Jan 3

Caring Self Leadership – How to choose the New Year Resolution that suits you best – and stick to it.

Gerrit Pelzer
Gerrit Pelzer is a Leading Executive Coach in Thailand. His passion is helping busy executives get off the hamster wheel and unleash their full potential.

With the help of The Care Guys you have been a caring leader throughout the year. Now, at the beginning of the year it is not only the time to reflect how you have cared for others over the last 12 months. It is also the time to consider how well you have taken care of yourself. If you conclude that there is still room to improve areas in your professional or personal life, then this might be the right time to make some New Year resolutions as well.

But wait a moment… What about the resolutions of last year or the year before? Did you hold on to them for the whole year? Or how long did it take until they were forgotten?

I observe it every year in the gym: in the beginning of January, the gym is crowded with enthusiastic people, and the manager has a big smile on his face. Week after week, there will be less people, and about mid of February, attendance will drop back to the usual level…

However, there are people who do make a change. What do these people differently from the six-weeks-athletes?

Personally, I find it very frustrating when I do not keep a promise to myself. Growing wiser over the years though, I learned the keys to “self-motivation”. So, here is what makes a difference between “I should do” and “I will do”:

First of all, it’s so much easier when my objective is my own personal objective, and not somebody else’s. For instance in my former company it was somehow expected that everybody’s motivation was to climb the corporate ladder. Bosses would try to motivate everyone with the same carrot: a promotion to the next management circle or a seat in the board of directors of a joint venture. Rarely was I asked about my personal goals – and to be honest, often I did not give myself much time to think about these either. My goal seemed to be a career, becoming a director as soon as possible – and earning the corresponding compensation. And so I functioned as I was expected to function. Almost. In twelve years in the corporate world I got promoted every two years. I did well. But I did not excel. Because obviously something was missing. What was missing was a true purpose. I realized that the senior manager was just a role I played because of other people’s expectations. Although I enjoyed that role to a certain extent, it was not really me.

Once I understood what my goals in life are, I experienced a totally different quality of motivation. I felt a drive and flow which was not known to me throughout my professional life before: I completed my Certified Professional Coach Program in only eight months. My days were packed with work from early mornings until late at night, but it did not feel like work: I enjoyed it!

But still like anyone else I experience motivational lows at times. Times when it is difficult to move into action. In these times, the pain and pleasure principle works well for me: I make clear to myself what pain I will have to endure if I do not change. What will it ultimately cost me if I stay where I am right now?

To continue with the example of the career change, I asked myself how many hours per day, how many years of my life I would “waste” if I stayed in my current job. And the number was just too high. This was definitely something I had to move away from.

On the other side, what did I want to move towards to? What pleasures would I gain if I changed my career? Most probably I would gain a lot! All my life I was concerned about helping people. As a coach, not only would I be able to help individuals to live the live that they dream of, I would also have the opportunity to contribute to society by implementing caring leadership in corporations. Wow, that was indeed a compelling picture!

The next key to success on the key ring is consistency. You don’t achieve outstanding results in a huge one-time effort. It took Usain Bolt only 9.58 seconds to be awarded with a gold medal and set a new world record for the 100m sprint. But how many hours and how much sweat did he invest every single day to be prepared for these 10 seconds? This is what we tend to forget.

In  my case, I got concerned about finding a healthy balance between all the work which I put on my shoulders and recreation. I like Yoga, because it effectively combines physical exercise and mental relaxation. And I remember when my coach asked me: “Well, how often do you think you can do Yoga per week?” “Hmmm… at least 2 times a week must be doable. If I can, I will squeeze in more, but two is possible as a minimum,” I replied. “So, two times per week. Is this something you want to commit to?” Of course I wanted, and it helped me tremendously to make this “official” commitment, knowing that someone else will hold me accountable. In addition, I put Yoga sessions into my calendar; just like a business meeting or another important appointment which I would not reschedule. Routine makes achievement a lot easier.

The last and most important aspect of making changes is that it must be enjoyable along the way. Let’s say you plan to accomplish a great goal in three years, maybe a new 100m dash world record. Wouldn’t it be stupid to only work hard and without joy every day? Wouldn’t it be foolish to allow yourself only to be happy once when you will have achieved your goal? We all strive for happiness, and in my opinion, one main purpose in life is to experience happiness every day.

Maybe you want to take these thoughts into account when you decide about your New Year resolutions 2011. May you make your dreams come true! Happy New Year.

Gerrit Pelzer

This entry was posted on Monday, January 3rd, 2011 at 03:10 and is filed under Leadership, Management. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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  1. When I worked in the mangement circle , my life energy had used ALL to meet their target. I felt pround for a while and then the circle start again by the same carrot. This aricle remind me to walk into my life resolution. Thanks.