Strategy and execution are essential to be successful long-term. They require thinking and action. Most people know Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Few people know what Aristotle said later, “The unplanned life is not worth examining.” It’s important to set aside think-time to take a bird’s eye view of where you are at and where you want to go. But if you fail to plan how to get there, all that thinking will be a waste of time. Here are three critical components to proper examining and planning for a business and life of authentic joy.
Think-time and Proper Delegation
Do you have a set time either daily or weekly where you simply think? This is an essential practice in order to prevent getting caught up in the day-to-day projects and tasks. Properly delegating all the tasks and projects that can be completed well by someone else lets you focus on what you do best.
I work with one executive who gauges how successful his day is by how long it takes before someone interrupts him with a question after he begins his workday. If he is interrupted, he analyzes why and strategizes how to prevent it from happening again. His primary talent is innovation. The better he delegates, the more time he has to think. The more time he thinks, the more he innovates.
When many people think of willpower, the first thing that comes to mind is food. According to a recent study we make well over 200 food-related decisions each day! But these are not the only willpower battles we wage. We need willpower or we simply won’t execute. Here are three tips to increase your daily willpower reserves:
1. The first battle of the will is your alarm clock. It seems silly, but it’s true. We know from research that willpower is like a muscle. It can become fatigued with heavy use. Many successful people (Jobs, Einstein) wore the same thing every day because it was one less decision to make.
2. Plan your day the day before. Do so preferably by the hour. If you decide on the spur of the moment or let the day push you where it will, you will likely end up far from where you wanted to be.
3. Calendar it. If it’s not on your calendar, it’s not going to get done. Period. Whether it’s time to meditate, time to think or time to make positive strides in a project, get it in ink on your calendar. Treat that appointment like you would any other that can’t be missed. No willpower required. Simply do what’s on your calendar.
In order to be happy in business and in life it’s not simply a matter of making more money or beating the competition. It’s not only the “what” of strategy and execution and the “why” of purpose and mission. The “how” is just as critical. Aristotle said happiness is excellence in virtue.
Most of us have read about executives who have cheated to win by misrepresenting revenues. Sure, the returns were there on paper, but the lack of integrity eventually caught up with them. The most important virtue is love. Contrary to what most people say, love is not an emotion. Love can be influenced by emotion but it is primarily an act of the will. A decision. It’s about willing the good of another person.
At work, this translates into strategizing on how to help those around you to excel. What further education or skill development do they need? What are their goals? How can you best mentor them to reach their potential? What objective surveys have you administered to determine what their innate talents are? Are you playing to their strengths? Ultimately, to succeed, the first step is to truly love the people around you by putting their needs and goals above your own. You succeed when others succeed.
The key to living an authentically joyful life is to set aside time to think, use your willpower to execute and don’t forget that the “how” is every bit as important as the “what” or the “why.”
About the Author
Doug Kisgen is a serial entrepreneur, organizational consultant, and author of Rethink Happy. Doug’s current company, Kisgen Group, works with entrepreneurs and executives to help them get what they want through the use of a short survey that validly measures seven work-related traits. His former company, Daydream Senior Care, dba Home Instead Senior Care, was a two-time Inc. 5000 fastest-growing company. Follow Doug on Twitter @dougkisgen.