It’s January 2017 and already it’s been a year of big events. I’ve started an amazing new job where I’m going to do some really exciting things for my industry and beyond. Donald Trump has just been inaugurated as the US President, Brexit looks like it’s going to happen. I’ll let history decide if those are a good thing. And my new initiative for a fascinating series of breakfast talks through Make One’s Mark looks like it will be become a reality very soon.
This week I celebrate arriving in Melbourne. 13 years ago today I landed in the city alone knowing absolutely no one. I fell in love with this city and it has a very special place in my heart. It’s the most livable city in the world and for good reason. But last Friday something happened in Melbourne that will be remembered, for all the wrong reasons, for a very long time. On Friday 20th January 2017, 31 people were injured, and at the time of writing 5 people had been killed, including a 3month old baby and a 10 year old girl, by the senseless act of a driver ploughing down people in the centre of Melbourne. In one terrifying second of being in the wrong place at the wrong time I found myself faced with the car hurtling straight towards me on the pavement. Through pure luck I made the right decision to dive left to avoid it, only to stand up and see the car stop 20 metres from me. In the next few moments I witnessed terrible things unfold in front of my eyes. Before being able to fully comprehend the scene in front of me, gun shots were fired, and like all those around me I ran for cover, confused and scared. I’m still not sure how what I saw is, or will affect me. What I do know is that after events like these we focus our minds on our mortality, raising questions about what we’ve achieved in our lives and how it could all be taken away from us in a split second, dashing any chance of us achieving our future dreams and aspirations.
I’d always planned on writing my first blog of the year about setting goals. I guess some would call them New Year resolutions, but we all know that label carries a stigma and most of us don’t get past the first week without failing. Therefore, I like to set what I call goals, dreams and aspirations for the year ahead in my notebook. The initial thought for the blog was going to talk about the importance of goal setting and how we can make progress. Events this past week though have already made my focus on achieving my goals more intense, maybe even more urgent.
I only started setting goals a few years back. I’d always said the usual things in early January, like I was going to lose weight or get fitter, and these “resolutions” always lasted until the end of watching Only Fools and Horses on TV and when someone would offer me a beer and 5kg of chocolate!
I’d never been one for setting goals. I’d been relatively successful, in my view anyway, in my career, and life was pretty good. I’d done and achieved loads of things with no real true plan or direction and was happily meandering through life. I’d been promoted well, owned a small business and almost gone bankrupt, moved country, changed career within my industry several times and been a part owner of a very successful large business that we’d successfully sold to a Fortune 500 company. All by the age of 39. Not bad. Then I lost my job at the age of 42! Being without a job since I’d been 16 shook me to my very core. It drove me to focus, not only on my professional goals moving forward but also on my personal goals, aspirations and dreams.
So I sat down and decided to write my goals for the year. Some of the goals I set were relatively easy to achieve, some were more difficult and some were so aspirational they stretched the limits of my thinking of how the hell was I going to achieve them.
I also wrote down my word of the year and my quote for the year. I decided these could be linked or completely separate. I found that actually writing them down in my yearly notebook, made them more real and made me accountable. I would share them with friends and family and I would revisit them every month and track progress. Achieving a few goals early, even simple ones would drive me to achieve more. My word and phrase of the year would drive my decision making, especially if I was uncertain about what path to take. It’s strange, but this whole new thinking process opened up doors which I could not imagine even a year previously and helped drive my success.
From this, my thinking moved into my leadership style and ideas. When I was leading Aquenta in Melbourne, we set up a wall in the office at the beginning of 2016 where everyone was invited to write down on a piece of card their “Word of the Year”, sign the card and pin it to the wall for everyone to see. They were asked to become accountable for that word, its actions and its consequences for their decision making. It was a bit of fun, but for some it really worked.
At the end of each year I work through all of the goals I set myself. Obviously I don’t achieve all of them, some are a work in progress and some will have morphed into bigger longer term focused projects.
I can’t recommend highly enough in doing this, focusing your year and revisiting the list every month. Share your list, make yourself accountable to friends, family and work colleagues. But most of all have fun achieving your goals, especially the ones that are so stretched they seem insane at the beginning of the year to even think they could be achieved. If you’re passionate and focused you’ll be amazed what doors will open up for you.
So in true style of sharing, here are a few of my 2017 goals, dreams and aspirations:
- Build a kick arse team and a new exciting offering within HASSELL.
- Make One’s Mark – Launch our Breakfast Buzz Talks and our MoM Adventure Trips.
- Look after my knee before it completely fails!
- Get back to being a damn fine golfer.
- Play golf at Barnbougle.
- Have one hell of an adventure.
- Write a minimum one blog a month.
- Do something new or visit a place I’ve never been to every week.
- Continue to write and even finish my book.
- My word of the year – Change.
So now I’m accountable to everyone who reads this!
On a personal note, my thoughts and heart go out to everyone who has been touched by the terrible event that happened in Melbourne this past week. No words can begin explain this terrible act. I live in an amazing City in a fascinating world and I believe that embracing life, each other and taking time to make strangers friends, celebrating differences and making the most of what life can offer is the best way to honour and remember those affected by terrible events. Not just here in Melbourne but all over the world.
So set your goals, dreams and aspirations. Share them, watch them grow, and doors will fly open as you achieve more and more success. Our lives are short, clichéd maybe, but trust me after the events of this past week we need to celebrate what we have, what we’ve achieved and the goals, dreams and aspirations we will achieve by striving for great things and even the unimaginable!