Hope For 2017: The 2 Things We Need To Do!!
It’s here again!!!! A new year, a time to look forward to new opportunities, to reflect and to make changes if necessary. For those who had a great 2016 – congratulations!!! whatever you are doing, keep doing it. Nevertheless, for many, it was not always great – Here at home, it was a tough year both socially and economically. Many experienced loss, sadness, fear, disappointment or some other source of hardship both personally and professionally. Even if we didn’t experience it personally, we were a part of the lives of those who did. For those who experienced major challenges, you were not alone. Internationally, 2016 was the year of Aleppo, crimes against humanity, refugees trying to find a place to be accepted, terrorist attacks, controversial police shootings, and countless other events that compelled many to ask themselves –“What the hell is going on?”
Even though there are optimists among us who will say – keep the faith, stay positive, look at the good that will come of it and while all of this is important, it’s easy to see that we are not in control of everything. It can therefore be difficult for some to simply make it all go away. Negative things are going to happen, it is inevitable. We can, however, change our perception of the things around us so that we could function better in that moment. What is certain is that many of us can use a little more hope.
With this in mind and as we look at 2017, I am not going to focus on the obvious. I am going beyond setting the goal, steps and deadlines to a place that can help to make goals more achievable.
Here are 2 factors that will help you to make a tremendous difference in your achievements this year:
1) Prepare to receive it
In their book, “Switch”, Chip and Dan Heath shared the story of a first grade elementary school teacher, Crystal Jones. She was the first teacher for a group of kids in Atlanta, Georgia. Some of these kids didn’t know their alphabet and some didn’t even know how to hold their pencils. She knew that the “climb” ahead would be a steep one so she devised a plan that would mentally prepare them to receive what would come next. She told them: “At the end of this school year, you’re going to be third graders” (She was referring to their skill level and not the fact that they would actually be in third grade). This statement had a tremendous impact because the first graders knew that the third graders were bigger, smarter and cooler.
If we think back to that time and even throughout our academic life, we will remember those students we looked up to. We will remember how much we admired their grace and skill, whether it was their academic performance, their ability to lead others or their ability in sport.
A few months into the year, the kids’ test scores had reached second-grade level. So to celebrate this, Jones held a graduation ceremony before the end of the school year. For the rest of the year, the kids took great pleasure in referring to themselves as “second graders.” By the end of the year, over 90 percent of the kids were reading at or above a third-grade level. These children got the assistance of a great teacher and leader who made sure that they would be ready for the next school year.
For us, we can set our own stage and live as though we expect to get to our goal. As a young sales representative several years ago, I started to prepare myself for a management position by proactively learning Microsoft Excel even though I wasn’t using it at the time for my job. I was simply preparing myself for the place I wanted to be. That time eventually came and this was one aspect of the position that I was ready for!!!
“Preparing to receive it” can be both mental or physical. It’s being a pleasant customer service representative regardless of who you will meet that day. It’s designing your house plan with your 3-car garage because you know you want to fill it in the future. It’s mastering communication skills before you actually become the businessman, lawyer or doctor (If you don’t think bedside manner is important, ask a child who hates their Pediatrician). While this may seem counterintuitive to many, it’s about preparing the “space” even when you have nothing to fill it with yet.
So be ready to receive the goal, whatever it may be. What I am referring to here is bold-faced anticipation and it goes “hand in hand” with the second factor….GRACE.
2) Believe in Grace
There are many definitions of grace but the one I will focus on is this: GRACE is “a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior” (dictionary.com). Whether you want to call the “superior” God, infinite intelligence, divine assistance, luck or claim that things just happen, it doesn’t really matter, it happens.
I agree that we should have a proper plan before we go after any goal. But, how many of us have achieved things without initially having the resources, whether emotional or physical, to achieve it? How many of us, for example, landed a great job or completed a major project when it didn’t initially seem like it could happen by the deadline? We nevertheless went after it with some level of determination. It certainly went beyond the “I only have access to 1 million dollars so I could only build a 1 million dollar house” thinking.
Motivational speaker Anthony Robbins said it best – “If you are taking massive action and getting better and better at executing, there is only one more thing you need to get whatever you want and that’s grace.” You may not always see where the resources will come come from but many of the physical and emotional resources will “show up” along the way, it’s part of the process and it has certainly been my experience. I am all for logic but not everything is going to be logical. Grace shows up because we act.
Please keep in mind that preparing to receive your goal and to being open to grace, your mindset needs to be one of optimism or positive self talk. All action is really up to you. Do you have a goal? Do you really want it? in other words, do you have a good reason for going after it? Always remember that reasons come first and answers come after. We sometimes will never know what will happen in the end and that alone can prevent action but we have nothing to lose by being optimistic about it. Therapist, Behavioural Expert & Best-Selling Author, Marisa Peer said this: “All your feelings are down to two things: the pictures you make in your head and the words you say to yourself.” If we can’t predict an outcome, why focus on a negative one?
Founder of V-Formation Training and Development
Professional Speaker and Trainer
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