Every year at about this time, I sit down and review the year that is about to end and start planning for the New Year about to begin. The review is very detailed, including what I have achieved across multiple areas of business and life, and what lessons I learned and what I am most grateful for.
This year is no different, other than 1 key area. I have now recognised that it is also the season to be quitting! As we look at life and business, there are ever increasing demands on our time and attention, and knowing that we are unable to create more time to get things done, something must give. We must create space. A Zen Master once said ‘Empty your tea cup; how can you have some of my tea if your tea cup is full?’
So in order to create next year as our most extraordinary year yet, we must empty our tea cup. In other words, we must quit some things. Here is a list of things to consider quitting as you set up 2016 to be exceptional :
- Quit going with the flow. In leadership and in life, many people love going with the flow – ‘what will be will be’, not wanting to rock the boat, keeping a low profile and ‘flying under the radar’. Well the only thing that goes with the flow is dead fish. Become more purposeful, create a specific intent for your career, life and/or business, and get going. Start swimming upstream, against the flow!
- Quit procrastinating. Isn’t it interesting that we humans seem to think we have all the time in the world? If we have 4 weeks to complete a project, we will take 4 weeks, even though the project could be completed in 1 week! Time is the only finite resource we have; in fact, each day is broken down into 96 15 minute increments. Make each 15 minute increment count, and get on with it. Quit procrastinating.
- Quit accepting lower standards – of yourself and of others. This can equate to mediocrity. Stop accepting ‘near enough is good enough’, because it is not. Set some much higher standards for yourself and higher expectations of others, and stretch yourself to step up to the higher standard. And when others perform at levels not living up to the expectations you have set, don’t let them off the hook – call them on it. You will be so glad you did, as they may be as well.
- Quit those toxic relationships. You know the ones I mean – the people around you that seem to suck the oxygen out of the room. Life is way too short to surround yourself with ‘glass half empty’ people – set them free and allow them to find another room to suck the oxygen out of. Surround yourself with people who will support you and keep the oxygen flowing to maintain the group or team.
- Quit playing small. When it comes to goal setting, it never ceases to amaze me how many people set goals that they think they can achieve. And when they achieve them, it is almost like ‘oh good, another goal reached’ – no emotion and no energy. They are playing way too small. When setting goals, the goals should be so big, that on the one hand they excite you and get your creative juices flowing, and on the other hand, they scare the living daylights out of you because you have no idea on how you are going to achieve them. Set big hairy goals!
- Quit doubting yourself. Our world is created by what we see and what meaning we give what we see. In other words, we project onto the world our inner thoughts and views of ourselves. What appears on the outside is what is happening on the inside. It is time to quit doubting yourself and begin empowering and uplifting thoughts and affirmations. You have so much incredible value to share with the world – express it.
- Quit changing your mind. So many people change their mind as often as they change their underwear and they wonder why they do not achieve their outcomes. Successful people will make decisions quickly (and they are very clear on their criteria for good decisions) and change their mind very slowly, if at all. Unsuccessful people make decisions slowly and change their mind quickly and often, because they either have no criteria for decision making or are not sure of the criteria. Drive decisiveness and consistency through quitting changing your mind.
- Quit comparing yourself to anyone else. This can be extremely challenging, particularly if you are in sales or a team based environment where there is a ‘performance ladder’. However, as difficult as it can be, the only person you should be comparing yourself to, is yourself. Focus on being better today than you were yesterday, and better tomorrow than you are today. And find a model who you can emulate and learn from, through observation.
- Quit believing that you have arrived or have learned all you need to learn. One of the greatest attributes of extremely successful people is that they are always learning, always looking to move to the next level. They understand that you never arrive, there is always another level to climb to, and they are committed life long learners. Get out of your own way and keep learning and growing.
- Quit quitting (giving up). As you look back over the year 2015, how many things have you given up on, that if you had have continued, you would have achieved a great result. 2016 is the year to stay the course, to stay in the game. Tenaciousness and persistence pays. You are going to quit quitting!!
So as you complete your review of 2015, and start planning for making 2016 your most exceptional year yet, identify what you need to quit in order to stack the cards in your favour.
May you and your family enjoy a magical festive season, and may your 2016 be extraordinary.
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Thank you for taking the time to read this post – I greatly appreciate it, and welcome comments and feedback. Please feel free to comment below, to follow me on LinkedIn, or to connect via Twitter, or Facebook.
Darren is a Sales Leadership and Sales Performance Coach, Facilitator & Speaker. He is an experienced and committed coach with a background of sales leadership success in large organisations. He applies a genuine focus to coaching and developing high performing sales leaders who are looking to unleash the potential of themselves and their teams.