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Whose Track Are You On?

With the excitement of the New Year well and truly behind us, we find ourselves at the business end of ‘creating and doing’ to make our new goals become a reality. So it’s time to be honest and ask ourselves the question Am I Still On MY Track? Am I focused on what my career goals are, or have I allowed distractions to creep in or worse still other people’s plans to hijack mine?

Carol Yang

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus” – Bruce Lee

With the excitement of the New Year well and truly behind us, we find ourselves at the business end of ‘creating and doing’ to make our new goals become a reality. We’ve celebrated the fresh beginnings, boldly stated our desires and plans for 2015 and now with the end of the first quarter less than three weeks away, we should be starting to reflect and celebrate some of our early milestones.

So it’s time to be honest and ask ourselves the question Am I Still On MY Track? Am I focused on what my career goals are, or have I allowed distractions to creep in or worse still other people’s plans to hijack mine? Am I on track but merely coasting and plodding along? Or have I encountered the dreaded stage fright of not being able to quite take the leap that I know I need to, in order to get where I want to go?

If you were to conduct a quarterly review on your 2015 plans, how would your rate your performance?

We all know that if you want to succeed in any aspect of your life, be it your career, your health, your financial and/or personal goals you need to master the art of focus. Simply desiring something is not enough. It takes getting clear about your purpose – and your why – and then getting about the business of making it happen.

As Steve Jobs also famously pointed out, focus is also about saying No. Described as a talented editor he was highly regarded for knowing what and what not to include in a product and project: ‘People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully’. Learning how to say ‘No’ allows us to develop the laser-like focus that saves us from running off in 20 different directions.

I would encourage you take the time in the coming weeks to stop and reflect on how your first few months have unfolded. Celebrate any milestones; identify the distractions and check to ensure that you are still on YOUR track for creating the career path that you want. Consider the following in your time of reflection:

  1. (Re)Connect with your why: You are not going to achieve laser like focus without being crystal clear about what you want. Understand what drives you, what excites and allow your goals to pull you forward.
  2. Identify what success looks like: Know the end goal and understand what the incremental milestones are. Remember success breeds success so it is important to celebrate the small wins as you go.
  3. Revisit your plan: We all need a roadmap for where we are heading. Ask yourself what do I need to achieve, master, complete in order to support my end goal? Is the map still relevant today or does it need to be tweaked based on what has transpired in the first three months this year?
  4. Know your distractions: Keep it clean and lean! Know what it is that distracts you and remove them from your high productive work times – clutter, noise, social media, unnecessary emails, phone calls or meetings.
  5. Identify the three most essential building blocks: What are the high value tasks that will create solid foundations to build upon?
  6. Build your cheer squad: Who can you share your goals with that will both support you and hold you accountable? We all need a cheer squad and circle of influence that champion our efforts, challenge our thinking and help us celebrate our wins.
  7. Diarise your next review: Regular reviews help us maintain focus on the outcomes, generate energy, remain nimble and if necessary realign our efforts to ensure success is ultimately achieved.

Laser-like focus means aligning ALL of your beliefs, thoughts and efforts with your goal – day in and day out. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be challenges, new scenarios to navigate or unexpected events that arise. It does however ensure that we remain connected to our purpose and subsequently prevents us from being sidelined by the agendas and timelines of others. Quite simply, mastering the art of focus helps us remain on OUR track and reach our goals both personally and professionally.

Margot – The Career Diplomat

 

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