2023 – LET’S GO FOR IT!
I trust that you had an enjoyable festive period and a time of refreshing for you and your loved ones in order to take on the exciting journey of 2023. During the holiday period I also had time to reflect on the past year and what will inform the journey of 2023. I am sure that most of you went through similar thought processes recently, resulting in what some might call vision or action plans or new year resolutions ( or is it revolutions? ) for 2023.
Each year is an opportunity for new beginnings and a fresh start. Some of us might endeavor this year to lose weight and maintain a healthier lifestyle, get out of debt, break a destructive habit, complete a long outstanding project, invest more in family life, accomplish a learning and self-improvement goal, deepen our spiritual life, exit a relationship or strengthening an existing one…. These are all noble intentions and there is absolutely nothing wrong in making New Year resolutions. Regrettably, a study done by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions, never follow through with it. One of the main reasons why New Year resolutions are not being accomplished, is that we take on a long shopping list of stuff and in the process loses focus.
THE POWER OF FOCUS
Focus is that rare ability to productively progress in pursuit of our stated objective, regardless of the compelling distractions that might come our way. It is a conscious decision amidst competing options that acts as a compass on our journey of life. It energizes us, increases our output and our capacity is not wasted on peripheral matters.
There are a lot of things you and me can do this year that will keep us busy. However the critical question to be answered is – what is the singular most important thing that I have to do that a year from now, will put my life at a much more favorable level? For some of us it might be to become a great father to our families, a great and supportive wife to your husband, a great thought leader that helps to shape the development of others in your area of expertise or a trusted friend and confidant who unselfishly assists someone to navigate the difficult phases in life. Others might be a talented sportsperson, artist, writer, entrepreneur, politician, doctor, community worker, spiritual leader … whose greatness inspires others.
Given some of the challenging trends already looming on the horizon for 2023, will warrant from us to be relentless in taking charge of our priorities and eliminate any destructive distractions. Never be reactive to things that appears ‘’urgent‘’ at the moment in time, but proactively focus on what really matters. If your agenda is driven by the perceived urgent, you will be in perpetual crisis mode.
Before you decide on that singular important thing that you need to do this year in order to move your life forward, spend some time to reflect on the 2022 journey. What prevented you from reaching your intended objectives and what needs to be done to focus forward with a sense of purpose? If we do not spend time in reflection, we will plunge into 2023 with the same approach, yet expecting a different result. One therefore needs to spend time and effort in understanding how to draw one’s intentions and desires out of the deep reservoirs of your heart to the surface, so that it make sense and be practically implementable. This all starts with the critical process of envisioning. Dr Myles Munroe once said ‘’Purpose is when you know and understand what you were born to accomplish. Vision is when you see it in your mind and begin to imagine.“ Vision is a very powerful driving force.
The following are key considerations in the envisioning process:
- Foresight: It is like using a telescope to look beyond the immediate into the distant galaxies. Great visionaries like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Florence Nightingale, Thomas Edison, Peter Drucker to name but a few, all connected to the future way beyond their current reality.
- Insight: Getting to grips with the granular detail as if looking through a microscope. Visionaries first acquaint themselves with the facts through observation, deduction, introspection and discernment; then process it appropriately to move the process forward.
- Hindsight: Self-awareness for example when driving, implies that one should not only be aware what is happening in front of you but have your rear and side mirrors properly adjusted to have an optimal view, thus preventing accidents. Likewise, though vision is futuristic, there is a lot we can learn from past experiences to prevent future mistakes.
KEEPING THE VISION ON TRACK
Just a few pointers in sharpening your focus and prevents you from drifting:
- Write it down: Once you have clarity on what the end picture should look like, write it out in a manner that is simple, powerful, brings about connectedness, passion and energy. If reading it does not excites you, it’s very unlikely to set the world alight.
- Create a well-structured plan for your vision. This should factor in issues such as what resources need to be deployed to bring the vision to fruition and your mental fortitude to handle potential obstacles.
- Act on the plan. Pastor Ray McCauley once made quite a profound statement that really revved me up ‘’ Effective people know that you do not have to be great to start, but start to be great.” If you do not act on your plan, it will just remain a hollow slogan.
- Put systems and processes in place that will act as enablers to make implementation possible.
- Authentic feedback. Have a few key people in your life that can act as an accountability structure from which you can solicit authentic feedback. Getting authentic feedback, will enable you to initiate corrective action timeously and keep the vision on track.
May God grant us the wisdom and understanding this year to appreciate the enormity of our responsibility and the implications it might have on ourselves, immediate family, colleagues and the broader society in which we are operative. What we focus on for this year, might have generational implications. We simply do not have the luxury of time to go about life casually and give undue attention to those whose only intent is to distract us from our assignment in life. What is this important task that you need to focus on for this year? What is your life defining statement for 2023?
Given the vexing socio-economic challenges facing the world in general and our country in particular, will warrant our collective ingenuity. We are confronted by a new set of challenges as well as boundless opportunities in 2023. Will you show up?
Let’s go for it!!