If you feel like you should be at a certain place in your life, and you’re not: don’t worry! Our experts are back this week, and they say that planning only gets you so far.
You may want your path to success to be a series of very orderly steps, but as Leonard Kim, personal branding expert and keynote speaker, tells us in this week’s article, sometimes it’s just not that way. “Red” Rachel Richards and I respond to that crushing news:
“There is no such thing as a unilateral path,” Leonard says. “You’ve seen the images for the startups and for people who try to chase their dreams. It’s a person who thinks they will ride their bike over a small tiny bridge, when in fact they go through the jungles to get there. That’s life. That’s just how it is. It starts out as a plan, but then it turns into a scary adventure that gets out of control, and you spend your time trying to keep the wheels on the ground.”
Leonard says that while you’re on the path, take your eyes off the prize! This may sound counterintuitive to you. You have to “keep your eye on the ball” in order to hit it out of the park, right? But Leonard says your focus should be elsewhere.
“When you approach your path, take your eyes off the prize. Get it completely off the goal. Forget it even exists. Instead, just stick the the habits you created that you need to stick to each day. When you focus on the habits, then constantly improving what you are doing with those habits, that is when you will achieve success.”
This caused a bit of a stir for Rachel and me. We had to talk about it, of course.
Overall, all three of our experts (Leonard, plus PR pro Caren West and marketing maven Hilary Murdock) say they approach life, not as a plan, but as an adventure.
“To me, life is an adventure,” Caren says. “Within that adventure though, we have to build plans and roads that we can follow when creating strategies internally and for clients. Even the most detailed plans always change, so we move forward and adjust accordingly, which is also an adventure.”
“It’s definitely an adventure,” Hilary says. “You have to work with and for people who share your values. If you want to work all of the time, you find those companies. If you want to have a great balance, find those companies. Don’t neglect your outside-of-work hobbies.”
If we’re treating life, and work, and success as an adventure, I asked them how they stay organized throughout it all. How do they control the parts of it that they can control?
“I go with the flow,” Leonard says, “then one day a week, I reorganize and tackle as much as I can. It’s not the best system, but it works. It’s easy to get distracted and get off track of what you’re doing.”
Hilary agrees that organization is important, especially when working on lots of different projects with many moving pieces. She keeps it simple.
“Years ago, I went to a Franklin Covey management class that really taught me how to do it,” she says. “Boiled down, here’s what you need to know: 1) Make lists 2) Identify priorities and add deadlines 3) Keep checking the lists. I actually make little open boxes next to each line item and put a check in the box when it’s done. And always include something you just did so you can check it off right away!”
Caren says staying organized helps her remain sane, as she heads up a group that manages public relations campaigns and events for national and international lifestyle and entertainment brands. In her field, no day is the same.
“I think you have to find a system that works for you and your team,” she says. “We’re so lucky; we live in a day and age where we have access to an abundance of technology that can help us stay on track and improve our lives and jobs. Personally, my world revolves around extensive lists that I reprioritize daily and a constantly changing calendar. I also carry a Sharpie or a pen on me at all times and write on my hand so I don’t forget things. So, there’s that. I don’t think you’ll find that trick in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
How do YOU approach your success – is it a series of steps, or more of an adventure? What’s working for you? And how do you stay organized? Let Kyle know: [email protected] or on social media: @KyleCollins on Twitter, @KyleInterviews on Instagram. We’d love to share your story!
Connect with our experts:
Leonard Kim | Website | Twitter | Instagram
Caren West | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Hilary Murdock | LinkedIn
“Red” Rachel Richards | Instagram | Twitter
Videos by Brandon Deyette.