Photo Credit: the_dugghouse
About six years ago, I was a mid-level software engineer on a large team at Yahoo. I had been with this team for a little over a year when our vice president of Engineering was replaced.
The new VP of Engineering came in with a lot of rules and ideas. Some made sense and some just made me snicker. But one new “rule” in particular really tickled my irreverent sense of humor.
The VP thought that the issues the team had been having was due to a lack of commitment. He met with all of the managers and taught them what commitment meant. I began to see managers walking around making a C shape with their hand and asking everyone: Are you committed?
Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Accordingly a genius is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework. ~ Thomas Edison
I understood that commitment was important for success. But the “Do what you say you’re going to do” flavor of commitment that was being rallied at that time seemed silly. I didn’t understand what the big deal was. I mean, weren’t we all already committed to doing our jobs?, I wondered as these managers, directors, and executives ran around throwing up C’s at each other.
After I left my corporate job two years ago, I drifted along for a while. I’d wake up every day and though I had goals (build my business, get clients, write a book, and get in shape), I just did whatever came up: laundry, reality TV, and lots of chocolate. And then I’d get frustrated because I wasn’t getting any closer to my goals. I couldn’t make the excuse that I didn’t have time to work on my goals — I had nothing but time since I quit working full time. But a year later, I was really no closer to any of my goals.
Then as I coached others to succeed, I began to learn what I was missing: commitment — the “do what’s important first” flavor of commitment. Maybe this is what that VP was trying to communicate and I was just distracted by the hand gestures?
Photo Credit: hectoralejandro
What I have learned:
Without real commitment, your goals can get buried under the demands and distractions of everyday life. You may take on “important” tasks because those are the ones screaming the loudest at the moment. You are “too busy to do anything else”, and then you wake up later to find your goals are no closer.
Let’s face it, we all have things that “need to get done”. We are all “too busy”. But I’d wager that we all also have goals. So how can you do it all? Well, that brings me to the secret sauce.
The key is to identify your top goals and commit some amount of time to them. Every day.
Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working. ~ Pablo Picasso
What about everything else?
Look, the laundry isn’t going to go anywhere. You can write your status report after dinner. You can eat takeout for one night… or you can ask for help (which is another ingredient in the secret sauce).
It’s really easy for me to get overwhelmed and busy with “stuff”. I have a ToDo list a mile long. But I also have long and short term goals:
- Grow my business
- Build an online presence
- Get in shape
- Make some money while making a difference
- Write a book or three
… just to name a few.
So now I’m doing things differently. Instead of being ruled by my ToDo list, I rule it. Instead of being a slave to my calendar, I am its master.
I do this by blocking out time to actually work on my business. I schedule my workouts. And I create a weekly plan of attack so that I know that I am spending a little time moving toward my top goals every day.
Some days it’s only half an hour, but it’s amazing what can be done in 30 minutes… especially when you compare it to 0 minutes.
Photo Credit: eschipul
The point is you have to make your goals your priorities. You have to do the work. Your goals don’t have legs… they aren’t going to move closer to you. You have to take steps toward them. If you don’t commit to your goals, you aren’t going to get there.
How committed are you to achieving your goals?