It’s officially 2020 and I am excited for this new decade! But before I press fast forward and get going, I want to reflect a bit on what people do to prepare themselves for a new year. Some may declare New Year’s resolutions. Some may do a reset … perhaps because I can’t keep a resolution. Others create lists of things to accomplish and check them off as they go. I was delightfully struck by author Chip Conley of Modern Elder Academy’s reference to “To-Do vs. To-Be.”
Our to-do is that list of things we want/need to accomplish, and we get great satisfaction by crossing completed items off. I have been known to add an item that I completed that wasn’t on the list, so to get the pleasure of crossing it off! Conley chimes in and says at the end of the day, this list-crossing-off accomplishment is just a sugar rush. (Well okay… sometimes I’m good with that.) Rather than a to-do list, he suggests creating a “to-be” list. And given that we are just starting out in a new decade, this just might be the perfect time to create a “to-be list.” This list, while important, doesn’t have a sense of urgency. Rather, it causes us to pause, reflect, and think deeply about what the year ahead holds and how each of us will show up.
Conley has four questions that comprise a to-be list and while this list will be fluid and evolving for me, here is my best thinking for what lies ahead for me. Perhaps this will stimulate your “to-be” thoughts.
What are three qualities that will define me more this coming year?
I will be more decisive. As an executive coach, I often look to the individual I am working with to determine the outcome. Sometimes, I fail to offer my insight because I don’t want the solution to be mine. Being wise in the timing of when to provide insight and inspiration will be a key learning for me.
I will choose quality over quantity. While this has been a challenge for me, especially over the past several years, holding myself and those around me to the highest standard versus being spread too thin to be effective resonates deeply for me.
I will be more zealous. I will continue to dedicate my work and my life to something bigger than myself. This fierce passion to help others be successful will continue to drive me.
What are the habits or practices that will allow these qualities to improve?
Simply calling them out and making them a focus will create awareness in how I’m doing. I could have chosen so many others that I also want to define me but limiting myself to three challenged me to be focused and deliberate. Reflecting on them frequently will keep them at the forefront for me. Asking for feedback from my tribe on how I am doing will also be helpful.
What roles or identities do I want to enhance or adopt in the next year?
In my work, I spend most of my time 1:1 with individuals and teams. Things that trigger interest beyond 1:1 time are more writing (articles, journals, blogs), serving on a board for organizations that touch the lives of children and families; continuing to find time to volunteer; and more storytelling (I don’t know exactly what that looks like, but I know what it feels like).
And, what roles or identities am I ready to let go of?
Wow, that’s a tough one. I don’t think there is a role that I am seeking to purge. The most difficult place for me to be in is when a coaching client believes they are done… they have everything they need to be successful and often miss the blind spots. Difficult for me to walk away, but sometimes it is the right decision.
So, how do you respond to Chip Conley’s questions? What lies ahead for you? What’s on your “to-be” list? A great opportunity for reflection and to push us beyond New Year’s resolutions into some deeper thinking in this new year.