. Maybe, a book will happen or maybe I’ll find another way to share my voice. Either way, I’m creating space for moving forward on something. I am focused on what’s important and I will make space for the unknown!
What’s your focus for 2018?
Drop me a note and share!
(When you see me you have my permission to ask me about my book writing. There is nothing greater than public accountability!)
Cheers to 2018!