What is Hope: Realistic Goals, Persistence, and Belief

I sit here in front of the fire on the first day of the year and contemplate what I can do differently to more fully live my life in alignment with my truest self.   I like New Years, as it represents turning the page and starting anew with a clean slate.  It’s also a time to slow down for a little contemplation and reflection.  As I consider the goals I set for myself last year, I’m pleased to say that the one that mattered most was met.  Achieving that big goal, requires that I take all that I learned and up the ante for next year.  While I had some success, other goals did not turn out the way I would have liked.  I find myself feeling extremely disappointed by this fact.  I have a tendency to question and second-guess myself, and frankly it takes effort for me to practice self-compassion.   If I am being completely honest, I don’t like it when I don’t meet my goals.  So today I am doing my best to wrap my head around what created this less-than-expected performance.

I recently read that C.R. Snyder, who spent his career researching to understand what is hope, which he defined as a cognitive process.  “A trilogy of goals, pathways, and agency,” or a function of setting a realistic goal, being both persistent and flexible in your pursuit, and believing in yourself.  So which part of that equation impacted my hoped for outcome last year?  How do I identify the missing element so that I can avoid the same thing happening in the New Year?

When I look back, I begin to see that my missed goal was not realistic, and it wasn’t even that well defined.  I worked tenaciously and persistently, but I wasn’t clear enough in terms of what I was doing and how often I was doing it.  I threw a lot of spaghetti at the wall, but not enough of it stuck.  And as for belief, I was hesitant rather than confident.  The relief I feel is tangible like the sigh that escapes me, when I realize the insanity can stop now.  Thankfully it’s a New Year.

As I begin to take a deeper look, I see something that makes me feel a bit uneasy.  I suspect that I may have set the goal because I felt I should, and without aligning it to the big picture and my talents, values, and purpose.  Geez…what do they say about a plumber always having leaky faucets?

What I am going to say next sounds like some broken record, cliché, whatever, but I just can’t help that.  It dawns on me that everything must be connected to a vision, and regardless of whether the vision is for my relationships, my health and fitness, or my businesses P&L without it I am like some lost soul wandering (I was going to say alone in the desert but it sounds way too dramatic) with no idea of where they are, or where they are going.  For this vision to be inspired or inspiring, it will link directly to my talents, purpose, mission, and values, or the very essence of who I am.

My husband and I recently went through a values clarification exercise as a way to align and support each other more completely.  We discovered that we shared one third of the values we individually selected.  We are in the process of creating some art for our family room that we will put on display as a constant reminder of what is most important to us individually and collectively. We decided to take this step before revisiting our individual vision and purpose.  Then we can look for alignment, set individual and collective goals, and update our relationship agreements.

We are in the process of working on vision and purpose and have decided to write individual letters and then share them with each other.  One way to revisit vision and purpose is to have your future-self write your present-self a letter. The subject line might be something like, My Ideal Life.  Set a timeframe of one, three, or five years.  I have done this in the past as a way to imagine what I want my world to look like when I wake up at some future place and time.  In the letter I describe in great detail things like; where I will live or work, what activities I am participating in, how my work has changed or evolved, the quality of my relationships, what I have accomplished, and so on.  In coaching circles we would call this a future-self exercise.  Really dig into the quality of the feelings this evokes in you.  And dream big…you can pull on the threads that make it both realistic and attainable if you decide to set specific goals and move in that direction.

It’s never too late to do the heavy lifting.  If you haven’t spent time reflecting on the progress you made this past year, do it now.  Get clear about what you want to create in the New Year.  Explore what matters most, identify what you have to offer, and envision a future that links those things to what the world needs now from you.

How are you checking in on both the inside and the outside to see if you are aligned?

If you like this blog, I think you will like my book The Cycle of Transformation. Available now!
HighResolution_Warnke_ DebSiverson20121208-9332-EditDeb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement by having a different conversation at work, contact us now.


Strategic Planning Template: Year End Considerations

In Part 2 of my blog series on Reflection and Goal Setting, I examine the Six Considerations for Xponents as we prepare to leap into the New Year by remembering the best of who we are, what we have learned, and what we are hearing from others.  Use these six considerations as a strategic planning template, as you prepare for the next stage.  Next week in Part 3, I will explore what we will bring with us into the New Year and the goals that will support our ongoing growth and evolution.

  1.  Your Product/Service – At Xponents we can’t afford to rest on our laurels.  We will continue to develop our products based on what our customers need.  We determine customer s’ needs by listening to them and looking at consistent themes we see across various industries and groups.  There is clearly a call for more virtual programs to minimize travel expense.  Watch for announcements in the first quarter on which programs we have migrated onto a virtual platform.  You will also hear us talking more about The Power of Why; Bringing Vision, Values, Purpose, and Mission to Work.
  2. Your Customer – Customers are laser focused on minimizing cost while maximizing learning opportunities.  Requests for virtual programs are on the rise.  At Xponents we continue to look for ways to deliver virtually when it makes sense through the use of blogs, web conferencing, and other means.  We will also stay focused on ways to harness the rich knowledge and experience of the baby boomers and provide solutions to support developing future leaders.  The window of opportunity to address the leadership gap that the retiring baby boomers will create in the next several years is now.  I also see opportunities to enhance communication and coaching skills in managers to improve engagement, reduce turnover, and drive performance.  Many experienced managers today seem to be struggling to identify what is important to their team.  Teaching managers how to coach individual values is a huge opportunity that will dramatically impact results.
  3.  Your Message– In the New Year we will continue to be the company that facilitates authentic conversations in the workplace.  It is why our newsletter is called Exposed.  Authentic conversations are the key to building trust, focusing attention on the right priorities, and shifting behaviors that create transformational changes.  Our mission is to model that transparency and authenticity in everything we do.
  4.  Your People – During the planning process we identify developmental and training opportunities.  For myself, I budget each year to attend training for a new certification, or to enhance my skills to better serve my customers.   Each of us determines what we need to become more effective and successful, and while I can offer suggestions it is a personal decision.  I am in the process now of asking each of my team what they want or need in terms of professional development.  For myself, I’m leaning toward gaining certification for the Leadership Circle assessment this year.  I also would value attending the training by Christina Baldwin on circle dialogue.  Last year I attended facilitator training with Arnie and Amy Mindell and I would certainly benefit from more work with that amazing duo.  While there is always room for each of us to grow and develop, I feel confident that I have the right team in place to hit the ground running in 2012, both in terms of internal employees and through alliance partnerships that have been strengthened this past year.
  5.  Your Money – I made some purchases this year to update our systems and software.  We purchased a new server, two new desktops, a lap top, and an iPad.  We also updated all of our productivity software and our accounting software.  I have also been persistent in laying the foundation this year for our CRM and lead generation process.  We did have a substantial lift in revenue last year, and I credit that to improved consistency in our contact management strategy.  This will continue to be a focus for us in 2012.  We will also invest in the ASTD trade show this year, which will be in Denver May 2012.  That has proven to be a wise investment in years past.

I hope this strategic planning template will help you sort out what happens next to create even more success.   Schedule time now, and see how we can help with your strategic planning.


If you like this blog, I think you will like my book The Cycle of Transformation. Available now!
HighResolution_Warnke_ DebSiverson20121208-9332-EditDeb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement by having a different conversation at work, contact us now.