A bit of New Year philosophy to kick 2015 off seems in order… so here’s some Heraclitus for you – ‘no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.’ Fortunately for us, Heraclitus was better at wise words than he was at curing himself from dropsy (a story worth looking up!).
Given the title of this post and the wise words of Heraclitus, we thought this was a good opportunity to focus back onto some of the fundamental reasons why all of the New Year – New You concepts you’ll be being bombarded with right now are really much ado about the wrong things.
A high performer has a constant desire to improve – a specific date on the calendar can never provide you with the permission to make wholesale changes and waiting for just one day to then make a ridiculous amount of commitments, all at the same time, goes a long way to explaining the failure rate of New Year resolutions. If you’ve got a constant desire to improve from your current base of competence, then you’ll be focusing your energies on the right things and you’ll be enjoying finding out what the best next refinement to your recipe is. If you’re waiting for a specific date to make changes, you’ll be doing it to change everything you’ve told yourself isn’t good enough about you and you can no longer tolerate. Such changes are usually done to stop being a certain way, rather than finding changes that you want to make because they add to what you already like about you.
High Performance is about building on strengths – as alluded to in the point above, it’s important to remember that before you default to beating yourself up about the weaknesses that are holding you back, make sure you’ve held yourself accountable for strengthening your strengths and ensuring that they’re being used in the most appropriate way for the specific conditions you’re performing in right now. We tend to be lazy with strengths – we take them for granted, so assume they’re strong enough and we don’t typically think about making sure they’re being applied with full impact to meet the specific needs of changing contexts. So, the high performers are regularly strengthening their strengths, so the New Them, is simply an even more Improved Them, rather than a Less Weak Them.
A high performer focuses on the right things – Much of the NEW YOU nonsense is focused on creating a different version of yourself, some time in the future. Everything becomes about the end goal, rather than thinking about giving yourself a daily focus of doing the right things, in the right way, to the best of your ability, in a way that gives you satisfaction. Same Old You is focused on taking great pride in PERFORMING one day at a time using your tried and trusted recipes to achieve the goals and objectives that feel important to you (or that you are required to deliver). If you focus on doing the right things you’ll be able to monitor the progress you’re making and how you’re staying true to your commitments. If you focus just on the end goal, you’ll spend 99.99% of the time feeling bad because you haven’t reached the finish line yet. As the sage advice goes, don’t let the quest for perfection get in the way of progress.
There’s a lot more we could outline, but you get the picture. A winning recipe, that’s designed to consistently help you find out how good you can be in the areas of your life that are important to you, will mean that you’re constantly creating a slightly better version of you. If you want to use the turn of a New Year to renew the commitment to yourself and to re-check whether you still want to find out how good you can be in those areas of your life, then that’s probably pretty sensible. But don’t put pressure on yourself to become a whole NEW YOU, if you’ve been doing a great job of building a version of you that’s driven by some great, daily high performance attitudes and behaviours.
Keep reminding yourself that talent is not enough, that focusing your desire to improve is essential, especially in a world where it’s a lot easier to embrace change than to keep wondering why it has to happen!
Happy New Year. How good can you be?