#Goals, #planning, and #forecasting all have one fatal flaw. Us. And yes, I’m talking about you and me. You see, human beings are walking contradictions. Mostly because we’re trying to balance out emotion and reason. This inevitably leads to a misalignment of our actions and aspirations.
What this looks like is an individual or organization that has big ideas about where it wants to go, but its day-to-day actions don’t reflect that #vision. The classic example of this is the, “New Years Resolution to start exercising and eating healthy.” If I make that my resolution and KNOW what my priorities should be, but I’m still on a fast-food diet and spend most of my waking hours on my butt, well, it’s not really a priority, it’s an aspiration.
So today, I’m going to give you some practical tools for addressing that problem and getting your priorities back in-line with your aspirations.
The first thing you must do to get your priorities and aspirations aligned is to assess where you’re spending your TIME, ENERGY, and MONEY. It’s important to look at each area separately because they aren’t equally weighted.
For example: You may not be spending a lot of TIME in an area, but it may still be sucking a lot of your ENERGY or MONEY. In the same way you may not be spending a lot of MONEY in an area, but it may still be occupying a lot of your TIME. Does that sound familiar? It should, because we ALL have areas like that in our lives, and that’s why this part of the process is SO important.
Now I’m sure you’ve heard it said that your attention is a valuable commodity. Well that’s because your attention is an investment of your TIME and ENERGY and one of the BEST indicators of what your real priorities are. To help you get back into alignment, I’ve identified four areas for strategic growth that will give you a framework for exploring where you’re investing your time, energy, and money. These are general and common areas across the board, so only use what relates to you and what YOU do.
AREA #1: CAPITAL AND RESOURCE INVESTMENT
Obviously, this area is focused around your financial aspirations. Start by making a list of what your aspirations are in this area. Ask yourself, “what are my financial goals for the long-term?” “Am I trying to build a business, support a lifestyle, retire early, support an important cause, etc.?” Now, once you’ve done that, make a LIST of where you’re ACTUALLY spending your time, energy, and money in this area.
AREA #2: TALENT DEVELOPMENT
This is an area you can view from both an individual and organizational level. If you’re viewing this from the individual level then this would be your Personal and Professional Development. If from the organization level, this would be your talent and workforce development. Just like the last area, start by making a list of what your aspirations are. What are you SAYING is important to you in this area and why? Now, make a detailed list of where you’re investing your time, energy, and money in this area.
AREA #3: RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
This is all about your products and services and what you’re doing to ensure they remain relevant. As new technologies and automations reach the market, staying ahead of these changes is crucial to your long-term success. I’ve known folks like this, and I’m sure you have too, that believe there will always be a need for their service, or that their job won’t be automated. Maybe. But highly unlikely. Now, as you consider this area, think about how you’d like to see your products and services change in order to bring more value and greater fulfillment to your customers, your team, and to yourself. Now, make a list of where you’re spending your time, energy, and money in this area.
AREA #4: USER EXPERIENCE
This area is all about the experience and subsequent impact your making on the people who interact with you. If you’re viewing this from the perspective of an organization, then this is your company culture and values. If you’re viewing this from the individual perspective then this would be your personal brand and the values that are associated with you in the minds of the people you serve. So with that in mind, make a list of where you’re spending your time, energy, and money in this area. Ask yourself, “am I asking for feedback from customers and clients about their experience with me?” “Am I utilizing tools and outside resources to understand HOW my audience sees me and WHY they DO or DON’T do business with me?” “Am I putting energy into building lasting relationships with my customers or team members?” And, “How much time, energy, and money have I invested in crafting the messaging, culture, and experience around my “brand?”
There you have it. Four areas to help you align your aspirations and priorities today.
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