Every one of us has areas we need to improve upon to be the leaders we want to be. Most of us believe that we’re working diligently toward our goals, but occasionally we get feedback that our skills aren’t developing as well as we think.
As human beings, we’re great at setting intentions, but execution can be another story. Think about the fate of most New Year’s resolutions, or a quote often attributed to Mark Twain, “Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it a thousand times.”
A recent experience with my Apple watch revealed how I, like many people, am skilled at the practice of self-deception. I set the watch to remind me to do 5 minutes of mindfulness (breathing) every day. “I’m a regular meditator,” I told myself, “This should be no problem.” For three weeks, I used my watch to track my meditation. I was surprised when my watch told me that I was only doing this practice three or four times a week.
Confronted with three weeks of data, I felt compelled to decide if I was committed to mindfulness or not. I decided that I wanted to do this, so I redoubled my effort and am doing it every day. This is why companies use key performance indicators to keep themselves focus on what really matters.
Inspired by Marshall Goldsmith, I began tracking other behaviors: developing new skills, building professional relationships, and resisting the urge to shoot the messenger, to name a few. Every day I scored myself on a scale from 1-10 for each item on my list. The question I asked myself for each item: Did I do my best to ____________ today?
I found that the for items that I was really committed to, I was making progress. The behaviors that I was trying to cultivate were becoming more habitual, like mindfulness. For items that I couldn’t develop any traction around, I asked myself the same question that I asked about mindfulness practice. Am I committed to changing this thing or not?”
We all want to be the best we can be. Tracking our ownership of our intentions can make all the difference. I’ve also found that working with a coach amps up my accountability and results. There’s nothing like having to report results to someone else on a regular basis. There’s no place to hide.
Making changes in ourselves is hard work. When we give ourselves the necessary scaffolding, our chances for success increase dramatically.
QUESTION: What support works best for you when you make changes in yourself?
Leadership/Career Coach Kris Ishibashi works with leaders to bring together their skills, their authentic selves, and their intentions to inspire their organizations to superior performance. Click here to set up a complimentary consultation.