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7 Actionable Steps To Transform Your Life

7 Actionable Steps To Transform Your Life

To change your mind and your world it is going to take action. Since you are reading this, let’s assume you are wanting to change something in your life or perhaps completely transform your life. Let’s get real for a moment. This is not going to happen by accident or by blind luck. No matter what you are wanting to change, whether it’s wanting a new relationship, wanting to get out of a current one, needing more money, wanting more leisure time or whatever else, you have to keep the goal in mind and make sure that you are taking the right actions – and not the wrong ones. It’s not rocket science, but you must develop self-discipline and adopt the right mindset and behaviours.

Follow these 7 actionable steps consistently for a month, and you’ll be off to a very positive start.

The First Step: Be Honest

Being honest might be easier said than done, but if you are hiding from some glaringly obvious truth, hoping it will go away, then you can be sure that when you come out of the corner it will still be there waiting for you. Most of life’s problems and challenges lose power over you when you look at them squarely in the eye and challenge them face on.

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So be courageous with this exercise. For the next 30 days, keep a diary and write down everything that’s on your mind every morning. This isn’t for anyone else to see, it’s simply you taking control of what’s on your mind and reflecting on what is important and what isn’t. When you begin this diary, be as free and as brave as you can, as it is a safe place to face your own reality in life and to begin working out what needs to be done.

The Second Step: Watch Your Habits

As you begin writing your daily diary, you must make sure that you don’t ignore things that could be important. Also, you must be thinking about whether your daily patterns are getting you closer to your goals or further from them. Of course, nobody is perfect so don’t be too hard on yourself, but do remember that every habit you continue and every new one you start could have a massive effect on where your life is going. Remember it doesn’t cost anything to change your mind, and anyone can do it.

The Third Step: Educate Yourself

No matter what you are trying to do to transform your life, there is simply no excuse in today’s world for not giving yourself that chance. If you are feeling like the victim and all you can see are reasons (excuses) not to make a change, then you need more hope that what you want is achievable. This can always be found by reading, whether it’s non-fiction books, articles online or magazines that relate to your goal. What you think about and learn about will have results, so plant those seeds and let them grow.

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The Fourth Step: Don’t Look Back

History is important, and we can all learn from it. If you are interested in what happened in the past then this is good, but also learn not to get stuck on it when you are trying to change. This doesn’t mean you should trust someone who ripped you off last week or go back to a relationship when you can see this person is destroying you. It’s possible to learn from experiences and move on, so you must build this into your mindset as you change your mind and progress into your new life.

The Fifth Step: Don’t Be Afraid To Learn and Grow

This may sound like an unusual suggestion, but it is important to be free from fear of trying new things. If you are feeling too comfortable with your current habits, friends, jobs and relationships, then it’s possible you are blocking your own potential. In reality, everyone does this to some degree and it’s not a problem, but many people do this far too much. If you can join a new club, take up a new hobby or start to listen to someone who you know deep down is talking sense, then you are opening yourself up to new possibilities.

The Sixth Step: Be Creative

This step is not necessarily about creating a great piece of artwork or inventing the next big thing. It is simply about using your mind creatively to help bring about what you want. For the next 30 days, spend five minutes every day (preferably at the same time each day) simply relaxing, shutting your eyes and imagining the life you want. Make the most of this perfect fantasy.

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It costs nothing to use your mind in this way, and the most successful people in the world (no matter what success means to them) began with an idea of how their life should be, and they focussed on it. Don’t underestimate the power of this step.

The Seventh Step: Make A Long-Term Plan

Imagine for a moment that you had the life you wanted, and that everything was perfect. No problems to deal with and everything you could possibly desire is right there. What happens next? That’s right, there’s another day tomorrow, and then another. If you only think about solving a certain problem and you don’t think beyond it, then you could end up feeling even more discontent than when you started.

So imagine you will live to 120 years of age and list everything that you want to achieve during that time. Think outside the box and don’t underestimate yourself. Good luck, and always keep your positive goals in mind.

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Featured photo credit: http://cdn.shopify.com via cdn.shopify.com

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Carles Sabarich

Carles aspires to encourage people to live actively and take charge of their lives.

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Published on July 29, 2020

How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

Have you been thinking of how you can be a more strategic leader during these uncertain times? Has the pandemic thrown a wrench at all your carefully laid out plans and initiatives?

You’re not alone. The truth is, we all want some stability in our careers and teams during this disruptive pandemic.

However, this now requires a bit more effort than before and making the leap from merely surviving to thriving means buckling down to some serious strategic thinking and maintaining a determined mindset.

Is There a Way to Thrive Despite These Disruptions?

Essentially – yes, although you need to be willing to put in the work. Every leader wants to develop strategic thinking skills so that they can enhance overall team performance and boost their company’s success, but what exactly does it mean to be strategic in the context of the times we live in?

If you happen to be in a leadership position in your organization right now, you are most probably navigating precarious waters given the disruptions caused by the pandemic. There’s a lot more pressure than before because your actions and decisions will have a much greater impact these days not just on you, but also to the people who are part of your team.

