June is the Second January


The best way to have a great year is to do a reset halfway through the year. June is the second January. The summer solstice – the longest day of the year – seems to invite you to think about how you are filling these days of more light. Making measurable progress in the things that matter most to you is a vital component to a fulfilling life.  How is your progress so far this year? Perhaps you’ve had a great spring and want to be sure you continue your momentum as summertime sets in. Or maybe your best intentions were interrupted by unforeseen circumstances and you feel frustrated and behind in your goals and aspirations.

It’s never, ever too late to begin again. June can be about new beginnings. And that’s why I’m revisiting thoughts about charting a course for your best year yet.  You can reset & get on track with:

12 Strategies to Chart a Bold Course for Your Best Year Yet

1.  Preparation. Packing well can make all the difference in the way you experience the journey. First, consider what you already have that is useful for the tasks ahead. It’s tempting to always be thinking, “if I just had the latest widget, I’d be all set.” Tools are helpful but don’t look at what you lack, look at what you have in your hand right now. Perhaps it’s a skill that you’ve discounted  that is actually of great value. It could be resources that have become rusty from lack of use. You have been preparing for years and it’s time to press in to see what the next level holds. Don’t diminish the unique assets you carry.  A practical reminder – always travel with a compass. Your core values are your compass on this journey. Core values guide every decision you make and following the directional signals they provide will be essential to your success.

2.  Map your vision. Your vision is the artistic design for your future. Any price is too high without a reason why. Vision and goals are not the same thing. Goals are strategic, practical, and have a time line. Vision is the big picture. You need to refer to both – often.
“You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” ~ Mark Twain

3. Manage your fear. Fear is like fire. It can cook for you and it can heat your house.  Uncontrolled, it can burn everything down. That’s why I don’t tell you to “overcome” fear. When you are doing new things, you are going to feel some fear. Learning to harness it and use it to keep you alert. Managing it means you don’t allow it to paralyze you.

4. Invest in Yourself. Life-long learning is the only path to excellence. What are you reading? What are you doing to grow your talents? Who are you spending time with who provokes you to think? You must either modify your dreams or magnify your skills. Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. What do you need to do to improve your skills?  If what you’ve been doing isn’t giving you the results you want, it’s never too late to learn something new.

5. Stay agile. Agility is a top predictor of high potential leaders. Part of agility is dropping extra weight. Extra weight can come in the form of unforgiveness, stress, or even taking responsibility for issues that aren’t yours to carry. Take inventory and get rid of the old baggage.

6. Identify Your Enemies. Knowing the dangers in your environment keeps you aware and alert. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. You can expect external opposition. It makes sense to meet problems head on. Sometimes, the sabotages that come from within -, in the form of negative attitudes, preconceived notions or destructive mindsets – are more dangerous than external obstacles. The biggest challenge in business isn’t your competition. It’s what goes on inside your own head.- Barbara Cocoran

7. Pace Yourself. We’re approaching the halfway point in the year. Success is not a sprint – it’s a long distance run.  Consistency is everything. It’s amazingly easy to become frustrated as you pursue your calling. There are days of excitement, high energy and vision followed by months of paying the price, doing the work and hoping it’s not all for naught. We want our lives to make a difference. We want our efforts to count. We want to see the fulfillment of what we’ve hoped for. And it typically takes longer than we expected and costs more than we imagined. It takes perseverance and courage. That’s what leadership is made of. Be relentless, but at a pace you can sustain.

8. Make a plan but don’t fall in love with the plan. This is related to agility, but has more to do with the ability to navigate change with courage. Strategies and plans are great but they are not written in stone. Stick to your vision, but adapt your plan.

9. Trust your Gut. You might call it intuition. I like to think of that deep inner sense of knowing the right thing to do as a nudging from God. Regardless of what you call it, pay attention to it. Especially, if you’ve got a bad feeling about something or someone. Your heart knows things your head has yet to figure out.

10. Select your team with care.  Be discerning about who you partner with. When hiring, the best philosophy is “hire slow, fire fast.” Be firm and uncompromising when selecting people who are in synch with your core values and your pace. Set a trial period and if it’s not a fit, deal with it. You can’t afford to carry people. There’s a time and a place for mercy but when you’re planning a strenuous climb, you’d better pick climbers, not people you have to drag up the mountain.

11. Enjoy the Journey. Take time to rest along the way. God created the world in six days and on the seventh day, he rested. That set a pattern for our health and well-being. Unplug, play, and laugh with those you love. Everyone needs times of refreshing.

12. Be a Grape Taster and Giant Chaser. Do you remember that epic story of the 12 spies Moses sent to scout out the Promised Land? Joshua and Caleb were the only two that came back with an optimistic report and were ready to go take the land. The other ten guys had a negative expectancy. Their lack of faith and the unwillingness to take on a difficult task cost a whole nation of people forty years of delay. Giant chasers are willing to recognize obstacles, yet they’re not afraid to pursue God’s best for them.

Giant chasing was also the legacy of the young shepherd boy, destined to be king, in the story of David and Goliath. He used a slingshot and a stone to slay the giant that had an entire army trembling in their boots. Grape tasters and giant chasers don’t shrink back when opportunity is before them. They are leaders – full of vision, positive expectancy and a willingness to take action.

There you have it. These strategies point the way to a proven path that will take you to a higher place with a terrific view.

The choice is yours. You can press in, reach, stretch, climb, and pay the price to enter the land that is your inheritance OR you can settle. I daresay, that’s not living. That’s existing.

Your destiny is in discovering the power and the promise of your unique calling. It’s no longer enough to live in the proximity of commitment. It’s time for action and accountability.

Reset and begin anew- June is the second January!

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