With summer behind us, fall is a good time to renew our commitment to our best selves at work and at home.
Because most of our childhoods were conditioned around the school year, this last quarter can feel like a time for getting serious again. If summer is for fun and daydreaming, then fall is a chance to resume focus on transforming challenges and achieving goals.
With this in mind, post Labor Day is a good time to ask ourselves the following questions: Am I excited about my work? Do I sprint out of bed in the morning curious to see what the day holds for me? Am I energized by what I can contribute to others? If the answer isn’t a resounding yes, at least more often than not, it may be time to take better charge of your life.
Taking charge isn’t taking control. It’s taking responsibility. Taking control is about forcing an outcome. Most of us know how that can turn out. However, taking responsibility is about assessing our situation, setting the best conditions based on what is important to us and then trusting the process.
Want to take better charge of your life? Here are 5 guidelines I use with my coaching clients to get them on the path to their best selves in every aspect of their lives:
- Know and be guided by your values.
When was the last time you checked your values? Do you know what is important to you in the larger scheme of things and how that filters down into different aspects of your work and life? Once you have a good handle on this, use it for inspiration. Goals that are not attached to what’s truly meaningful are just pursuits that once achieved feel empty and hollow. Decide to be guided in all you do by a profound sense of meaning. Meaning is subjective, so don’t look to others to help you decide. Look within.
- Initiate Change.
Once you know your values, it will be clear how you are not currently incorporating them into your choices and actions. This clarity is the basis for creating a new vision of success that is meaningful and inspiring for you. This can be the catalyst for the decision to change. Change requires a lot of emotional and mental effort to instill new habits of thinking and doing. To sustain the effort, you need to find relevant and impactful reasons to maintain your motivation.
- Be aware of your mindset and how it blocks your success.
At first, most people believe that the obstacles which get in the way of what they want are external to them. However, after some introspection, it becomes clear that it is our internal beliefs and attitudes that are the real obstacles. Test this for yourself. How many times have you initiated a new plan or pledged a new direction, only to fall back into old patterns within days or weeks? The toughest blocks to overcome are not from the outside but from within. What is familiar to us mentally and emotionally has a very strong pull backward.
- Realign your mindset for success.
Changing your beliefs isn’t easy if you think that you have to overhaul everything. Here’s what I’ve found. Our attitudes and beliefs are intertwined with each other. Once you start to chip away at a few that no longer make sense in the light of self-awareness, they all start to fall. Don’t be overwhelmed. Instead be steadfast and persistent in questioning your assumptions about what you believe leads to success and why.
- Take consistent action.
Once you have identified the new beliefs and attitudes that are in better alignment with your values and meaningful pursuits, the right actions and goals will fall into place spontaneously. You will know what to do and how to do it because you have clarity. This clarity unleashes incredible energy that allows you to continuously take the right action, to objectively review your results and re-calculate your strategy as needed.
Whether you choose to self-coach or work with a professional coach to streamline your efforts to reach your optimal best, keep this in mind:
Coaching is not a remedial process relegated to those who are unsuccessful. Rather, coaching is a proactive strategy that is a courageous act of self-determination. Only those who are willing to assume a leadership role in their lives will take the leap into accountability that coaching requires.
How will you use the invigorating energy of fall? What is your commitment to yourself as we buckle up for the 4th quarter? Will you daydream about the lazy days of summer gone by or will you commit to being your best self, right now, by doing what it takes to create the conditions for your highest success?
The choice is yours.
Jo-Aynne von Born, Executive Coach, Strategist, Corporate Trainer