Patrick: Happy New Year. I genuinely mean that. I hope each and every person listening to this is about to have the best year you've ever had. I really do. I'm expecting that here at the leader's perspective. Personally, professionally, I'm super excited about 2024. I'm recording this on January 2.
I don't know when you're listening to it, but as I record on January 2, I will tell you that yesterday represented my favorite day of the year. I love beginnings. I love New Year's Day. It's the best day of the year for me. I love Mondays. They're the beginning of a week. I love the beginning of a new month, a new cycle, a new season. I just love beginnings, fresh starts. And it's kind of arbitrary, really, when you think about it. It really is just another day. January 1, it's a new year. There's a different number behind it, but it's kind of like yesterday. It's maybe kind of like tomorrow. We don't know. But I don't know. There's something psychological about it. There's something about cycles and time frames and seasons and just moments. And so for me, I love the beginning of a year.
I really do hope that 2024 is amazing for you, our listeners. And this episode is actually going to be, I think, a very brief one.
I love the number five. If you follow me, watch my YouTube channels, if you've gotten coaching from me, you know I love the number five. I won't go into it, but I want to share with you five things that I'm taking away from 2023 and five things I want to take into 2024. And yes, this is somewhat personal.
This is just one leader's perspective, as we say.
Hopefully they'll be of value to you, something you can relate to. I always hope that my lessons and observations and experiences can bring value to someone else. That tends to be the goal for me. So let me just get right to it. Five things that I took away from 2023. Number one, being who you want to be, like being the person you really want to be, takes awareness and work.
That's something I'm really taking away from 2023. I know I'm almost 57 years old. And it took me this long to figure that out. I don't know that it took me this long to figure it out, but it certainly became more aware, or more I became more aware of it, and let me tell you why.
This year, I have been receiving a weekly phone call every Monday morning from a good friend of mine, Tim Orvalina. He's on our advisory board, or actually, he's one of our adjunct team members here at the leader's perspective. Longtime friend, United Way colleague back in the day, and just one of those really close, important friends to the family. And I asked him if he would be willing to give me a call every Monday morning and ask me two questions, and he agreed. And it's the same two questions every Monday morning. And the rule is, he asks the question, I answer it. There's no judgment.
Just forces me to think about it and answer the question out loud, and it gives me an accountability partner to talk to.
Here are the two questions that he's been asking me, and we're changing it up this year. We're not sure how, but it has created the kind of awareness I wanted it to create. For me, this is something I encourage a lot of my coaches to do. Find a trigger. Create a trigger if you have to, something that will make you aware of the change you're trying to create. Well, for me, it goes back to a Marshall Goldsmith question. Am I being the person I want to be right now?
So, read Dr. Marshall Goldsmith's latest book, the Earned Life or unearned Life. I forget if it's n or the fantastic book to really help you reflect on the meaning of your life, particularly if you're at my stage of life, where you're really thinking about these things more than ever.
And the question, again is, am I being the person I want to be right now? So, I've written that down in a bunch of places. I've even printed it on my branded notebooks that I use for journals and things. Tim's question for me each week was, where in the past week did you find yourself being that person?
What were you doing? What was happening?
Being the person you want to be.
Reflect back on the previous week. The second question is, where in the previous week did you find yourself not being the person you want to be and what was going on then, and what were you doing? And again, no judgment. And I can get as personal as I want, just thinking out loud. There's something magic about answering these questions to someone that you trust and respect that gives you this extra sense of awareness and accountability.
So this was a little bit of a test for myself, and I'm here to tell you it works. It has created incredible awareness, and I have found myself each week. I'm not going to go deep into my weekly answers with you, but I started to identify some themes and patterns that kept repeating themselves. I was finding the kinds of things that were putting me in the space of being the person I want to be and the kinds of things that were taking me out of that space. And that awareness, I believe, has created improvement in those areas. At least enough awareness to start committing to that change.
Interestingly, I'm completing the building of an online course in leadership coaching. And one of the things that's covered in the course is a psychological framework called the stages of change. Prochaska's six stages of change. And the first stage is pre contemplation. And that's when you don't even know you need to change. You're not looking for a change. You're not aware that one is needed. Maybe you have blind spots, maybe you're in denial, but you're not thinking about making a change. And then you move into contemplation phase where, okay, I see this. I see the need for change. I'd kind of like to change, but I'm still stuck. I don't know how. Don't know what's happening here. And then you start moving through the stages of change, and you get to action, and then you get to maintenance, where you create new habits.
