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Flying High

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Debbie Rawlinson of Making Change Happen share her observations of the characteristics and actions of high performers that help them to achieve their goals.


By now many of us have decided to turn over a new leaf, given ourselves a good ‘talking to’ and embarked on the change journey only to find a week or perhaps a month down the line our resolve is weakening?

The top 10 life-changing resolutions are getting somewhat worn and boring, as are about need-to dos, and should-dos. It usually begins with thinking about what we don't want. Our brain doesn’t read the small print and so we get stuck with old patterns and results, instead of committing to what we really do want.

Many of us tend to focus our attention on the stereotypical resolutions, which are often a smoke-screen for underlying problems.

The usual suspects include:
1. Spend more time with loved ones and family
2. Exercise and get fit
3. Lose weight
4. Stop smoking
5. Make more time for myself and enjoy life more
6. Stop drinking as much
7. Get out of debt
8. Learn something new
9. Help others and make voluntary contributions
10. Get organised

Here are some alternative suggestions to help you get to the heart of the matter:
1. Review my identity, mission and values, to find out who I am becoming
2. Create purpose, joy and vision in my work/career
3. Know what I want from my life for the next five years, in six key areas
4. Face up to my challenges and fears and get some help on board
5. Feel more courageous and confident on a daily basis
6. Take more responsibility for my continuous learning processes
7. Capture and review my experiences, and reflect more
8. Overcome self-limiting beliefs
9. Don’t put up with things that I am barely tolerating
10. Communicate more effectively with my family and colleagues
11. Find new ways to solve issues and problems
12. Manage my emotional states to feel more of what I wish to feel
13. Find new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
14. Rejuvenate myself regularly and be kinder to myself more often

Outcomes
Moving towards what we want and away from what we don’t want involves not only making a mental decision, but also crossing an emotional threshold. This is where we feel comfortable, congruent and passionate about our decisions, and are subsequently willing to propel ourselves wholeheartedly towards their positive outcome.

Achievement is made up of both thinking and feeling. The thinking processes provide the direction of effort and logical path. The feelings side provides the propulsion, motivation and drive to see things through and finish the task.

Just thinking about your goal alone isn’t going to mean you will achieve it, you need a proven plan of action to get from “I want…” to “I have done…”. Understanding the “I want…” stage requires self-awareness and personal clarity.

‘High performers’ are usually very emotionally connected with their goals. Getting to “I have done” stage requires conviction, courage and tenacity, as well as good support systems being in place.

The Sunday Times Magazine is featuring ‘A beginners guide to the brain: how you think, why your instincts can rule your intellect, and how life long learning boosts your brain power’. Based on significant research they quoted the following:

“Why you should listen to your heart as well as your head?”
“Emotions are no longer seen as the poor cousins of reason, but it is still worth retraining your brain to govern unruly feelings”.

We’d like to offer some of our own suggestions to help ensure that your goals are authentic, well-formed, and remain sustainable.

Explore your current situation
Ask yourself some searching questions to clarify what’s at the heart of the matter (root causes) for you in any given situation. Keep an open mind, check your assumptions, explore your choices and define what themes are really important to you. Then ask yourself why they are important. Construct your decisions on solid foundations.

Decide
When you are really clear about your situation and goals, consider the best way forward and create your goal statements, objectives and plans. Describe and imagine what success will look, hear and feel like, and validate how motivated you are.

Commit
Build your emotional commitment and personal support networks to fuel and sustain your goals and motivational levels. Visualise your outcomes, find mentors and identify your stakeholders. Look for a mentor or mentors who can help you find new ways to be successful.

Engage
Face your challenges and get organised. Be aware of your personal doubts and fears that may impede your progress. Prioritise your actions and distinguish between your urgent and important tasks.

Equip
Identify and use all available ‘self-effectiveness’ tools and techniques that will help you to accelerate your success, stay resourceful, and manage stress and anxiety along the way. Find new ways to convert your ‘scary inner demons’ into positive and helpful resources.

Complete
Sustain your emotional commitment and complete the task/s you started. This is a test of your character and tenacity. Hold the vision you started with, to reinforce your motivation to succeed and remind yourself of this end game regularly, throughout your experiences.

Review
Recognise what your ‘journey’ means to you and how it is affecting your future performance, growth and ability to take on new challenges. Capture your learning’s by describing what you have learned, who you are becoming, and how you will apply the learning in the future.

These are some of the characteristics we have observed from watching and observing ‘high performers’ in action for many years, across different organisations and business sectors.

These suggestions also work for us, in our own personal experiences, so why not try something new today and see what a difference it could make to you.

* Making Change Happen is a coaching consultancy that helps individuals and organisations to engage with change, performance, well-being and leadership. Debbie Rawlinson can be contacted at debbie@makingchangehappen.com.

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