I am self reflecting in this blog. Every year brings everyone a new learning. I was once told by my friend,“ Instead of planning what to be done at the beginning of the year, let’s start reflecting the year went at the end. It will inform what you should do next year”
We are in this world where constant education is a constant thing. We learn from books, blogs, videos, by observing others and sometimes good-hearted fellows will come and give you a suggestion. Either way I want to document what I learned. It is possible you do or you learn.
1 Stop Explaining yourself…
People hear, what they want to hear
You never have to explain yourself of your actions. People who require an explanation don’t understand you. People who are close to you, don’t need one. If you feel obligated to explain, you can, but it is waste of time. If you notice, there is a validation pattern here, that you are looking for others to validate your thoughts.
Stop saying… “But I only did it because…”, “No, no, no, what I meant was…”
If you are thinking, what if it is important to make other party understand, you should produce facts leaving out your opinions. Explaining yourself is not going to help the cause.
2 Listen Before You Talk
Silence is a golden Asset
Now that many are operating from their home. We end up with a lot of calls. When we jump in a call to talk right. But remember, listening is an art in itself. People who mastered it are at the helm. Leaders listen. Understand the context to know where they are coming from.
Listening before you talk is like crawling before walking. At the core, these are essential for high quality listening.
- Conveying Understanding
- Showing positive intention to speaker
- Ask basic nudging questions, but do not interrupt
- Try to stay present. Asking for clarifications.
- Reflect before you respond
In this modern world, Put away distractions. Like put your phones down. Focus on the speaker.
3 Be Ruthless About Your Time
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” - William Penn
Many leaders I work with do this. I struggle with my time management. I realize managing your time becomes important as you move in your career ladder. Time is of essence and limited. It’s recommended to figure out the priority upfront and ruthlessly prioritize your time to focus on those priorities.
4 Sit down and Get Shit done
“There are no tricks, that’s a distraction. All you have to do is sit down and do it. Ass in chair gets you there.”
I read this online, and I am unable to recollect. But this was something I can relate to. You can crib all you want but if you want to get things done, you have to sit down and focus. Be in the flow. If you want to exercise, you have to move your butt. It’s the only way. Motivation will follow.
5 During Meetings, Know your Audience
“I think a lot of what we learn about others isn’t what they tell us. It’s what we observe. People can tell us anything they want.” - Iain Reid
When we go into meetings, we need to be mindful of the participants. Beware of people who are listening. It is likely that they know a lot than the person who is speaking a lot. Another interesting fact about knowing audience is, you know when to shut up and when to talk. It is also important to talk accordingly based on who your audience is.
6 Empowering Others is a function of Leader
“A true leader leads by empowering not by enslaving.” - Debasish Mridha
Empowering others is not optional but a mandatory if you are a leader. Leaders are busy with many parallel activities and make a lot of decisions and few critical decisions. But one function of a leader is to remember that the team is composed of humans who like to make their decisions. They need to space and environment that facilitate doing them. They need to produce leaders.
7 Time Limit Your Decisions
“Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.” - C.S. Lewis
I bought a sand clock. To time limit the decision-making. I bought a 7-minute sand clock. The non-critical decisions don’t need more than that. If critical, strategic it needs time to ponder and break them down. But I decided to stop spending time on non-critical decision-making. It needs thinking, but time limiting creates a rush and forces you to think and avoid distractions.
8 Talk no more than 2 minutes
“You never really learn much from hearing yourself speak.” - George Clooney
Say what you need to say in less than 2 minutes. Longer you take, less diluted your idea becomes. Concise and to the point is the core idea. Listening helps to formulate a concise response. Nevertheless, it helps audience to be engaged and not lose you. Your points stick.
9 Break down the problems
“Wrong way to think about it. Don’t try to figure it out all at once.” - Jed Rubenfeld, The Interpretation of Murder
No senior executives solve big problem. They break it and solve them. They understand the ideas in strategic sense, but they solve it in chunks. Furthermore, they prioritize, re-prioritize and filter noise out. This approach lends itself to a roadmap to destination.
10 Take Breaks
“Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.” - Russell Eric Dobda
This came from one of the leader I work with. Have I taken a break in my career for no reason ? No. It was taken for specific personal work or medical reason. Is that a good habit on hindsight ? No. Will breaks help to reset your brain and bring in energy into work and personal life ? Definite Yes!! Prioritizing yourself is not wrong, but it is the right thing for personal and professional reason. We all know about physical health, but mental health is equally important.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” - Søren Kierkegaard
Lesson comes from reflecting often. They don’t come from experience but rather reflecting about your experience. Reflecting is a powerful way to solve problems and figure out the ways to improve oneself. No other books or theories help but your self reflection.
I felt these suggestions were powerful, and they’re coming from senior executives says a lot about its effectiveness. It may or may not work for you, but idea is powerful. If you notice the general pattern in the things I learned in 2022, is communication, listening and prioritization. They are important to perform and produce quality in anything you do.
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