Start with why?

It’s the week before Christmas; my thoughts are switching from delivering client work to thinking about the year ahead. 2016 has been a good year and the temptation is to aim for more. But, before deciding on the WHAT, I am going take a step back and start with the WHY.

The WHY is important to me because it gives me the emotional connection to our business goals – it inspires, motivates and creates loyalty both from our customers and within the team. Whilst achievement comes when you pursue and attain WHAT you want, I believe that feeling of success only comes when you are clear WHY you want to achieve something. Focus too much on the WHAT and our goals become driven by what others expect or are doing rather that on WHY we founded the business and our own values.

happy-facesNeuroscience helps to explain this; the WHAT exists in the neo-cortex, which controls our rational thought and language, the WHY exists in the emotional limbic brain, which controls our feelings and decision-making. As a business we want a balance of both; we want to attain our goals and have the feeling of success. To do this, we need to ensure both the neo-cortex and the limbic brain are engaged.

Focusing solely on the WHAT can also generate anxiety and stress making it harder to attain our goals. Dr Steve Peters suggest that attainment should be substituted with enjoyment. He sees attainment as a dream – there are no guarantees for success. He suggests that we should focus on enjoying what we do and then put in our best efforts. By doing this we positively engage our limbic brain, reduce anxiety and deliver our best results.

So looking at our goals for 2017, the questions at the forefront of my mind are:-

  • Do these fit with our business values and what’s important to me personally?
  • Do these goals excite us?
  • Will we enjoy the work it will take to achieve them?
  • Will we feel successful if we achieve these goals?

If the answer to any of these is anything other than YES, It’s back to the drawing board!

Have a very Happy Christmas and if you can, take some time out to get perspective on your own 2017 goals.

Want to find out more try reading the Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters and Start with Why by Simon Sinek.

 

 

 

 

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