And I can tell you that asking these two questions or being asked these two questions every week, I can really see myself kind of moving through those stages of change in certain areas. The point I'm trying to make is being the person you want to be, you would hope comes naturally. But the truth is, for most people, and maybe for everybody, it takes awareness and it takes intentionality, it takes work.
We talk about things all the time with other people and don't apply them to our own lives. And, I don't know, just want to encourage you that if you want to really, first of all, think about the person you really want to be. Who is that? How would you describe that? And then how do you know?
How are you micro aware in the moments of whether or not you're being that person and what it takes to be that person more frequently?
Anyway, that's number one. Number two, gratitude continues to be a magnificent force. Gratitude is. I think it's right, but it's also beneficial. And I am super grateful for, oh, my goodness, everything.
You know, I'm. There's. There's so many things that could be in and about my life that would be bad.
And I'm just so grateful for where my life is. Could it be better? Sure. Could I make more money? Sure. Could I be healthier? Sure. Could I have more stuff? Sure.
We can think of things that could be better about our lives, no matter what stage or satisfaction level we have with our lives. But I can tell you that I'm grateful for everything. I'm grateful for you. I mean this sincerely. Our podcast is globally ranked in the top ten of podcasts in our genre. In this nonprofit leadership world, by feed spot, it's getting thousands of listeners per week. I'm grateful for that. That someone would carve out the time. You're listening to this right now. You're taking out time. You're being open to perspective that I'm sharing right now, or that I share throughout the year with special guests and different topics and things. The fact that you would join me in those conversations, I'm super grateful for that.
Our clients, the people that we're serving, most of whom are in the social sector, man, I'm so grateful for the trust and the honor of getting to serve you, but also for getting.
For the chance to get to watch you in action, watch you lead and contribute value to the world. I'm so grateful for my family, all of them.
I can't say enough about that. Gratitude is a powerful thing. And if you ever get to feeling sort of stressed out or you get to feeling low, just pause for a minute and make a gratitude list and be grateful for something. There's something we can all be grateful for. It's a powerful, powerful force. I think it moves us forward. I think it really advances us. I think it creates a kind of energy. Call it spiritual energy, call it whatever you want in your mind or your world. I believe gratitude is a super powerful force, and it's a great reminder when there's anxiety, fear, disappointment, failure, just be grateful.
Number three, takeaway from 2023. Commitments and excellence seem to be harder to come by than ever.
I don't know.
I just talked about gratitude, and I don't mean to complain about this. It's an observation, and it's a good reminder for me and I hope for you.
Commitments and excellence. We talk a lot about the state of customer service in our world today. Just go to most any restaurant. It's not like it was just ten years ago, maybe just five years ago.
Service, really good service is getting harder and harder to come by. I don't know if it's people don't take pride in their work or people can't find good people to work for them.
The standards are just getting lower and lower for what constitutes an acceptable level, let alone a respected level of service and value contribution to other people.
It's a big reminder for me. I want to serve my clients, my family, my friend. I want to serve in a way that is excellent, that isn't one of those disappointments or isn't one of those roll your eyes and just say, well, that's the world today. I want to create a different experience for the people. I'm tasked, charged, gifted with serving commitments. I don't know.
Do what you say.
Say what you do is fine, but do what you say is keeping the commitment. Don't just say what you're going to do, do what you say. Keeping commitments just seems to be harder and harder.
I've just found it seems, again, this could just be me. But it seems increasingly difficult to find highly reliable people and commitments.
Those people that when they say something, book it, it's done, it's going to happen. It's going to happen the way they said it's going to happen when they said it, and you can just count on it. I have always tried to be that person. If I make a commitment, I'm pretty much going to stick to it. It's going to take a lot for me to let somebody down. There's going to have to be some extenuating circumstances. I'm not perfect. I've not always kept all my commitments perfectly throughout my life, but it's a big thing for me and I'm taking it away from 2023 because I've just found more and more.
There's just more people it seems like you can't count on when they say something, when they make a commitment to you.
I don't know. We tend to leave a lot of open doors. Well, I'm going to make this commitment, but if something better comes along, or if I just don't, I'm not in the mood for it that day or whatever, I'm going to leave myself an out.
Don't leave yourself an out. Make a commitment. Let your yeas be yeas, your nays be nay, and make it such that when you tell somebody something, they can book it, they can count on it.
