If I asked you for “One Big Idea” that you could develop for your career or your business that could catapult your success, what might it be? How might you develop that and what could it achieve for you?
If you prefer to listen than to read, click here for an audio version of this blog post:
And if I asked those around you that have known you for a longer time what you stand out for, what might they say? What are you known for? What has your name on it? Or, in a bigger picture sense, what might your legacy be? Right now and when you “move on”?
I’m well known to suggest that: “most people spend more time planning an annual holiday than they’ve ever spent planning their career or their life”. Remarkably also, this comment is often responded to with a wry smile, suggesting that “I’m on the money” with it. Think about it for a moment – could that also be true for you? (My turn for the wry smile…?)
Another favourite I am known to use quite frequently is “when a dog is in the hunt, it has no time to search or scratch for fleas, does it? Of course not – it’s too focused on catching its prey. But isn’t it remarkable what “fleas” we can come up with when we have no purpose?”.
Both of these go to the same sort of place, don’t they? They challenge the notion of whether you are truly going somewhere with clarity of purpose and direction or whether you are “drifting through life”, always busy, but never really getting anywhere.
Where Are You At?
Asking you to be brutally honest with yourself, please would you reflect on your journey right now and answer for yourself which best describes your situation. Would you say you would:
- Easily and confidently refer to “your plan”, and be able to show me some form of (written) evidence of the existence of your purpose(s), goals and some means by which you will achieve them, and by when?
- Kind of know what you want, but having it somewhere in your head, however without any form of description, structure or plan in how to achieve it?
- Admit that there are no goals and no plan, but that you are working very hard and always busy?
Now please allow me very quickly to emphasize for you that I am in no way trying to be critical of whatever your answer is. What I am wanting to highlight is that answers 2. and 3. above are so very common in today’s extremely full and busy world.
Remember that the 7 most common word most coaches hear from their clients or prospects most often at the start of a coaching program: “I don’t really know what I want”.
But what I am also trying to say is that it is not actually that hard to embark on identifying and developing a bunch of really good goals for your life and your work. And that once this is done, that confidently drawing up a plan with the necessary milestones and time-frames actually follows quite naturally and quite easily. And that compared to most that don’t do this, your results will also transcend most expected outcomes.
My experience, both personal and from all the hundreds of clients I’ve coached, is that it is the defining “what I want” that gets this whole process started, that most people struggle with.
Another one of “everybody can, but very few do” situations, right?
So What Does “One Big Idea” Mean?
Of course in the context of a “life or career plan”, this can be quite a big deal, right? But what if we broke it down into bite-sized chunks to make it more visibly plausible and appear somewhat more achievable?
In a coaching program, we usually embark on this work in terms of someones career plan. Why? Because for most, that is the most tangible and also usually the most pressing in terms of addressing expected shorter term rewards and outcomes that lead to longer term aspirations. Once we have got our head around that and identified the objectives or big picture expected outcomes, we can start to put some activities and milestones and specific plans in place that result in a road-map that they can quite confidently associate with. Coaching programs do this all the time.
I have personally had to work through many such iterations for my own personal and business plans since starting to work with my first own coach over 12 years ago now. Before that I used to very busily drift through most years with the best of them. And I’m happy to say that this form of planning is now a constant work in progress in my life’s work as these plans keep getting fine-tuned and kept relevant.
And working with so many clients just like you and me in the meantime, we have developed so many more than one could ever imagine. Everyone looks different, because we are all so unique.
Once that is done at the career level, it is quite feasible to expand that thinking into other, broader dimensions or chapters of their life.
One Big Idea at Work
I mean this heading quite ambiguously. In one way it means “work in progress”. In another, work means in your job or career or business. And in its broadest sense I usually point it to a plan of your “life’s work”.
Let’s focus for now on the job, career or business sense , OK?
Just this last week I finished another coaching program with a client and left him this “One Big Idea” challenge as a “take away and develop” in the sense of leveraging everything we’d learned together on this coaching journey towards his owning, further developing and maintaining his visibility and his presence in his career. And this is what I want to share with you today:
“One Big Idea” This year?
What could “one big idea” be for you, which you could “hang your hat on” for this year, to drive your career to where you want it to keep going? Setting the goal for the remaining 6 months of this calendar year or, because Australia’s tax year goes from July to June, for the next 12 months, what will you look back on? What “one big idea” could have been the catalyst that drove you to those specific outcomes you aspire to?
What will those around you, your bosses, your key stakeholders, your peers, your subordinates, your partners, your vendors, your customer and your friends easily acknowledge you for having achieved in that year? Something uniquely developed and delivered by you? Something that has your name on it? Something you are justifiably proud of? Something that “labels you” and something that cannot but take you to the next step in your career or other aspirations?
Where Can This Year’s “One Big Idea” Take You?
What if you did this successfully this year, could you leverage it into your next “one big idea” for next year? You know, building on the idea or building on the success?
What can you achieve in your life’s work if you identified, developed and implemented one big idea every single year for the rest of your career from hereon-in? Let’s just think of a few implications of such a catalyst, such a goal and such an approach. Let’s consider what it could do for:
- your role in terms of enhanced visibility, credibility, presence, success and fulfillment?
- you promotability and your business growth
- your project or function or department or company or even industry?
- your boss(es), your peers, your subordinates, your partners etc?
- your own personal and professional growth
- your own and your family’s wealth of well-being
- the greater good of your community (‘s) locally, across Australia and abroad?
Can you see how influential a catalyst this can become for driving you?
This approach is one of the most powerful ways I know of directing your energies and your outcomes. It becomes the key driver of purpose for that year in order to help you achieve all the other goals and purposes you have written for that year. All your personal goals and all your work related KPI’s can be aligned with it so that each supports the other.
Can you see what I’m driving here? Can you imagine still being “accused” of “drifting” if you are driven by the notion of “one big idea” driving your focus for this year? Almost impossible, right?
Can you see how this forces you to set goals, to plan what needs to be done to achieve them and how by selecting the right “one big idea” you can bring all these opportunities together for your benefits and for all those around you?
Go on, why not create a time and an uninterrupted place to scratchpad a few ideas and then give yourself a week, or two at the most before you select that “one big idea” that is going to make it all happen for you this year? And next year? And the year after?
Can you see how this forces the “big picture” thinking necessary for the development and achievement of an extraordinary life? Last week I wrote and spoke about being “energized or drained”. Is it conceivable not to be energized by this thinking and this approach?
And if you are feeling drained right now, can you feel the hope this engenders to change all that? Come on! You owe it to yourself and to all those around you.
And if you are willing but unsure whether you can or how you can, go on, contact me and Let’s Talk Coaching. Why not join the long list of clients that have developed and kicked some incredible goals? I look forward to your call!
There are a few blogs referred to above which you might want to click on and read or listen to here: