The end of the year is drawing near. Are you fully present to lead the opportunities in front of you? You must separate the essentials from the noise. Are you fully engaged in your growth opportunities right here, right now? Here is a Zen Koan for the season: Tomorrow always appears in successive todays. Are you preparing today for your opportunities next year?
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Cast Your Net
Every season and every New Year brings in a flux of growth opportunities and challenges, and energy to address both. Each year, I begin to cast the net for the New Year in October. It’s a great time to focus, reflect, explore ideas, and deliberate on options. I use this annual net casting to bring myself up to date on all aspects of my work and life. As I do this, it helps me build readiness and prepare to catch the fish that want to jump in my net.
What do I include in this annual reflective visioning?
I harvest learning and wisdom from my journey so far; I identify needs, trends and directions and I draw future plans and possibilities. This process starts in October and I keep working at it through the end of the year. Building this layer upon layer helps me to cast a wider net and provides time to breathe in and out the full scope of work and life; to capture ideas, connect the dots and distill new intelligence.
My net-casting deliberation includes reflecting on certain questions. Some questions need time to simmer and percolate to help me engage the full spectrum of insight available in the three speeds of the mind. Before I share with you my net-casting questions, here is a key understanding about the three speeds of your mind; or better still, the three minds plus the fourth.
Your Three Minds
To bring forward the best insights, wisdom and ideas you must engage your whole mind: the Snap Mind, the Ponder Mind and the Weaver Mind. The fourth mind is the Self-reflective Mind that oversees these three and allocates and directs attention where it sees fit. The Self-reflective Mind is asleep most of the time but when awake it moves into self-surveillance and listens. Then it offers diagnostic value and calibrates your focus as you engage your three mind speeds:
1. Snap is your fast mind.
It delivers quick, snap judgments of the situations you look at. The Snap is the biological product of evolution and the survival need. It is often referred to as “gut” and “instinctive” response. You should always listen and hear the Snap mind but you must be choiceful and not always act on its conclusions. You are interested in the information it delivers up to you. You do not want to dismiss or suppress the snap insight, but in most situations, unless faced with life threatening conditions, you want to engage the Ponder Mind and the Weaver Mind before you take action.
2. Ponder is your medium-speed mind.
You engage the Ponder Mind when you say: ‘Let me sleep on it’. This is one of the ways you get the Ponder Mind to work out an issue. Your Ponder Mind involves your semi-conscious and unconscious processes. As you ponder, you activate and summon added intelligence and insight. Pondering is by nature slower as your Ponder Mind works to connect seemingly unrelated data points to form a picture that was previously not visible. Your Ponder Mind includes your latent intuition. It’s the knowing sense you get the following morning or a couple of days after you have considered an issue, where all of a sudden you have a clear sense of what options are good and what you should not do.
The Ponder Mind delivers up ideas when you are not focusing squarely on a problem, when you are in the shower, or running or just watching TV. This works best when you are working on a question or set of questions that you have seeded in your semi-conscious filing system. In this KEY I suggest you use this time of the year to cast a net of questions to trigger the pondering mind.
3. The Weaver is your slower mind.
The Weaver mind is responsible to help you analyze thoroughly and perform your due diligence. The function of the Weaver Mind is to produce thoroughness of deliberation, to weave all parts together and engage your analytical thinking and study. Weaving involves the interlacing of two sets of threads – warp and weft. In the Weaver Mind you interlace opportunities with challenges. It weaves content and form, input and desired outcome. And it weighs options and risk-reward ratios. Your loom is the framework you create. And the Weaver Mind loves frameworks that enable thorough evaluation.
As you begin to cast your net you call upon these three minds to ponder and weave together a larger net. Casting your net is a process that makes you more ready for golden opportunities to find you now and in the new year.
The Three Horizons
In our work with outstanding leaders and executive teams we focus on creating dramatic new futures for people and organizations. In these engagements we help teams design their future in three horizons. Horizon Three is the far-out future (three to five years or longer). Horizon One is the immediate future (next week to four months). Horizon Two is the space in between where you can escape the gravity of the here and now to shape the way of the future (nine to 18 months). As you engage in casting your net for the year to come, you too can move back and forth in and through these horizons.
* To engage your team and help you develop your strategy to grow and transform your business write to me.
Casting Your Net
Here are a series of questions I use in my cast-up process. I encourage you to copy these to a working document or print them out and journal about them. You can take yourself on a weekend retreat, or spend a few in-depth sessions or approach this by reflection and journaling 10 to 15 minutes a day through October:
What have I observed and learned this last year?
For example, five trends that came into focus this year for me and that I intend to write more about are:
- Pollinating innovation
- Managed and guided serendipity
- Portfolio careers and serial mastery
- Curating experiences
- The purpose economy
- What helped me gain new perspective? What surprised me? How did I surprise myself?
Click here to review 13 additional questions to include in your net casting.
Now it’s your turn. Turn the Key. Cast your net for the year coming. Build readiness and engage opportunities. This is the time to expand your horizons, to envision better options, to engage new capabilities. Create purposeful and exciting new futures for you, for your organization and for your people.
© Aviv Shahar