Like most of you, I find professional success - the kind that makes you feel like you’re doing the work you’re meant to and it matters - only goes as far as your personal development. For me that meant catching up on reading and podcasts, taking long walks with friends, gatherings of interesting people and rich conversation.
Here are three of the ideas I found inspiring as I head into 2023:
How Can You Have Bigger Ambitions?
My friend David Lancefield, catalyst and strategy ninja, wrote in his New Year’s post that he’d like to see bigger ambitions. This resonates with what I hear from my clients and friends as well.
Time for you to put aside tiredness; to put aside yoga pants!
Let’s create brave spaces and psychological safety and use that not as a weighted blanket but to reach for the stars, have deeper connections and more thoughtful conversations, and to create inspiring futures that matter.
On the one hand, we’re going to need a big ambition attitude for the rocky roads ahead. Thankfully, the energy I’m feeling is, We ARE READY.
Bigger ambitions go beyond a goal. Having big ambitions makes us feel motivated and excited. It's what makes us strive to be the best we can be.
Which brings us to…
Rethink Your Upper Limits
In order to execute on those big ambitions, you have to get out of your own way.
No amount of planning and spreadsheets can help you if the real issue is coming up to the edge of something exciting and saying, “oh, you know that reminds me, I just need to go to the bathroom right now. But I will definitely be back!”
As Diana Chapman (who has an uncanny way of popping into my life every time I need a kick in the butt) says,
“The only way I know to change those stuck patterns is to have a compelling vision and/or be in enough discomfort. Everything else is moving deck chairs around the Titanic.”
One of the things she mentions in this podcast is the idea from Gay Hendricks book, The Big Leap, that we sabotage ourselves when we have exceeded an artificial upper limit we place on our happiness or success.
Last year, I had the idea to write a book on the future of work that incorporated speculative fiction. I thought, “who am I to do that? That’s crazy!”
I did a successful excerpt reading last year and felt pretty good about it.
Then at breakfast, a Future Proofer said, “oh yes! I see you flying to the most progressive cities around the world, giving talks and gathering information and stories for this book. Why aren’t you on the plane already?”
One of the things I love about the Future Proof community is that they smash through upper limits pretty quickly!
When Your Goal Doesn’t Fit, Adapt
Finally, as you sit there mapping the monthly and weekly activities you need to do to achieve your goals, remember your Adaptability Quotient.
Professional poker player, Annie Duke, talks about the importance of adaptability with a memorable metaphor of the runner in a marathon who breaks their leg but keeps running to the end. Valiantly finishing the race but…due to the damage sustained, will never run again. One of the key tenets of her success is the ability to pivot or quit on time when things aren’t working.
When the situation changes, and it will, what are you prepared to change?
For me, quitting certain things means retiring the print publication of my children’s book, Hong Kong ABCs. After years of self-publishing, printing, and selling it we’ve managed to sell over 20,000 copies and donate much of the profit to Room to Read. It is now digitized for kindle and print-on-demand. It’s a hard choice because so many people love it, but I’m grateful for all the little kids and parents who were able to share some beautiful reading time with the lovely illustrations of Hong Kong.
If you're enjoying this content, don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive updates and more! Visit our home page to find out what we do.
You will receive two newsletters a month packed with ideas to future proof your work.
Look for the email to confirm your subscription - we believe in protecting your inbox!