That time of year has come where we begin looking forward to the next.
The days in 2021 are winding down, and the fewer the uncolored days on the calendar, the more we look ahead and begin planning all the ways our lives will be different in the new year.
But in order to make life different, we have to actually do the making ourselves – and to that end I’m asking you, what will you do to make next year better?
One study done this year showed that nearly 2/3 of us will abandon our New Year’s resolutions before February. In only four weeks, the fervor of desire for change will fade and we will return to the way we lived the previous 365 days.
And then when another year ends, we make the same resolution as last year. Clearly, we know what is important to us, but we struggle to live out our priorities day-to-day.
John Maxwell hit this nail on the head when he said,
“Successful people make right decisions early and manage those decisions daily.”
Decisions are easy to make, but difficult to make stick; how easy it is to say, “I’m going to make sure x,” but do y when the time comes to act. Decisions must be managed daily to have any kind of impact.
People often ask how my wife, Florina, and I are still in love after 16 years. When we took our vows, we made a decision. We did not know what marriage was supposed to look like or what we would face, but we committed to each other then and there.
And we have spent every day since then managing that commitment, making sure that every word, every act, brings us closer together. We made a decision and let it determine our future decisions, big and small, no matter what – because “the choices that you make, make you” (John Wooden).
Some decisions, like who we marry, affect a small handful of people. But as leaders, our decisions impact as many people as we lead, and then some.
We must be diligent to know what we prioritize and choose it daily. For me, these decisions have looked like…
1. Seeking out personal growth.
In case we have never been introduced, hi – you’re reading Leadership for the Now, and my name is Florin Lungu, founder of Become Your Best Version.
I have called my company this because I want to keep that goal at the forefront of my mind and the minds of everyone I reach.
This is so much my goal, in fact, that most of my spare time is dedicated to personal growth. If I am driving, I listen to a podcast; if I am relaxing after dinner, I watch a lesson; on my lunch break, I read.
I am always looking for something “nutritious” to learn.
2. Prioritizing helping someone over making them happy.
I often tell the story of my early leadership career, when I befriended my team and then had to break bad news to them. I learned that balancing friendship and leadership was too precarious.
Of course, I continued to develop relationships with my people, but I learned not to focus on making them happy at the cost of helping them develop and grow.
And today, as a coach, I practice this daily by asking the hard questions and expecting the authentic answers that help leaders grow.
3. Focusing on the present and the future.
I recently highlighted the importance of reflection. Of course, this involves some looking back; we cannot learn from the past without remembering it.
But there is a big difference between learning from the past and dwelling on it. I remember, but only to the capacity that it allows me to adjust my trajectory.
I cannot change the past, but I can use the past to change the future.
As you approach the new year, ponder these prompts from John Maxwell’s Leadership Gold:
1. What major choices have changed your life?
When we consider the formative moments in our lives, we often find that they are decisions – decisions we made that we kept day in and day out.
Map out these turning-point decisions, how you came to make them, and how you manage them daily.
2. What key choices have you made (or will you make) to guide your leadership?
How have you ensured that your leadership becomes better, more aware, more efficient, more productive, more creative, than before?
How will you continue to ensure this? What steps will you take tomorrow, next week, and next month to make next year – and beyond – better?
3. How prepared are you to make difficult choices?
We often find the things we want – the better – on the other side of a difficult choice, a choice that becomes all the more so knowing that it must be managed daily. How are you preparing to make those choices and keep them?
That’s all for now.
Until next time, I wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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