How To Make Today Better Than Yesterday Posted on 19 Aug 13:35 , 0 comments
I got a little teary the other day.
I was listening to the last 7 minutes of the audiobook version of Start with Why by Simon Sinek.
I’m a total nerd…and I get emotional when I see and hear things that inspire me. Often a story will resonate with me, other times I’ll hear about someone achieving something special and it will make me well up.
In this case Simon Sinek says something that explains perfectly how to achieve sustainable performance improvement. He teaches to always start with “why” you do the work you do.
Here are the statements from the chapter that did it to me:
“When you compete against everyone else no one wants to help you but when you compete against yourself everyone wants to help you.
…What if we showed up to work every day simply to be better than ourselves?
What if the goal was to do better this week than the week before?
To make this month better than last month?
For no other reason than we want to leave the organisation in a better state than we found it…
What if the next time someone asks, “Why should I do business with you then?”
We answer with confidence “because the work we’re doing now, is better than the work we were doing six months ago, and the work we will be doing six months from this point will be better than the work we are doing today because we come to work every day with a sense of why we come to work, we come to work to inspire people to do the things that inspire them.”
When it comes to performance, it will always be about consistency.
Unfortunately, our motivation can wax and wane for so many reasons. Sinek’s book reminds us that if we are focussed on our purpose, and compete with ourselves by striving to be better today than we were yesterday, we will continue to improve our results, our relationships, our outcomes and ourselves.
Here are three ways to apply this thinking in your role.
1. Clarify your “why”
Why do you do what you do? It seems like a simple question but it takes a little while to identify your true “why”. That’s because the answer probably comes from your gut.
For me, it’s all about the warm and fuzzy feeling I get when I see lives change.
I do what I do because I want to help as many people as possible be productive and happy at work. I’ve seen how my work changes lives, and it excites me to take someone from a place of anxiety to a place of control over their work and personal lives.
Why this works: Once you understand your “why” you’ll find it easier to make decisions and maintain your focus on the right things.
For instance, last year I did about 20 radio interviews when we released our Productivity Research to the market. I’d get really nervous, and then remind myself that my purpose is to help as many people as possible learn how to be happy and productive at work. It took my focus off me and off my ego, and on to the reason we did the research in the first place. To change lives.
As a leader of an organisation, being clear on why the company exists allows everyone to rally around a singular purpose. For pac executive that means that we constantly ask ourselves “will this service change lives? How do I best help this person develop the habits they need to be successful and happy at work and home?” We measure success not just in revenue, but in how many people we help change their lives for the better.
Ask yourself: Why is my work important? Why have I chosen this role, this employer, this career? Why does my company exist?
Let the answers to these questions inspire and guide you.
2. Put aside time for planning each week
I find that my clients often have resources available to them that they don’t use simply because they haven’t put time aside to plan and delegate accordingly.
When you’ve clearly identified your purpose, planning time each week can help you ensure you’re thinking ahead and prioritising the right activities, projects, and spending time with the right people.
Why this works: When you put 30 to 60 minutes aside each week to plan the week and weeks ahead, you can identify how much time you have available to you, the work you wish to complete, what can be delegated to others, and what should not be done. You’ll find you become more realistic about what can be achieved, and you are moving valuable projects forward.
How to do it: Schedule time in your diary each week (ideally Friday or Monday) for planning time and consider this time as sacred. While it seems like you’re taking time away from other work, you’ll discover this saves you hours and hours each week.
3. Build in time for reflection
Many people describe work as a treadmill. You run all day but don’t feel like you get anywhere. Or perhaps you feel like a “fire fighter” constantly dealing with the same issues over and over again.
Why this works: Reflection time affords us the ability to review what has worked well, what hasn’t worked well, and what we’ll do better next time. So, rather than allow ourselves to constantly be in reactive or crisis mode, we take time to work out how to stop the same issues from occurring over and over again.
How to do it: Build reflection time into your day or your week and ask yourself these questions:
- What went well?
- What could have gone better?
- What will I do differently?
Personally, I ask these questions of myself at the end of each day, and during my planning sessions each week.
We all want to be authentic. I can think of no better way than by being clear on our purpose, planning each week with this purpose at the centre of our thinking, and reflecting and learning from our successes and challenges day by day, week by week.
You’re bound to be successful. (And feel good about what you’ve achieved for yourself, your clients, your team, your organisation, and your community.)
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