Step 12: 2009 will be the year of the Five Ps. Persistence.Pragmatism. Pareto. Pencil. And Paper. It’ll be all you need. Absolutely all you need. Be persistent: most people give up too soon. One more pitch of the book proposal, one more juggle of the balls, one more call to the client could be all it takes. Be persistent. Be pragmatic. Some clients are bad clients: move on. Some days the gym won't work for you. Accept what works and be willing to try new stuff and let some stuff go. Work on the vital few, the 20% that makes the difference. Think Pareto. Write stuff down. Give it attention. That's all you need: paper and pencil. 2009's 5Ps. That's all you need.
Step 11: Best version of you by simply allowing it: more being and less doing. More walks, less e-mail. Snow-boarding rather than key-boarding. More inspiring literature, mountains, seashores, football in the park with the kids, home-baked bread, discovering new music…. remembering that dancing is exhilarating and however good The Wire is, too much screen stuff is trance-inducing. Txts exchanged with someone who cares for you: just like you did when you were kids. And a whole lot less hanging around complaining by the water-cooler with the guys from product marketing. There is an amazing version of you which can handle all this daily trivia and focus on what is really important, which doesn't let sensible anxiety get out of hand and become debilitating stress. Which knows deep down that however powerful technology is or might become there is nothing so powerful as humans properly connecting.
Step 10: You’ll finally give up on trying to get more time. You don’t need more time-just better choices.
Of course you are busy. Interesting company/firm where you work. Great friends and family. Your scuba-diving interest. Of course you are busy: you'll never, ever have enough time. So forget that working late, working Sunday afternoon stuff -unless you WANT to, of course. No, make better choices. More e-mail or family time? Time with the team or on the phones? Not easy but the more often you make those decisions you get the results you want: start today. Conscious rather than reactive decision making to get the results you want.
Step 9: Lead who you can, in the best way you can: by example.
It's not what you say, it's what you do. It's not your job title, it's your actions. It's not your one-off behaviours, it's your consistent habits. Model the behaviours you seek in others. Catch people doing things right. Give helpful constructive feed-back. Change the team, culture and/or community one person at a time.
Do it with passion. Why? You'll be noticed: it builds your brand. You give more value: the customer will come back. It's more fun: you'll enjoy the day even more. Passion doesn't mean you have to have the best job or project. Look for the intrinsic worth in all you do. Deliver the handouts correctly collated and stapled, with smile. Fix the air-con, on time. Deliver the work-shop to the grumpy audience, brilliantly. You get the kind of thing. Do it with passion: or pack it in.
More than ever before: be distinct or extinct. Become different. You have three routes to difference. Product. That's slow to change and ultimately copyable. Company; your firm. That's trickier to replicate. Your unique culture, way of working. And there's you. Now that's impossible to replicate. Put the three together: product+company+you. Unstoppable: that's what people buy. Get serious, very serious about being different.
Step 6: You'll hope but you will also be forever learning.
If you are not learning, you are not 'staying the same'. Your expertise and thinking capability could well be in decline. Your perspective could well be blinkered. Become an avid learner, again. Always have a non-fiction book on the go. Always have an audio CD or pod-cast available in your car to listen to while on the way to a meeting. Keep a note-book of thoughts, ideas, references and inspiring quotations. Visit museums or art galleries you wouldn't usually go to.Return to your language learning. Hola, Espanol. Set aside a budget for your own learning and development. Stay informed, say wise. Stay ahead.