Execution makes all the difference
Every year I make a decision to focus on two different skills to master. In the beginning I used to choose four to six aspects to work on. Not that I am ambitious. Not at all 😉
With time, however, I’ve found out that two skills form a perfect set. I get bored with being one-sided, while double focus introduces enough challenge and variety.
Two practical skills I focus on are the two most prominent aspects that slow me down or make my life more difficult. These are the obvious progress stoppers that I pretend not to notice. But I know them. And you know them too.
You know what stops you from making progress, don’t you?
If you master the two skills you need, you will become so much more free to act. You will experience a huge leverage in many areas of your life. Believe me, the impact is much bigger than you can imagine. Not to mention that you will boost your confidence, a priceless gain.
The challenge of phone calls
I don’t particularly like phone calls. I love face to face contacts and emails, but phone calls are not my piece of cake. As you know, they are, however, an absolute necessity in many situations. This includes doctor appointments, gathering information, canceling subscriptions, solving bureaucratic mistakes, etc.
Making a call used to be a dreadful experience for me embedded in a day of suffering. Just a single call. Until I finally admitted that I was fed up. “Time to grow” I thought. So, I decided to develop the skill of telephone conversations. And, now, I can handle them pretty well.
Working on a skill
How do I work on a skill? I do not set very specific goals of what I want to achieve. Instead, I hold a vivid imagination of whom I want to become in my improved version of self. In my mind’s eye I will observe myself exercising the skill with joy and ease. A detailed vision is important as I will be repetitively checking my progress against it during the year.
I start by defining where I stand and where I want to go. First, I describe to myself and imagine the ideal me. Next, on the positive note, I acknowledge what I have already done in the direction of this ideal. Then, by going backward from the ideal to the current, I experience in my mind’s eye the steps that should have been taken to move me so far. I basically work backwards to arrive at the now in order to the nesting of the steps. This allows me to set a clear path of development. Finally, I take the easiest or more obvious step in that direction and work by taking steps with an increasing level of difficulty.
In case of telephone conversations, I first focused on calling family and friends. Just before dialing a number I practiced a 30-sec mental quietness, something that I follow meticulously to this day. I did it to restore my positive energy and ensure my best mood. Finally, I started to call for appointments. Then I followed with re-scheduling appointments or gathering information. Later I proceeded to calls about changing contracts with various providers. Finally, I ended up with complaints and solving problems.
In all this, I made an agreement with myself to simply 1) quiet my mind, 2) think what to say 3) pick up a phone and 4) call. No delays. No procrastination. No mind chatter. Just action.
Over the year I pro-actively looked for opportunities to practice my skill. I created new opportunities. I volunteered to get information or solve problems. I deliberately said ‘yes’ to any call to be made. As a result of this exercising, I can call almost anybody in any situation. I still don’t particularly like it but I have the skill to do it well if I want to. And this is great.
One of the skills I develop this year is the skill of producing results. (You are curious what is the other skill, aren”t you?) This means I choose to practice the Pareto rule. You know, the 20% of effort translates into the 80% of results, while the remaining 80% of effort goes into the 20% of results. I am a master of beautifying the details so I know about the latter. But this year I am to master how to produce results. This means:
- I choose results in favor of ideas.
- I choose to act even if I am not 100% sure.
- I choose to deliver even if things are neither perfect nor smooth.
- I choose to bring something to the world even if these are only half-baked ideas.
- I want to set my mark, draw a big picture and present a skyline. The tiny details? I will work them out in time….
Every day I choose to immerse myself in thinking about results. I choose to prioritize so that my actions can lead to results. I choose to cherish my excitement about getting results. I simply want the results. And I want them desperately.
I imagine them to be. I feel them. I hear them. I smell them. I taste them. They are there, in me, impatient to get out and see the world. And I am here to make it happen. To produce results.
What about you?
This year is a year of tremendous opportunities for you. Which skills do you choose to master? They are there, begging for your attention. Let them out. Make them to be!
I imagine them to be. I feel them. I hear them. I smell them. I taste them. They are there, in me, impatient to get out and see the world. And I am here to make it happen. To start producing results.
What about you?
This year is a year of tremendous opportunities for you. Which skills do you choose to master? They are there, begging for your attention. Let them out.
Make them to be!
Photo credit Worlds In Focus, available under Creative Commons licence on Flickr.