Tomorrow marks the last day of 2016. As such, many of us are contemplating our resolutions for 2017. We are wrestling with questions like; what do we want to accomplish in the coming year? How can we make 2017 our best year yet? How can we reach new heights in the New Year? As individuals, we are making lists of activities like; go to the gym more often, eat healthier, work less, spend more time with family, be more productive, etc. As leaders of organizations, we are making similar lists of activities like; grow revenue, improve culture, increase cash reserves, land a specific customer, etc. We are convinced that by making a list of goals for the coming year, we will accomplish them… that if we just show up (to those activities), success in 2017 will follow. I disagree. In my opinion, if you want to make 2017 your most successful year yet, your focus should be on how you show up…not just where & when you show up.
How you show up matters. Period. And, how you show up is called mindset. Showing up to the gym won’t get you in shape. Showing up every day with the right mindset will. Showing up at a sales meeting won’t improve sales. Showing up to every meeting with the right mindset will. Showing up at an all-hands meeting won’t improve your culture. Showing up every day with the right mindset will. Showing up at the trailhead won’t get you to the top of the mountain. Showing up with the right mindset during every step of the adventure will. Showing up in a firefight doesn’t win the battle. Showing up with a warrior’s mindset will.
I know these things because I’ve seen them first-hand on the battlefield, in the mountains, and in the boardroom. There’s a saying that “80% of success is showing up”. I think that’s garbage! Think about it. Have you ever worked somewhere, been on a team, or led others where you would have been content knowing that 80% of what the people around you are doing is just showing up? I don’t think so! Do you know of any successful people or organizations that allow themselves, or others, to just show up? Do you think people who work at places like Google, Apple, Amazon, Disney, Starbucks, or Southwest Airlines (the top of the world’s most admired companies) just show up? Do you think Marines just show up? Do you think renowned mountaineering guides like Christian Santelices or Zahan Billimoria just show up? No… they don’t! And neither should you!
So, as you think about your goals for 2017… about your resolutions… don’t just think about where & when you are going to show up. Think hard about how you will show up. Think about, and commit to, a mindset for 2017. Show up that way, every day. Period. Because how you show up will determine your success more than if you just show up.
Not sure where to start? Try the below. I’ve found these six pillars of mindset applicable and effective in any situation. They come from my experience with companies, in the Marines, and in the mountains. Together, they are my commitment to myself and to my clients in 2017. They are how I plan on showing up… every day. I’m guessing they could work for you, your team, and your organization as well.
- Mission First, People Always.
Regardless of the particular project I’m working on, mission (and clarity of that mission) is paramount. However, I will always place people first. I know that the decisions I make, the methods I use, the advice I give, and the words I choose affect people’s lives. I will show up accordingly.
- Embrace the Misery
I know that every project, every challenge, and every adventure I embark upon will have times of difficulty. In fact, at certain points they will probably feel miserable. As such, I will embrace that misery. I will tolerate adversity. I know others will, at some point, be feeling miserable as well. I will show up accordingly.
- Lead By Example
I know that, as a leader, being an example isn’t a choice. We are all examples whether we want to be, or not. The choice is in the type of example we want to be. I will show up accordingly.
- Never Quit
Undoubtedly, there will be times where quitting sounds like a good idea. I will resist that urge. Quitting is easy. Persevering is hard. I know others alongside me will face the urge to quit as well. I will show up accordingly.
- A Sense of Humor
There is levity, camaraderie, perspective, and health in humor. Humor can calm chaotic situations. I will show up accordingly…and laugh at myself too.
I’m thankful. I’m thankful for where I am in life, for those who have helped me get here, and for the experiences along the way. I’m thankful for those who continue to give me the gift of their time, their trust, and their confidence. I will show up accordingly.
Regardless of whether or not you choose this mindset… choose a mindset for 2017. Be clear about that mindset and share it with others. Ask your teammates about their mindset. If you are the leader of an organization, ask about the mindset of your organization. If it can’t be articulated, help discover it… and communicate it. Screen for it. Train to it. And, most importantly, show up accordingly.