4 steps to leading and living with courage next year
Here we are, 2023 rising in front of us like the sun, whether we’re ready or not!
We believe every day can be a “New Year’s Day” in terms of new possibilities and intention-setting, but what a natural time of year to reflect on what happened last year in your life and business. What a gift to have the opportunity to set mindful intentions on what the new year can be.
As you probably know from years of setting New Year’s resolutions, most don’t end up working out. That happens for myriad reasons ranging from setting goals that are too generic to not having a solid infrastructure in place to help you achieve them.
Living 2023 with maximum courage
Beyond helping you set specific goals for yourself or your business, we want to teach you how to access the courage needed to achieve any of your goals.
Before digging in, we invite you to block off some time to reflect on your learnings last year and set your intentions for this coming year. Try not to do this thinking while you’re doing other tasks. Mark off some distraction-free time – 30-60 minutes, so you can hear your thoughts.
While we don’t want to live in the past, the past is an essential compass we can use for the future.
What did you learn? What do you want to build on? How do you want to adapt based on your experiences?
Step 1: Reflections exercise
Time to think about what happened in 2022.
What worked well this last year?
What unexpected things happened?
What did not work well for you this last year?
What goals did you hit?
What goals did you not hit?
What are your ambitions for the next year?
Here is a “Circle of Life” tool we like to use when thinking about these questions.
Example: Be Courageous’ 2022 Learnings
Step 2: Build a courage system
Let’s set goals, with a system of courage for you to achieve all the things!
Answer these questions:
- What do you need at your core in order to be able to lead and live with more courage to achieve these goals? (Hint: See the circle of life wheel above – what makes you strong?)
- What tiny improvements can you make that will lead you to a fortified core?
(We’ve found the best way to achieve goals is 1% daily improvements, as illustrated here.)
3. What are your big, audacious goals and ambitions you will lean on your courage for in 2023?
These will be your “growth goals.”
4. Who will be in your accountability community?
Who do you need to be in proximity to to help you achieve your goals, and what can you offer them in return. Also, who might you need to spend less time with in order to stay courageous toward your growth goals?
5. To make your growth goal(s) tangible, what is the single most important north star that will keep you on track? (Aka, your purpose?)
In a recent leadership workshop, we facilitated a group of leaders from the wealth management industry helping them set goals for their company and teams. We walked through some of the above questions, and one of the leaders got tears in his eyes. “It’s really hard for me to think of what my team and company should do, because I don’t even ask myself these questions.”
One of his personal growth goals was to retire in the near future. But he hadn’t built any bridges or strengthened his core leadership bench toward this goal. In doing this work, we developed a plan for him to build a community of leaders around him who could help take over his legacy sooner than later.
The exercises work best if you do them for yourself, then hand them to your team.
At Be Courageous, we do the same exercises we ask our clients to do. Based on our reflections last year, we looked at our goals and figured out how we’ll strengthen our core.
- Growth goal(s)
We will elevate our curiosity. We believe things may get worse before better, so to strengthen our core, we’ll focus on adaptability. For example, for clients going through budget concerns, we can break our larger programs into micro-programs. We will continue being the champions of courage by completing a book and the world’s largest academic study on courage.
- Tiny improvements
We will meet more frequently as a team to make sure everyone is feeling psychologically strong and foster curiosity and adaptability. To enable more curiosity, we will implement a 15-min per week “curious window” the team can use to learn something new (i.e., hit “surprise me” on Google or listen to a new podcast).
We will expand our strong community. For example, I am participating in the “Visionary of the Year” program with other business leaders to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We want to surround ourselves with other positive leaders and companies who are interested in helping the world while doing great business.
- Our North Star/Purpose continues to be to “Courage the Future” and positively impact 1B million moments of courage.
Step 3: Evaluate yearly intentions regularly
Be open to late-binding decisions. Setting intentions for the year is powerful, but we no-one has a crystal ball to tell us what will happen.
Evaluate your intentions every month, because in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world, external or internal events may happen to change you where you want to go.
Step 4: Create your future
The most important reason to do the exercises above is to learn how to master creating your future and how to lead and live with more courage.
None of your goals will come to fruition unless you actively set intentions and go after them.
Need help making courage a habit? Here’s a daily practice!
And reach out, we can guide you into your best year yet.