I’ve been prompted this week in my own development about setting goals rather than drifting along and hoping for the best and I wanted to share this with you. When I was a very young kid, I remember that we had an old black Austin Wolseley. I remember the leather seats and the ‘horse’ in the back – which is where I would sit. My sister and brother to either side of me and mum and dad in the front.
On occasional Sunday’s when dad wasn’t preaching or we weren’t going to Grandma’s, we would be treated to a Sunday drive. [player] One particular time, we went to Redhill in Kent, southern England. This was long before the M25 motorway went past this particular spot and we parked the old Wolseley at the top of the hill, unloaded the picnic blanket and the basket of treats.
I rolled down the hill with my siblings and had to be carried back up exhausted. It was a beautiful sunny autumn day and life was good. Those Sunday’s were special.
We never knew where we would end up. Finding new places to enjoy. Those Sunday drives became less frequent as I grew older. By the time I was around 11, they stopped altogether. And I missed those Sunday drives. I wanted to spend the day drifting around and stumbling across some beautiful corner of England. A day when I could drift along and be taken for a journey somewhere and just enjoy myself.
They’re drifting along being carried by the current and the winds of life. Sometimes they enjoy it, but most days they moan about the place they’ve ended up. And of course, it’s not their responsibility to take themselves somewhere more exciting. No that’s what somebody else “should” be doing for them.
Now, I’m no botanist, but in my experience, when a plant is not growing, it’s dying. If you don’t water or feed your plants, or tend the garden for weeds and pests, then your plants will wither and die.
I’ve found the same happens to the lives of people. When we don’t feed and water our own growth and take responsibility for tending our life for choking weeds and pests, we too will begin to die. A little at a time. My ability and character as a leader similarly needs to continuously grow and mature, be fed and nourished, weeded and cleaned of pests and problems.
Of course, there’s the fear that if I grow too fast and too big, well I’ll just be the tall poppy and as my peers try desperately to bring me down, and my bosses chop my head off first because I’m too visible.
Imagine what it takes to plan a journey from Singapore to Bintan. I know that Bintan is a little south of Singapore, I know that there are ferry services to get there, so I’ll just head to the coast, find the first ferry heading south and get on board.” That would be crazy right? No, first you’ll fire up Google and search for the right ferry, choose which service, what time, get a ticket, and so on and so forth. It takes a little planning. Every journey can be broken down into manageable steps or goals.
These act as milestones along the way to make sure we’re still headed in the right direction, making good and timely progress. Any journey worth taking requires a little effort to plan and prepare.
Your journey to leadership success is no different. Each goal is a milestone on your journey indicating your progress and providing direction to the next goal. And if you go off track, you can easily get back on track.
So where would you like your leadership ability and character to be a month from now?