The lesson 2011 taught us all is to be surprised by nothing.
Exactly one year ago, at the end of December 2010, I was asked on a conference call what I anticipated for 2011. My reply was that I felt 2011 would bring many surprises and unforeseen geopolitical and economic events. In a stroke of intuition I added that we could see dramatic events in the Arab world. The call was recorded so I have it on tape; I was closer to anticipating the situation than the major intelligence agencies. The truth is the Arab Spring and the dramatic events that followed surprised everyone, including me. Of course I had no idea when I made this comment in December what I was talking about. 2011 brought other surprises to the world stage and perhaps you also experienced unforeseen changes in your personal and professional journey.
Listen here to our podcast: Top 5 for 2012 - Five things you must work on this year in order to leadership and charisma. We are always glad to hear your comments.
Top 5 for 2012
Be Surprised By Nothing
The top lesson I propose you take forward into 2012 is to be surprised by nothing. Always expect the best and believe in possibilities, but be prepared for any eventuality, wild card and setback. Anything and everything you assume is stable and safe may not be. Look at the world with new eyes. In the next five years there will be very few institutions and structures, if any, that will be left unchanged. You have to be prepared. Surprise can cause shock and sometimes paralysis leading to apathy. Work to lead with initiative. Move in a positive direction. Do not give in to pessimism or defeat. Anticipate that everything is possible and go about creating the momentum of possibility where you engage. Be surprised by nothing. Change also brings rare opportunities.
In a (VUCA) volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world you must simplify. When much is shape-shifting, you must create pockets of clarity, stability and certainty. Separate the complex from the complicated. Reduce, and where possible eliminate unnecessary complications. Do not be overleveraged. Not financially and not emotionally. When momentum is on your side move forward but do not overleverage - not financially and not emotionally. When facts change, you must change with them. Download your own updates which your intuition and subconscious-mind offer for free when you listen. Remember, you are the captain of your soul and of your ship. Realize that at times, standing still is the best response. While in other situations you must take the first step or even the first 100 steps. Simplify your life and act wisely.
You must prioritize how you spend and where you allocate your most precious assets: your Energy, Time and Focus (ETF). Concentrate on the main areas where you can make a difference. It's no longer an 80/20 rule, not even 90/10. The rule now is 95/5. Yes; you need to manage everything else so it doesn't distract you. Be clear and choose proactively to give your best time and energy to those very vital opportunities that create the most value, meaning, and progress in your work and life. You are here to help others. At work you help your clients and your team. In your personal life you help the people that look up to you. Clarity, speed and brevity are of the essence. The faster you help others, the more valuable you are. Lead with clear priorities.
Observe and Listen
Observe, listen and learn. The environment is filled with clues and possibilities. Practice identifying the signs of change. To recognize new opportunities early you must be open minded and free of dogma or a fixed agenda. Become comfortable in the ambiguity of change. It's a fertile ground for growth and for radical breakthroughs. Practice attunement. Listen inside and listen to what catches your attention outside. To listen fast and listen deeply, you need to step back from reactivity and attune yourself to the three speeds of your mind. They each produce different output and value. Look at the word OBSERVE: five-sevenths of the word is serve. The message is simple. The best way to observe is to serve the situation you are in, to be in service of its improvement. To do this, couple an open mind with readiness to engage opportunities that will improve conditions and make everybody better off. Observe, listen and serve.
Why are you here? What's the purpose of you being here at this time? Who will notice and experience loss if you were taken away tomorrow? Your life is not a fluke. You are not here by mistake. You are meaningful. You are purposeful. The very fact that you are here means you are endowed with power to create and transform your world in small and big ways. You are here to help improve the people you engage with and the situations you are in. You are here to help transform your world. Why else would you be here other than to make this place better? To transform it with greater awareness, meaning, significance and connectedness? Develop resilience. Turn challenges and setbacks into opportunities to create radical transformation. You must believe in your ability to add value and create positive outcomes. Your conviction is the immune power of your mind.
Now it's your turn. Turn the key. Be surprised by nothing. Simplify. Prioritize. Observe and Listen. Transform and lead. Make 2012 a year you lived into purpose.
© Aviv Shahar