Was 2011 a Great Year? (Part 1)

2011 is coming to a close, and we should prepare to reflect and set our goals for 2012. What process do you use to set your goals? If you don’t yet have a method, you are with the majority of people. Let’s look at one format that might be able to help you.

In Today Matters, by John C. Maxwell, John looks at twelve areas of life that he uses to drive his life long goals. He uses these areas to make every day count. If we use these same categories for a year end review, it will help us define our plan for next year.

This week let’s review the first six areas of focus.

Attitude: How is your attitude? Do you face each day positively? Your attitude at the beginning of a task will affect the outcome more than anything else. What goal can you set for 2012 that will allow you to be more positive and start each day with a good attitude?

Priorities: Setting priorities makes sure we work on the most important things. Take a few minutes to write a list of your achievements for 2011. List the activities that you spent time on. Review the list and reflect on how you set your priorities. Do you see balance in all the areas of your life? How can you improve your daily, weekly, and monthly method for setting priorities?

Health: Many of us fail to think of our health in the bigger picture of our life. Most of us control diet and exercise through short term goals. Reflect on how your current state of health affects what you do, how you are perceived, and your potential for the future. How would you compare your health today with yourself one year ago? What goal do you need to set for 2012?

Family: Family is the backbone of our daily life. Irregardless of your personal situation, your immediate family, your extended family, and your family values is what provides you with stability. Reflect on your current family situation. Are you giving as much as you are receiving? What can you do in 2012 to strengthen your family and provide more stability for yourself?

Thinking: Thinking and reflection is a practice that provides an advantage. Taking time to reflect and think about your actions and how they affect your success and failure will allow you to grow, every day. How consistent are you in taking time for yourself to think every day? How can you improve your reflection process to think bigger in 2012?

Commitment: In today’s fast paced world filled with opportunities and activities, it can become easy to over commit. If you provide focus and commitment to a goal, you will be successful. As other people quit and move on, your commitment provides you a path that ends in success. What activities in 2011 did you not finish? How did you lose your commitment? What activities or goals in 2012 will get your full commitment?

That is the first six. Check back next week for a continuation of this list that will help you get off to a great start in 2012.

Being Trustworthy

The law of solid ground, from John Maxwell’s book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, states “Trust is the foundation of leadership“. So if you are developing yourself as a leader, what are you doing to become more trustworthy?

Trust is gained by being consistent, being competent, and being positively connected with others.Trust is given to you by others. It is not developed within yourself. Who do you trust? Take a moment to make a list of some of the reasons you trust them.

To make yourself more trustworthy, you need to develop your character. Your character will display to others the traits that will make you trustworthy.

1. Consistency: Your decisions and actions are driven by your values. Knowing your values and following your values will make you more consistent.

2. Competency: Without developing the required skills, people will find it difficult to trust you. Would you have surgery performed by someone that has not developed the proper skills? In the same manner, people rarely follow people that have not developed their leadership skills.

3. Connection: Trust is all about how people see you. Putting other people first, and creating a positive relationship will enable the connection you need for trust.

Today, think about who you are. Practice becoming the person you want to be, and people will identify you as being trustworthy.


Being Generous

Being generous is a character trait that we aspire to have, but most could develop further. Generosity is not just about money. Money is only one resource, and you have many. You can improve your life and the lives of others by being generous with your time, your energy, your thoughts, your hands, your head, and of course your money.

If you could donate more, what cause would you like to support? What effort or charity are you passionate about?

Here are some thoughts on generosity that might spark some action from you to grow your generosity.

1. Be thankful for what you have. Many times we don’t give to others because we do not see what we have. Count your blessings, and keep in perspective all the people that have less.

2. Help others in need. Give of yourself, not just money. Solutions come in many forms. Some people just need someone to listen.

3. Don’t let your desire for possessions control you. Are you always looking at the sale ads to see what you need to have? Think twice, and define for yourself the difference between needs and wants. Ease up on the wants and see what needs exist around you.

4. Money is only a resource. Money gives you options. Think of it as a resource and not a goal. Earning money gives you options for your life and for helping others.

5. Make giving a habit. You are not the neediest person on Earth. Give of yourself, every day, every week, every month. Make it a habit, and you will enjoy life’s journey so much more.

Hopefully some of those tips will touch you. Generosity is something that is done intentionally. You do not become generous by accident. Take a moment and reflect on how you are doing with your generosity, and how you may want to improve your actions.


Maximize Your Potential

Most of us don’t have a strategy to improve our potential. Some of us take actions to expand our abilities. Some of us do little to grow. But if you are one of the elite that want to focus on improving yourself, there are some strategies that will keep you on the best path.

The simple truth is you can maximize your potential by focusing on your strengths. Your natural talents are your best opportunity to grow. Find those areas, and continue to feed yourself knowledge, practice, and skill development to become an expert.

How are you spending your time? Compare yourself to this model. Spend 70% of your time developing your strengths. Spend 25% of your time learning new things, and only 5% of the time managing your weaknesses. Initially this may seem difficult. But you can find and develop strategies that will help you increase the time that you develop your strengths and learn.

To increase your focus on developing your potential, John Maxwell recommends the following:

1. Work on yourself. You are your greatest asset. If you ignore yourself, you can also be your biggest detriment.

2. Work at your priorities. Fight to get your priorities identified, and get them done.

3. Work on your strengths. This is the best path to increase your potential.

4. Work with your contemporaries. You can’t do everything alone. Finding other people with similar goals and strengths can stretch you beyond yourself. You do not need to be the best, you need to be the best you can be.

Take some time to reflect on how you are increasing your potential. Find a strategy to get started on improving your focus, and growing your knowledge.