Developing Every Facet of Your Life

Most formal leadership roles begin and end with the working day, but personal leadership is constant. It includes every facet of life; it involves each action, thought, or attitude of all your waking hours. Personal leadership is not what you do, but what you are – at home, at work, in your social life, and when you are alone. Any plan for development of personal leadership must involve the whole person.

Goal setting establishes a relationship between where you are and where you are going. It sounds fairly basic. But few people have a goals program because they simply do not know where to begin. They have no idea of where they stand now. They have no clearly stated priorities or values and cannot, therefore, determine where they want to go. Even if they have grasped the basic concepts, they lack the experience to select challenging goals. They need help and direction to put theory into practice.

The growth of personal leadership in the various areas of life does not always proceed at the same rate of speed. When one need becomes urgent, others tend to take a less important place. Once an urgent need is satisfied, a need from another area of life may take top priority. Eventually, however, your goals program should address all areas of life with the intent of developing a balanced personality that meets the need for the development of your full potential.

Write It Down

The importance of committing your plan to writing cannot be overemphasized. Definite plans produce definite results. But indefinite plans do not produce indefinite results; typically, they produce no results at all. As you develop a written plan, anticipate enjoying these benefits:

  • Focus. Demands on your time and attention continuously bombard you. What seemed crystal clear only yesterday becomes blurred and vague in the rush and urgency of today’s affairs. Written goals serve as a reference and a reminder of your objectives. They keep you on course to progress and act as “interference blinders” that eliminate outside distractions and interruptions. A written plan conserves time and energy because you know at all times where you are going and what to do next. You never need to stop and wonder what is most important to you.
  • Motivation. Writing crystallizes thought, and crystallized thought motivates action. Merely seeing your goals on paper lends clarity to purpose and dedication to achievement. You push yourself to perform, to make your commitment come to pass.
  • Measurement. Written goals serve as a yardstick of progress. Without written goals and deadlines, your memory becomes hazy; the yardstick is blurred and motivation is lost.
  • Compatibility. Reducing your goals to writing assures their compatibility. Once you spread them out before you, any inconsistency between goals and values becomes apparent. Conflicts between individual goals in requirements for time and resources are immediately visible. You may then assign priorities and eliminate frustrations before serious damage occurs.
  • Stimulation. Committing your plans to writing stimulates and helps form the habit of visualization that, in itself, lends creativity to all you undertake.
  • Self-fulfilling Prophecy. When you have a written plan for achievement of your goals, your commitment to them becomes firm. You have a clear mental picture of who you intend to become and what you plan to do. When goals are clear and vivid, they act as a magnetic force to draw you to them. They become a self-fulfilling prophecy and you gain from life exactly what you plan and expect to acquire.

Anticipation of Benefits

Make a written list of the rewards that will be yours when you achieve a goal. Include the advantages to be gained and the losses to be avoided. These are the compelling reasons you have for taking action to achieve your goal. When you know the benefits that will be yours, you have the courage and desire necessary to push ahead, to do the work and to overcome every roadblock.

As you list anticipated rewards, include those that are both tangible and intangible. List the possessions that will be yours and the position you will occupy, as well as the feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment you will enjoy. It does not matter whether the rewards you list would be meaningful to anyone else. If they are important to you, list them. Anticipating the enjoyment of the fruits of your labor stimulates you to redouble your efforts toward achievement. Visualizing the rewards of success is a concrete step toward achievement.

Leadership Management® Institute
Reprinted with permission
Strategic Essentials is a Managing Partner for Leadership Management® International, Inc.

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