Think Big To Propel Your Vision
Oct 8th, 2018
“When you know clearly what you want, you wake up every morning excited about life”
Every so often, amidst the current noise of interviews and speeches in the media, a person draws your full attention for all the right reasons. I have long admired Joanna Lumley and enjoyed her interview last week with Andrew Marr on the eve of her touring show. Called ‘It’s All About Me’, the title is a playful reference to the often self-absorbed world of the theatre, but in this case could not be further from the truth – here is a smart, gracious and determined woman (remember her Gurkha’s campaign?), who is grounded, influential and true to herself. What a joy to listen to her.
One could argue that the ability to make such an impact is natural for a trained performer and somewhat harder to attain for those with more classic professional lives. The 2017 Skills and Employment Survey, published this week, revealed that UK staff are working harder and faster ‘just to stand still’. One third of respondents said they had to work at very high speeds all or almost all the time, yet individual productivity has stagnated. So, what does it take to propel your personal vision forward and achieve what you truly want to achieve, while navigating the professional and personal challenges, pressures and distractions we all face?
Last week, I had the great pleasure of meeting face-to-face with a client in the finance sector who has transformed her level of personal impact and achievement in a short space of time. I last saw her in person two and a half years ago when we did her first Vision Intensive Programme – our subsequent regular coaching sessions have been by phone. At that time, in her mid 40s, she had secured a new senior role and was on a track to potential board level. Her mind-set at the start of the programme, however, was one of gratitude for having negotiated a role that fitted with her family balance. As a result, her demeanour was more akin to ‘head down’ than focusing on her next strategy to get to the Board.
As she walked through the door this time, I was struck by how differently she showed up. Grounded, stronger, more vocal, this person over the course of the two plus years has become influential in her field including being a government advisor, and a powerful role model and advisor to other professional women. She has achieved this with an equal focus on her family life which has always been very important to her and integral to her plan. Her reason for meeting last week was for a second Vision Intensive day to once again take the time out to reflect, clarify and focus in preparation for her final steps to board membership.
One of the key reasons behind her transformation had been that the time together allowed her to think big. She explained that, “At the time, the goal to be on the board was so far away. After the Vision Intensive day, I could see that it could be achieved within a few years.” By giving herself permission to think beyond her immediate scope and by removing the limiting beliefs (that she was in fact unaware of), she released an energy that propelled her forward to a place she was not even aware she could go.
Likewise, I was able this month to reflect with another client, a highly visionary CEO in a global hi-tech engineering business, on the remarkable journey he has taken over the ten years we have worked together, individually and with his teams. When we first met, he was a newly appointed CEO. He created a highly ambitious and at times controversial vision designed to shift the traditional company culture to one of innovation and entrepreneurship, and become global in outlook. Over the years, we worked together to create combined business and personal plans to drive both business growth, develop his teams to fulfil their own aspirations and to achieve his own ambitions.
What is striking, among the many milestones, is that he achieved much of his original ten-year plan in five years, and his subsequent new five-year plan in two. Like my previous client, he integrated family as a priority. How had he managed this? As he explained, “When you wake up excited every morning, it makes you unstoppable.” He created the opportunity to get really clear about what he wanted for himself, his teams and the business and ignited the inner spark that drives him. We are now are embarking on his third one-to-one Vision Day to focus on his legacy as he nears retirement and his next chapter.
Both of these executives have achieved their aspirations – not because they are innately more skilled or gifted than others but because they shook off limiting beliefs, gave themselves permission to think big and got clear not only on what they wanted but what they truly longed for.
Life is full of challenges, pressures and commitments; and we all have strengths and weaknesses that impact our journey to move ahead. But as Joanna Lumley once said, “You only have one go at life, which is thrilling. Only you can make yourself into who you want to be.” Whether you are in the early, mid or late stage of your career, I invite you to clarify your vision, ignite your inner spark and make it happen.
If you want to think big about your future and make 2019 a significant year and beyond contact Oona at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Career Progression – Be in the driving seat