A year ago we published “10 Tips for Initiating Self-Renewal in 2004”. Given the positive reaction to that effort, here is round two, designed to jump-start 2005.
Tip 1: Keep up with the world.
Keeping up with what is going on in the world is a daunting task. It is easy to be overwhelmed with information. Think about your processes for keeping abreast of current world and business events and see if you can find ways to augment or streamline your information sources. If your company’s or organization’s homepage does not already provide a news summary, most major portals such as Yahoo and MSN will enable you to design your own personal page. (I use my.yahoo.com.) Include the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, scores for your favorite teams, the ski forecast (in my case), and your best industry information source. Then, each day at a glance, you can scan and read the information most relevant to your life. And don’t forget to add your favorite comic strips for a moment of levity!
Tip 2: Consider the China Syndrome.
If you don’t already know, identify the most likely ways China is going to change your business or organization. Some domestic industries are already transformed by the move to manufacture a product in China. However, the effects on our personal and professional lives may be much more profound than just that. Fortune’s October 4, 2004, issue focused on China, and in the lead article, Clay Chandler noted, “China is pulling in imports from Asian neighbors—machinery from Japan, steel from South Korea, palm oil from Thailand—and its appetite for raw materials of all sorts, from peanuts to pig iron, has sparked an unprecedented boom in world commodity markets. It has become the world’s largest consumer of copper, aluminum, and cement, and last year overtook Japan as the world’s second-largest importer of oil. China is the world’s No. 1 market for mobile phones and the No. 2 market for personal computers; many analysts believe it will become the world’s second-largest auto market by the end of the decade.”
How will your business model be changed by China? Take some time at an upcoming meeting with your team to make sure you are as informed about China as you need to be.
Tip 3: Create a reading calendar.
Take time to select books you want to read over the next 12 months and buy them all. Then you will have them ready for the next long trip or rainy Sunday afternoon. Vary your selections to keep it interesting-one or two business books, something on current affairs, some historical fiction, maybe some short stories, and a great beach read. Want some starter ideas? Click here to see some of what we are reading this year. And speaking of reading…
Tip 4: Start a “book club” with your team at work.
Chose a book that will most benefit your business that will most benefit your business or department. Then schedule a series of brown bag lunches to talk about the book and how to apply its important concepts at work.
Tip 5: Make yourself a “list like Bill’s.”
Several years ago, a member of my family was facing a decade birthday and decided time was a’ wasting. Bill made a list of many adventures and experiences that he always wanted to do and in the past four years, he has been to see The Who in concert, run a marathon, watched the Cubs play in Wrigley Field, and walked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. This summer he was talking about what would be on his next list, and that motivated me to create my own “list like Bill’s.” This year I am going to complete a triathlon. Before the end of January, think of 5-7 experiences you have always wanted to have, and begin looking for places and spaces to make them happen in your life!
Tip 6: Engage in some “risk therapy.”
When I asked TWC associates to submit ideas for this newsletter, several suggested tips for putting yourself at risk outside of work. One even called it his “risk therapy.” By mastering a new skill or experience outside your normal comfort zone, you can become invigorated and newly confident in your capabilities. Your mind clears of stale, recurring thought patterns, and many times new perspectives and insights will arise from the adventure. Here are some suggestions: engage in your favorite sport at a level more difficult than you usually do; go whitewater rafting; bike off-road; do your weekend run in a place entirely unknown to you; give a speech; perform in a play or concert; take time to share some feedback with a loved one or colleague; write a short story; study a new spiritual practice; strike up a conversation with a stranger; take an adult ed course in photography, drawing, or some other right-brained discipline. It’s not about being excellent at any of these activities. It’s about continuing to challenge yourself and extend your limits. Go for it!
Tip 7: Use all your frequent flier points.
The airline industry is in a state of flux that renders the future use of our frequent flier points suspect. So, upgrade a family member to first class for their next trip, take a loved one along on a business trip, or if you are really flush, plan a surprise trip for the family over a long weekend. Use those points up.
Tip 8: Exercise your compassionate muscle.
In the background of my life float stories and news highlights about places like Darfur and Rwanda (and now this holiday week, the victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia). But I had never really tuned into them until I met a ten-year-old girl named Pacific and her sister who walked out of Rwanda with their grandmother and parents. After three years in refugee camps, and surviving the murder of their parents by rebels, Pacific and her sister came with their grandmother to Louisville. Confronting how truly different my life has been from that of ten-year-old Pacific has helped me take the time to listen to these kinds of stories and try to understand the human condition of the people in them. I haven’t quite figured out what to do yet with this understanding, but education seems like the first step. Therefore, the next time you see or hear a story about Africa, instead of skimming over it to the sports page, stop and read it. Do some research on the internet. Educate your compassionate self and then take action.
Tip 9: Strengthen your web and share your wisdom.e
This isn’t overhauling your website; it is reaching out and strengthening the web of colleagues, friends, associates, and acquaintances that surround you. Take a friend or colleague out to lunch (at your expense) at least once a month. Strengthen your web; expand your network; enjoy your friends; appreciate your colleagues. Find out what they are learning and how it might help you see your world differently—all over a good bowl of soup and a sandwich!
On the flip side…
Identify a young person or someone new in your organization and begin to informally mentor them. Get started by scheduling a breakfast in January. Schedule time each month to meet with this person. Learn about your organization through their eyes; and, try to help them navigate the maze successfully. You never know what they might teach you in the process!
In addition, while you are scheduling that breakfast…
Tip 10: Spend some time with your calendar.
Look out over 2005 and schedule all predictable events–the budget and planning cycles, time to complete your employees’ performance appraisals, vacation, and important industry events. Add annual or semi-annual appointments with your doctor and dentist. Then schedule time each week for one hour of personal planning time and some time for exercise. Put it on your calendar NOW!
And don’t forget…
Make plans to improve your professional skills.
While your calendars are out, make plans to acquire a skill that you have always wanted to develop or add a skill that you know you need to advance in your career. In an effort to help our clients build capacity within their organizations, we have developed several workshops that we offer in-house or by subscription. See if one is right for you in 2005:
The Wunderlin Company wishes you a new year filled with renewal and growth, both personally and professionally. Best wishes!