Shuckin’ and jivin’ when obstacles arise

I have been reading my 2010 goals daily since January.

They include reaching specific number of placements, revenue goals, recruiter productivity, social media effectiveness, company growth activity, family vacations, home improvement projects, community involvement, etc … oh … and the bicycling goals: mountain bike racing, distant road cycling, fundraiser rides, and being competitive with the local guys.

Well, things don’t always turn out as we plan and we don’t always have full control of the course of events, especially if you are willing to take risks in return for rewards.

One impromptu “reward” that I was seeking was skiing down Mount Washington.  A milestone that I had not thought much about until a friend suggested we go for it.  We skied UP to the top with our climbing skins and some near vertical hiking. I then realized I needed to ski down a steep, narrow, and icy backcountry trail (“Hillman’s Highway”) with only intermediate skills.  Poor planning I guess.

The descent was a nightmare and I tore my ACL.  A guess I need to change my 2010 plans and seek other means of blowing off steam.  For several months I will no longer see myself as a serious cyclists who also is a recruiter and a family man, but instead I am … what? Uh oh, here comes the self concept tension.

This is where the Shuckin’ and jivin’ come into play.  I need to ADAPT and be comfortable with changing my self concept.   I will get jazzed about my family and friends successes, and spend less time thinking about my conditioning and the next race. I will build rapport with my fellow casual gym participants, and become the guru of the one legged stationary recombinant bike.  I may even get a little more comfortable with a simple walk around the block and moderate meals.  Saturday mornings will have less guilt from being away from the family on long rides.

Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise, and I will better appreciate other things in life, avoid burnout, and diversify my hobbies.

The same applies to business. How many of us in 2009 had to temporarily not think of ourselves as Captains of business and technology, but scrappy fighters in a punishing economic climate? We became more focused on our health, family, and communities. We also worked smarter, more resourcefully, with greater creativity, and had greater compassion for those around us.

2010 certainly seems to represent an overall economic improvement, and can resume our myopic focus on reaching our objectives.  But we will lose deals, miss quarterly forecasts, and blow implementations. Of course, our initial and appropriate reaction will be to repeat our goals and persevere – and that is perfectly fine .

However, perhaps some of the adaptation exercises can be carried over to 2010:

  • Maybe a thousand cold calls could be replaced with a two hundred well researched, targeted, and thoughtful discussions?
  • Maybe a lost deal can result in a thoughtful discussion over lunch your prospect about ways to improve your position?
  • Maybe a difficult implementation or POC could result in discussions about better ways to set expectations, manage scope creep, and ask for more resources?
  • Maybe an unreasonable manager or customer causes you to take 20 minutes to walk around the parking lot, call a family member to talk about the upcoming weekend, or play a favorite tune on your ipod?

One of my favorite managers was fond of saying, some times we need to ” not turn up the volume , but change the channel”.

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