Earlier this week I had the pleasure of enjoying lunch with a good friend whom I hadn't seen in some time. He's a super sharp, creative guy I admire a great deal, who is an all-around rock star, personally and professionally.
Months ago, he started voicing some discontent in his professional life. The company and his colleagues were great, but he was beginning to feel like he had accomplished all he could there. He was getting frustrated, and began to ask himself "what's next?". Though we exchanged emails on the topic, it wasn't until we sat down to lunch that he revealed the very deliberate action plan he took to answer that question.
In the course of catching up, it occurred to me that he had done — and was in the midst of doing — something extraordinary: using his time wisely and intentionally to accomplish his goals.
While this may not sound like Earth-shattering news, take a moment to consider what you've done for the last few months, or even in 2016. How about last week?
Time has a way of passing you by when you get caught up in the daily churn of emails and errands. Before you know it, that project you thought about doing, or that new gig you'd like to have by the end of the year...still hasn't happened.
Or maybe the problem is that life isn't awful. It's pretty good. So much so that you've allowed yourself to become so distracted by things that you're just coasting through your life.
If any of this sounds familiar, consider these timely tips to help get back on track:
Keep a "failure resume."
In his latest Pinkcast, Daniel Pink and his guest, Stanford University professor Tina Seelig, tout the benefits of maintaining a "failure resume," a written account of things that didn't go the way you had planned. Part of this exercise, though, is also to record what you've learned from each experience. Seelig says to remember that "failure" is just data, and by keeping a running list of your supposed screw-ups you'll be able to mine that information to ensure you don't repeat the same mistakes. In this way, you can allow yourself take risks and try new things to get yourself closer to your goals.
Accept that the obstacle is the path.
Sometimes we feel like we could do what we wanted if only "X" weren't blocking our course. In one of her latest updates, Brigette Hyacinth reminds us that when something stands in the way of you achieving your goal, it is there for a reason: to strengthen you and prepare you for the next phase of your journey. Her advice is to stay focused and not let the obstacle discourage you.
Draw a line in the sand.
This is what my wise friend said worked for him in his career quest, as well as with his personal goals. Until he created a deadline, he would bounce back and forth with his time, never quite focused on the task at hand. Once you establish your line in the sand, work backward from that end date to formulate an action plan where you can use your time wisely and with intention.
Sometimes the inspiration you need to get moving comes over a lunch of stacked salads with a wonderful friend. For the rest of you, here's a more direct reminder:
There are approximately eight weeks left of this year —
what are you going to do with them?