A lot of my one-on-one coaching work is focused on helping leaders and professionals take themselves, their environment, performance, and results to the next level.
Whether you are a beginner or veteran at your game, there are clear, powerful and practical principles that if you understand and follow will help you reach your next desired level:
- Get clear on your desired end state. Project yourself into your future – at least a year or two from now – and envision that you have achieved your desired end state. Then, describe what your success looks like. Write it down as clear and vivid as you can.
- Visualize how you are behaving and performing in your new future state. When you visualize your future, take notice of how you are behaving and acting in that reality. Pay special attention to areas where you are doing things differently from today. Record a few practices and behaviors that you can start applying today in order to start driving and drawing your desired state to you.
- Start behaving consistently with your future state now. Start applying the practices and behaviors that you outlined in the previous step in your day-to-day routines. Every time you find yourself regressing to old habits, stop, acknowledge it and correct yourself back to behaving consistently with your list of future reality practices.
- Get people around you to support you. Just like a world class athlete wouldn’t dream of reaching the Olympics without a support structure, don’t try to go the next level alone. Don’t keep your commitment and project a secret. On the contrary, share it with the people you trust and ask them to be your committed ‘partners in crime’; to look out for you and support you to stay the course, especially when the going gets tough and old habits kick in. The fact that you include them in the first place, will cement your commitment and put you in a more determined mindset. Especially, when they actually start holding you to account, even if it may be uncomfortable, it will make a significant difference.
- Start recording accomplishments and wins that are consistent with your future state. At the end of each day or week reflect on what you have done and list all the specific areas where you have had wins and made progress consistent with your desired practices and future. Don’t be concerned with the size of the wins/progress or if others would recognize or appreciate them too. Any win that has meaning to you, no matter how small or big, counts and should be included in your list. In fact, the more accomplishments and wins you record (or “collect”) the better.
- Own and represent your progress. Always speak about your journey to the next level in a powerful, positive and empowering manner. People tend not to take responsibility for their growth and greatness. They tend to always keep one foot in the back door, just in case they’ll fail. They say things like: “Things are going well… BUT… I am not there yet!” They emphasize the “I am not there yet” more than “Things are going great.” Don’t do that! In fact, do the opposite. Acknowledge and share your progress with the people you trust. Keep reminding yourself that progress promotes and invites more progress and the opposite is also true.
These last two steps are often most underestimated, ignored and/or avoided. In order to drive and materialize your new future state most effectively, you need to have the right mindset and behavior. Listing and acknowledging accomplishments and wins will empower you to overcome any skepticism and/or doubts and replace them with genuine enthusiasm and confidence about what you are creating. The more you believe in the viability of your aspiration the more you are likely to stay the course to its fulfillment.
While these steps may not come naturally at first, they will over time. Make them your new normal, for they are essential when it comes to taking your game to the next level.