Last week I invited you to commit to making this the best year of your life. Part of making 2012 my best year on the planet is reaching the specific Big Hairy Audacious Goal of landing a TV show to engage everyday leaders around leading with their best self. And to accomplish this, I knew I had to (see title above) Get Help!
I suspect that we especially need to get help when it comes to really big goals. For two reasons. The external world is competitive and complex. For example, getting published, starting a new business, or landing in a new career field are all tough. And with most grand goals we also need help to manage our inside game. Major inner adjustments are required to lose weight, quit a bad or safe job, pray daily, or become more assertive at work. Old habits, preferences, patterns, surroundings, and thought systems easily undermine us. I got help this week, and I am so excited to tell you about it, because it produced immediate results and it also unleashed hope.
I know myself enough to know that my strengths can, in other contexts, hang like heavy anchors. I thoroughly love to help people and I love ideas, but these laudable strengths can drag me down. I’ve been around for 5 decades, so I have a ton of family, friends, former co-workers, and I’m still meeting great new people every day (e.g., 20 law students in my new class last week). I teach at an idea mill and live on the Internet, so I see fascinating ideas on a constant basis. My problem: I am continually distracted, waylaid by wonderful people, worthy projects, or sometimes worthless internet inquiries.
So I called Brad Zimmerman of PMP Health, the company that introduced me to organizational consulting. I called Brad because he is incredibly great at thinking in a linear and detailed way; he creates systems and works a plan to completion. He quickly diagnosed: “So, you’re great at ideas and people, but you don’t feel like you’re executing?” BINGO, I said. “I love the big picture and the heart of people, but I suck at just ‘taking out the trash’ sometimes!” We talked about why a TV show mattered so much to me, and he asked, “So what’s standing in the way?” I asked, “Externally or internally?” He said, “Start in either place. We’ll get to where we need to.”
To make a long story short, I told him the 6 or 7 strategies I needed to execute, and he asked, “so what’s holding you up?” I said I’d sent emails to three key people and was waiting to hear back, and I was thinking about whether to reach out to others. “Quit thinking and just do it,” he said. “It’s not rocket science. Write up your outreach list, and tape it to your computer. Don’t stop until you’ve reached them all those people.” He elaborated. I couldn’t wait to get off the phone and into action.
I said to Brad what my clients frequently say to me: “Geez. That seems so obvious . . . now. Why didn’t I see it?” The answer – and his 45 minute conversation with me – reveal the power of a great coach:* (1) He or she asks sensible questions that help you see what should be obvious but simply isn’t! And (2) You lodge your commitments with your coach to hold yourself accountable. So I will report back to Brad, (i.e., report back to me) the next time we talk.
I had to get help to clearly see and strategize around the complex external challenges I face to meet my goal, but especially to keep me from slipping back into my generally useful habits and preferences. I’d love to hear your reflections and especially your experiences around how you GET HELP to
Lead with your best self!
* Brad is a professional coach. And I’m a big fan and occasional user of professional coaches. A great friend, spouse, mentor, or even a boss can coach, as well.