I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions but I understand the mentality of them. If you go to a public gym, you are well aware that within a few weeks the new crowd will disappear along with the vast majority of every resolution embarked on. You may be in the 5% that accomplish a resolution and I support that but for most, I have different advice.
I gave up the cliche of a new year’s resolution years ago and began focusing on ways to be better each and every day. For me, the last day of the year is the most important because it is then you can look back and determine if you are better than you were a year ago.
That approach does come with a bit of caution if you’ve been doing anything for a while, including leadership. It is hard to get better.
I’ve lived long enough to understand that the natural default of most humans is “status quo.” Whether as a leader, police officer, father, mother or in relationships, it’s always easier to just get by. That inclination is exactly why Jocko Willink or David Goggins have become so popular. Their work ethic and attitude is fascinating to so many because we see them as an oddity in a world that seems to encourage the exact opposite.
- I am no different. My default is absolute laziness.
I’ve been in my law enforcement career for close to 30 years and after 26 in a supervisor and management role, I’ve pretty much “been there and done that.” I set out 20 years ago to become one of the top speakers and trainers in the business and I’ve dialed that in to a level that has rivaled any success I ever imagined. My personal life and family relationships are great and all of this scares me…..
- It scares me because it would be very easy to just sit back and stop.
Stop providing new material and courses.
Stop pushing for greatness at my agency (the ole’ retired on duty approach)
Stop developing a fresh approach with my wife and kids
It would be easy to just stop working and ride this out
- And that is a dangerous place to be if you want to be a Courageous Leader.
If you can commit to doing hard things, it will radically change your life for the better. Each person reading this will have different needs and goals but maybe it will help if I tell you how I do “hard things.”
If you try to do hard things in every aspect of your life, you will likely end up doing nothing. You only have 24 hours in a day and a significant amount of that is taken up with sleep and prior commitments so start off small, with realistic goals, and commit to never stopping.
In fact, my challenge to you on this first day of 2023, it to commit to doing one new hard thing and don’t stop. The beauty of doing hard things is that unless you are the absolute best in the world at what you want to improve on, you can tackle the issue. Even if you are the best, you must keep doing hard things to remain the best.
The key is figuring out what you want to get better at and while it’s natural to run away from things you are terrible at, that could be a great place to start. I’ve noticed in my career that struggles give individuals two distinct decisions.
They either lean in to the struggle and work hard to get better or they run from the struggle and stay bad at it.