The beginning of a new year is rich with potential and possibility. The messages from the media are all about “achieving more, getting more” and setting new goals. It’s all supposed to be so exciting and fun. Unfortunately, this can actually create the opposite effect and cause overwhelm, stress, and pressure in hitting the ground running in 2017. There’s only so much room on your plate, right? So, if you keep adding more goals and new things to do and accomplish, you’ll eventually run out of room. This happens time and again when we take stock at the end of the year, and observe where we fell short.
At the end of 2016, I was intent (as I usually am) on reflecting on my key wins and challenges from the year. As the year came to a close, I had some big discoveries about what was working and not working in my own life. More on that later. This prompted me to challenge my clients to follow suit. So, at our last Vistage meeting of the year in December, I kicked off an exercise where I asked each member to reflect on 2016. At first, I could sense that the members didn’t know where to start; trying to capture what’s relevant from an entire year of meetings, clients, customers, patients, employees, revenue and so on and so forth. Indeed, it’s a lot to synthesize in our brains on demand.
Then I said, “Specifically, I want you to think about those things that you tolerated this year that you will no longer tolerate in 2017.” Then, I shared a quick story about a relationship in my own life where boundaries were being crossed, and it was negatively impacting me. Suddenly, all the pens started moving. I gave the group about 20 minutes to jot down their answers. From there, we debriefed as a group and what was revealed in that session was some of the most powerful lessons for my members to date.
What was most interesting was that nearly everyone mentioned a relationship that was violating boundaries, whether it was a personal or a professional one. The consequences of those boundary violations are profound. When you take a step back and really look at it… it’s undeniable to see how continually letting others cross boundaries forces us to be unfair to ourselves, and to others, because when we keep saying yes to that person – whether we realize it or not – we have to then say no to ourselves and others. This can happen at home and at the office.
Why do we let it go on? We let it happen because we don’t want the drama every day. We don’t want to ‘deal’ with it. I get it. However, not dealing with it comes with a price, and in most cases a hefty one.
The key takeaway for everyone in the group was to begin saying “NO” to the boundary-crossers in order to “YES” to ourselves and others.
So, I have a proposition and challenge for you: “Just say NO!” version 2.0 for 2017.
Say NO so that you can achieve more and do more this year — for yourself, your clients, your employees, your family. Ask yourself, who or what do I need to say NO to, so that I can increase my impact this year?
I hope this exercise is as eye-opening for you as it’s been for me and my clients. Here’s to your continued success in 2017!!