Companies often bring me in to coach executives on strategic thinking and planning. And while pre-pandemic I would usually start by highlighting the advantages of strategic thinking, nowadays, I always begin these Zoom coaching sessions by driving home the point that this pandemic has now made strategic thinking not just an option but an absolute must.

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Assessing and making plans through the lens of a good strategy might require significant work at first. Nevertheless, you can take comfort in the fact that the rewards will far outweigh the effort, as you’ll soon see after following the 8 strategic steps I have outlined below.

8 Steps to Strategic Thinking

As events unfold during these strange times, you’re bound to feel wrong-footed every now and then. Being a leader during this pandemic means preparing for more change not just for you, but for your whole team as well.

As states and cities go through a cycle of lockdowns and reopening, employees will experience the full gamut of human emotions in dizzying speed, and you will often be called on to provide insight and stability to your team and workplace.

Strategic thinking is all about anticipation and preparation. Rather than expending your energy merely helping your company put out fires and survive, you can put the time to better use by charting out a solid plan that can protect and help you and your company thrive.

Take the following steps to build solid initiatives and roll out successful projects:

Step 1: Step Back, Then Set the Scope

One of the things that leaders get wrong during their first attempt at strategic thinking is expecting that it is just another item on a checklist. The truth is, you need to take a good, long look at the bigger picture before anything else. This means decisively prioritizing and stepping away from tasks that can be delegated to others. Free up your schedule so you can focus on this crucial task at hand.

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Then, proceed with setting the scope and the strategic goals of the project or initiative you plan to build or execute. Ask yourself the bigger question of why you need to embark on a particular project and when would be the right time to do so.

You need to set a timeline as well, anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. Keep in mind that your projections will deteriorate the further out you go as you make longer-term plans.

For this reason, add extra resources, flexibility, and resilience if you have a longer timeline. You should also be making the goals less specific if you’re charting it out for the longer term.

Step 2: Make a List of Experts

Make and keep a list of credible people who can contribute solid insight and feedback to your initiative. This could range from key stakeholders to industry experts, mentors, and even colleagues who previously planned and rolled out similar projects.

Reach out to the people on this list regularly while you work through the steps to bring diverse insight into your planning process. This way, you will be able to approach any problem from every angle.

Bringing key stakeholders into this initial process will also display your willingness to listen and empathize with their issues. In return, this will build trust and potentially pave the way for smoother buy-in down the line.

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Step 3: Anticipate the Future

After identifying your goals and gathering feedback, it’s time to consider what the future would look like if everything goes as you intuitively anticipate. Then, lay out the kind and amount of resources (money, time, social capital) that might be needed to keep this anticipated future running.

Step 4: Brainstorm on Potential Internal and External Problems

Next, think of how the future would look if you encountered unexpected problems internal and external to the business activity that seriously jeopardize your expected vision of the future. Write out what kind of potential problems you might encounter, including low-probability ones.

Assess the likelihood that you will run into each problem. To gauge, multiply the likelihood by the number of resources needed to address the problem. Try to convert the resources into money if possible so that you can have a single unit of measurement.

Then, think of what steps you can take to address these internal and external problems before they even happen. Write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Lastly, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different possible problems and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

Step 5: Identify Potential Opportunities, Internal and External

Imagine how your expected plan would look if unexpected opportunities came up. Most of these will be external but consider internal ones as well. Then, gauge the likelihood of each scenario and the number of resources you would need to take advantage of each opportunity. Convert the resources into money if possible.

Then, think of what steps you can take in advance to take advantage of unexpected opportunities and write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Finally, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different unexpected opportunities and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

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Step 6: Check for Cognitive Biases

Check for potential cognitive biases that are relevant to you personally or to the organization as a whole, and adjust the resources and plans to address such errors.[1] Make sure to at least check for loss aversion, status quo bias, confirmation bias, attentional bias, overconfidence, optimism bias, pessimism bias, and halo and horns effects.

Step 7: Account for Unknown Unknowns (Black Swans)

To have a more effective strategy, account for black swans as well. These are unknown unknowns -unpredictable events that have potentially severe consequences.

To account for these black swans, add 40 percent to the resources you anticipate. Also, consider ways to make your plans more flexible and secure than you intuitively feel is needed.

Step 8: Communicate and Take the Next Steps

Communicate the plan to your stakeholders, and give them a heads up about the additional resources needed. Then, take the next steps to address the unanticipated problems and take advantage of the opportunities you identified by improving your plans, as well as allocating and reserving resources.

Finally, take note that there will be cases when you’ll need to go back and forth these steps to make improvements, (a fix here, an improvement there) so be comfortable with revisiting your strategy and reaching out to your list of experts.

Conclusion

A great way to deal with feelings of uncertainty during this pandemic is to anticipate obstacles with a good plan – and a sure road to that is practicing strategic thinking.

In the coming months and years, you’ll need to continue navigating uncharted territory so that you can lead your team to safe waters. Regularly doing these 8 steps to strategic thinking will ensure that you can prepare for and adapt  to the coming changes with increasing clarity, perspective, and efficiency.[2]

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Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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