So keep your commitments. Serve with excellence. That's what I'm telling myself. That's what I'm taking away from 2023. Number four, stress is real. I'm taking this away from 2023, not because I'm stressed, but I coach a lot of executives and leaders throughout the year, and it's real. And 2000 and 22,021, those were not the only years for stress. In some cases, it's worse for people today than it was even during the height of the pandemic, for example. Stress is real. Here's the thing. My take on stress is that it's okay. It's actually a good thing. Stress can be good. Stress creates a healthy amount of pressure to do things. It's an incentive.
On the other hand, it's also dangerous because it can lead to burnout. And burnout, we use that term lightly. Go back and listen to my episode with Dr. Kim hires on burnout. It's a big deal. So stress is real, but it's dangerous. Don't let it get out of hand. And for me, when I get stressed, I try to go back to gratitude. That's usually my go, to jump back to gratitude. Immediately the stress level starts to go down. If I can spend some time in gratitude.
But I'm finding that stress is real, it's okay. It's also dangerous. Manage it. Pay attention to it. Number five, takeaway from 2023. I know very little. That's a big takeaway from 2023. I actually know very little. Yes. There was a day when I thought I knew it all.
I remember in my early management days, organizational leadership days. Boy, just the amount I thought I knew and understood about business and the world and leadership and all of these things.
The longer I go, the less I know. It seems I'm growing. I want to learn. I want to continue learning. That's going to be in my next segment here on things I'm taking into 2024. But I'm just struck by how little I actually know. And I have a deep respect for people that have undergone the disciplines of real learning, particularly mastery in one thing, even just one thing, just mastery of that. And I'm coming to respect more and more what other people know and not so much pride in what I know.
You think about it. I know very little, at least me. You might not feel that way.
You may well be one of these people I look to and go, well, they know a lot.
I know some stuff. I've got credentials and experience and all of these things. But really, in the scheme of things, if I put it in perspective, I know very little. I'm taking that away from 2023, moving into 2024, there are five things I want to take with me and apply. Number one, if you want to learn, teach.
I am learning that all over again.
When I prepare for a conference, workshop or anything like that, I always get a little something out of it each time, even if it's something that I've trained on or taught many, many times. I've got workshops that I can do in my sleep because I've done them so many times. I've mastered the content. But if I allow myself and don't just rest on the laurels and don't just phone it in, if I actually make an effort to impart knowledge to someone else, I usually learn. I'm in the process right now of putting together two massive leadership coaching training programs. One of them is a 30 hours online course that will result in certification, a coaching certificate from the leader's perspective and will count as required training hours for the center for credentialing and Education for those who want to become board certified coaches. So this isn't just, hey, here's a neat little online training thing that you can get some tips out of. It's very comprehensive and it has taken a ton of work. We're on the home stretch. We're planning to release it by the end of February at this point, getting all the accreditation approvals and things like that from CCE. But what I have found is that by putting this together and putting the effort into it and really wanting to make it comprehensive and meaningful and significant and timely and relevant and current, man, I've learned a lot. I've learned some things that I need to apply back to my own coaching practice that I've really learned through this. I'm also working on a 36 hours corporate training program that will be delivered globally in leadership coaching training.
And just the amount of learning it takes to teach somebody something, you've got to really make sure you have mastered the material yourself. So if you want to learn, teach. I'm taking that into 2024. And what it does is it helps me, again, not phone it in. I don't want to rely so heavily on my systems and my outlines and things that I just can do it so easily that I don't take each engagement seriously and respect the learner.
I always want to bring my very best to the table when I do that. Second thing I'm trying to take into 2024 is my physical well being. And I'm putting it out there now, right here on our podcast.
I'm fine. I mean, I'm not in bad shape, but I'm mentioned earlier, I'm late 50s now. And, yeah, I got to take care of it and I've got to get more intentional about it. Just physical well being, how I eat, how I exercise. I mentioned a while ago that the patterns and themes around not being the person I want to them. A lot of the weeks that I would have those conversations with Tim brought me back to not quite taking care of myself physically the way that I probably should and without a lot of effort could. So that's number two. Number three, I'm going to continue to believe, but do my part.
What do I mean by believe?
Call it what you want. Faith. I have faith that things are going to advance and grow and things are going to work out. I tend to be a very optimistic person and a person of faith, but I also believe that faith without works is dead. So I've got to do my part.
Years ago, when I was doing some Bible study, I tried to subscribe to the idea that when I pray, I can find a way to be the catalyst for the answer.
So instead of, for example, we pray a lot.
However you pray, you may or may not pray. I don't know. I don't know who you pray to. If you pray. I know that a lot of our listeners, because I know them, happen to be people of faith. They pray. And I remember growing up in a very faith based environment. I remember hearing people pray for someone else. Right.
Someone who's in need. Lord, bless them. Right. Bless this person. Help them, Lord. Right. Please pray for me. Okay, I'll pray for you. Lord, please help that person.
One way I believe, to ensure that prayer gets answered the way you really want it is be the answer, be the blessing.
How would you do that? How could you make any contribution of value to someone that you're praying for?
There's a lot of complaining in the world today about the phrase thoughts and prayers.
Your thoughts and prayers aren't really useful to me, but if you apply some accountability to it, they're of great use.
Our thoughts control our actions.
Our prayers can be answered if we make sure that at least part of the answer can happen through us. So believe, have faith, but do your part. Things aren't just going to come just because you pray. Whether it's your business, the strength and health of your nonprofit, the people you pass on the street. Believe, but do your part.
I'm trying to take that more into 2024. Number four, I want to continue to remain focused on my professional and personal mission of adding value to others.
One of the psychometric assessments we do on our coaches is one that's called motivators, and it measures our level of motivation across seven different dimensions.
One of them is altruism, the drive to be of value to others, to serve others, to make a difference. That's why a lot of you are in the work you're in. My altruism motivator is pretty high. It's healthy, but it isn't the highest.
My individualism, this need for autonomy and independence actually ranks higher for me. It doesn't for everybody, but does for me, individualism and power. So I want to be in control.
I want to be autonomous. I want to be independent. In my thinking, there's a challenge there. And the challenge is that my regulatory motivator is low. So I have to be careful with that because there's times when the parameters are needed, and I tend to not like those a lot.
But in my learning on these motivators, it is not a bad thing. There's not a good or bad motivator on these seven dimensions. It's not bad to be motivated by power. It's not bad to be motivated by aesthetics. It's not bad to be motivated by economics.
The key is how you apply that motivation to create value in the world. So I learned a long time ago that my motivation around performance and individualism and power can serve me well if I use them to create value in the world. That's what I want to continue to do. I want to make sure that my altruism motivator gets the attention it deserves. Even through my individualism and power.
Those things are okay if they're channeled toward mission. And my mission is to add value to others. So again, motivation is not inherently bad.
I have people, sometimes they'll take these motivator assessments and they'll get them and they'll go, oh, my gosh, I really got to work on my regulatory motivation. It's bad. How do I fix it? And what I tell them is, you don't fix motivation. You channel motivation.
Just channel it in the right ways. And if you're not motivated in a particular area, just be cautious with that. Your job may still require attention to it, even if it's not something that drives you or motivates you.
I'm going off track a little bit there. Maybe we'll do a session one time on those motivators. It, by the way, is my favorite assessment. We do disc and we do emotional intelligence and Hartman values and Thyro B, and we do three hundred and sixty s. I love the motivators assessment. It's just great reminder about channeling motivation and drawing motivation out of others.
The fifth thing I want to take into 2024 is focus on my family.
I love the work I do. I love it, love it, love it.
I feel very badly for people who don't love their work, but my family is where the center of my life really is. And we're not promised another single day with anyone because I might not be here tomorrow and in which case all bets are off anyway.
But my wife, my kids, my cousins, my grandson, I'm not promised another day with any of those individuals. And we learn that, and it becomes more and more poignant as the years go by.
But I really want to take 2024 and make sure that my family is getting me and they're getting all of me and they're getting just the right bandwidth, and I'm not ignoring them and I'm not taking them for granted.
I have done that.
I think most of us have. I think we take people for granted in general, taking into 2024, these aren't really, you can call them New Year's resolutions.
These are just principles that have come up in many instances throughout the past year that I want to take into 2024 at a conscious, intentional level.
So that's it. Part of why I do this, part of why I did this episode is I also believe in just putting it out there.
I got a little bit personal with you here today because I just want to put it out there, put it in the universe, say it out loud, let someone else hear it. There's an accountability that comes with that. What would your list look like? Let me just challenge you. A little coaching here at the end of this episode, what would be your biggest five takeaways from 2023? And what would be the biggest five things you really want to take into 2024? Not a committed I'm going to lose 20 pounds or just nothing that specific. Just what are five conscious concepts, reflections that you are taking into 2024? Give that some thought. I think you'll find it a worthwhile reflection to do that. In the meantime, I do wish you all a very prosperous, fulfilling, exciting, rewarding, learning, challenging, stretching 2024. And I also hope you'll reach out to me if you can think of a way that I can help make that happen for you.
And that is this leader's perspective for this week. I'm excited about the podcast, too, in 2024. Cool things coming. Lead on.