As the leader of your team, it is your job to forge ahead. When the horizon feels miles away, your team will turn to you expecting enough support to keep them going. However, people (including you) can take for granted that the person in the management position is still human with their own doubts, stressors and anxiety.
Regardless of your mentoring role, you still set goals for yourself in both your personal and professional life. The challenge being, when the going gets tough, there are few assigned to you to give you the motivating push and encouraging perspective that, as humans, we all need. Luckily, with some helpful tools in place, leaders can learn to shine their own light onto their paths of determined improvement.
Ground Some Goals
When your end-goals seem so far away that they are barely in sight, start small. Figure out what you could do today, in this afternoon, in this half-hour and then do it. Complete a task, any task, and recognize that you are now one step closer. How big or small that advancement is does not matter, all that matters is that you continue to engage in forward thinking and movement.
Grounding goals still requires positive and proactive thinking. Prepare your brain for the success that is ahead. Envision yourself surpassing your goal and tie your brain to that vision emotionally. This can be accomplished by imagining the sounds, smells and sights of those events. If you believe that what you proactively thank the world for you will get in return, then do this. If you don’t…well, daydreaming about success can still be fun.
Be an Artist and a Cheerleader
One of the things that can make goals seem so far away is the fact that there are few tangibles to turn to. Create an inspiration board and visually display pictures that represent the positive outcomes of your desired goal. This visual exercise will produce the equivalent to an espresso; one glance will give you an energizing jolt, hopefully resulting in the ever-awesome second wind.
In addition to focusing on what you will do, make an effort to reflect on what you have already done. Devote some blank pages and list out your accomplishments that have been made toward your goal thus far, and keep record from this point on. When obstacles and unexpected hurdles get in your way, pull your list out and reassess how far you’ve already come from number one.
Focus On Lessons and Leaders
Admittedly, focusing on your past failures and mistakes does not seem like the right way to reel yourself in. However, ironically, recognizing the paths you took that ended up being dead-ends does pack some perspective punch.
The mistakes you made are mistakes you will hopefully never make again. Failures are gained knowledge, be sure to recognize that. With each mistake you make along the way do your best to craft a lesson learned. This will validate every attempt and will provide a resilient silver lining that cheers on your continuing effort.
Also, get on the inspiration fast track and seek out interviews and biographies of top achievers in your field or relevant to your quest. Getting insight into the struggles and successes of the people before you will push you to keep going and will open your eyes to the real possibility of tangible success.
Tone Down Some Timelines
Sometimes we are so much harder on ourselves than we would be on anyone else. There are cases where we would not even think about delegating some of the demands that we instead carelessly throw on top of our already-heavy shoulders. If possible, cut yourself a break for once and work on toning down some timelines. Conduct this activity of expansion with the understanding that initially, your eyes may have been bigger than your calendar.
This is not to mean that you grant yourself an extra three months just so you can procrastinate getting going for a bit longer. Each day is a new day that is full of possibilities, most important, the possibility of the next step.
Adjust timelines with plans in place and commit to a reasonable level of devotion that still allows for other areas of your life. Balance your efforts with recreation and leisure time. You will accomplish your goals, but not if you get burnout along the way; keep yourself in your race and take care of your mind and body.
Remember that even though you lead a team, you still need to devote some time to leading yourself. While being your own coach and not devalue the power of an outside mentor; their support and your self-serving actions will combine for an even more positive and proactive approach.
Now go! Set goals, work on them and appreciate the pains of the experience as they are strengthening the moment when you inevitably pass that finish line.
- Kelly Gregorio writes about topics that affect small businesses and entrepreneurs while working at Advantage Capital Funds, a merchant cash advance provider. You can read her daily business blog here.