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  • Writer's pictureBruce O'Brien

Setting fire to yourself – regularly!

It’s a busy week this week – Canada Day and US Independence Day (do they really still call it that?) and it’s the second half of the year already! So how has 2019 been going for you so far? Busy? I bet. Not many of us are hired to not be busy. And of course when you’re busy, it’s tempting to just be busy. There’s so much to do. But what happens when you’re busy? What don’t you see or hear when you’re busy?

Cast your mind back to your job interview for the role you are now working in. Think about how well you prepared – how strategic you were looking into the opportunities and threats, how you proposed strategies for growth and antidotes to problems in the business. You were your best self no doubt – curious, ambitious, clear-minded, strategic, strengths at the forefront, and weaknesses mitigated through heightened self-awareness. Basically you were on fire! And that’s why you got the job!

It's now the middle of the year and much of the business world is in the throws of mid year reviews. But why wait for that to take a step back and get some perspective on how things are going? This article offers a couple of ideas on to keep connected with your brilliant self and make sure that fire keeps burning every week of the year.

Friday reflections

This is a really simple device to create space to stand back and look with fresh eyes at your business, your team and yourself. I call them Friday reflections (as I like to do this on a Friday) but you could name them after any day in the week; the point is, you should be doing this weekly – so get this into your rhythm. Go and sit somewhere different from your usual spot – somewhere where you will not be disturbed and where your surroundings give you energy and a new perspective. And ask yourself these four simple questions:

- What went well this week?

- What didn’t go well this week?

- What didn’t I do this week?

- What will I do differently next week?

I’d suggest you journal your answers (to get some discipline around this and push yourself to get the most out of this introspection) and also to create some accountability for yourself around what you will do differently (if you find yourself constantly with the same promise of future greatness without ever fulfilling it, then you may need a different strategy).

Take the temperature of your team

Now you’ve had a look at your own actions, now broaden your focus to look at your impact. Your team and your peers are important in delivering your goals and, as everyone knows, it’s important to keep them engaged, interested and motivated. So try this simple exercise – write down the names of your team and other important partners and one by one, assess the relationship as green (everything is fine), amber (could be better) or red (things don’t feel good). Use your gut to do this and don’t over think it – the traffic lights will soon tell you where it important to invest in a relationship that is important to your success. And if you want some ideas how to begin working things out, have a look at my blog about listening skills

These are both easy exercises to adopt into your rhythm – and the impact could be significant; helping you to refocus on what is really the highest priority activity (rather than whatever shouts loudest) or motivating a colleague or team member to deliver their best. Great leaders are busy – but great leaders are never too busy to think.

If you’d like to know more or discuss how I could help you keep that fire burning, contact me at brucecobrien@me.comand let’s talk.

Bruce O’Brien is a leadership development consulting and professional Co-Active© coach.

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