There was once a stone cutter who was not content with himself, or his position in life.
One day he passed a wealthy man’s house. Through the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. “How powerful that merchant must be!” thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant. To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined, but was envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself.
It was a summer day, and the now wealthy man felt uncomfortable in the hot sun. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. “How powerful the sun is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the sun!” Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers.
Soon the sun’s heat was no longer uncomfortable because of the powerful wind that took the heat away. “How powerful the wind is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the wind!” Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him.
But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it – a huge rock. “How powerful that rock is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a rock!” Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface and felt himself being changed. “What could be more powerful than I, the rock?” he thought. He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stone cutter.
I will be happy when, or I will be satisfied when, was the thinking of the stonecutter. Yet by the end of his journey, he had learned an important lesson from his experiences, that more is never enough.
Take some quiet time as you close this year to celebrate who you are and where you are. There will always be more, yet more will never be as much as you already are.
Enjoy your December news2use and reflect how fortunate you already are!
“Relevant & pragmatic ideas, tools and insights to play at your best.”
What kind of returns are you creating with your reflection practices?
Reflection helps us develop self-awareness, increases our understanding of personal motivations, thought processes and behavioral patterns. Reflection helps us develop critical thinking skills and improve our problem-solving abilities, because it encourages us to consider different perspectives and consider alternative solutions to problems.
Reflection helps us build resilience and improves our ability to cope with challenges and setbacks, which leads to better goal setting and planning for the future.
Here are my “top ten” personal year-end reflection questions:
- What were the most significant events, or experiences of this past year?
- What were my greatest achievements or accomplishments of the year?
- What were the challenges or setbacks that I encountered during the year, and how did I overcome them?
- What did I learn about myself and my abilities during the year?
- What relationships or connections were most meaningful to me during the year?
- In what ways did I grow or change as a person during the year?
- What are the things that brought me joy or fulfilment during the year, and how can I incorporate more of these into my life going forward?
- What were my greatest sources of stress or anxiety during the year, and how can I address or manage these better in the future?
- How did I contribute to the world or others during the year, and how can I continue to make a positive impact in the future?
- What are my most meaningful goals for the coming year, and how can I work towards achieving them?
For You & Your Team
I use the verb to reflect when I ask myself or others to think about something in a deeper, more introspective, and personal way. Reflection often involves asking questions and considering multiple perspectives or viewpoints.
To review involves a more structured or systematic evaluation of something. Reviewing is a more structured and goal-oriented process that involves evaluating something against specific criteria or standards and may involve identifying areas for improvement or making recommendations.
Personal reflection and team business reviews are “high yield” practices for everyone, especially as we close this year and look ambitiously to 2023 and beyond.
Here are two perspectives you can use for your team business review:
Perspective I – What were our key initiatives this past year? How would we evaluate the effort and resources for each of our initiatives (too much, about right, not enough) and how would we access the business impact we achieved (overachieved, achieved, under achieved)?
Perspective II – What were our high impact initiatives this past year, which initiatives did we invest in with little or no return and what were our missed opportunities?
When you encourage others to personally reflect on their experiences and lead your teams through systematic business reviews, you will be better prepared to achieve and exceed your aspirations and goals in the new year.
For You, Your Team & Your Business
Imagine the number of performance appraisals that will take place in your organization during the first quarter of the new year. What an opportunity for each employee and the company!
Keep in mind that the performance appraisal is the single most important meeting of the year. It is the “sacred intersection” that connects the talent, effort, aspirations, and growth of your people with the organizational strategy and future of the company.
Make sure that you address the fundamentals:
- Review past performance
- Discuss and exchange future performance and targets
- Explore and co-create a plan for employee growth opportunities
- Gather feedback how you, as a leader, can better support this person, (and the team) going forward
Four gentle reminders that will help you lead positive and growth-oriented appraisals:
No surprises. Remember that feedback must be fresh to be constructive.
Do not be consumed with past performance. The past is important, but it is the future that inspires people and leads to growth.
It is conversation, not a monologue. Keep in mind that your employees have a lot to share during these sessions so keep them balanced.
Check the energy. Ask yourself before each of these important meetings, how do I need to show up so that people I am appraising feel energized about their role and opportunities ahead?
People, Places & Technology
Recently I met with a CEO who said to me, “We can manage our own business; we don’t need outside help.” Yet when we look at high performing athletes and teams from every sports discipline, we see they surround themselves with experienced coaches. Looking for and securing outside help enables them to play at a higher level.
Why, because no matter how good you and your team are, everyone has room for improvement. In this episode of NORENBERG’S NINETY SECONDS, learn how to challenge an executive’s assumptions about the opportunities and value of outside help.
Thought for the Day
There are three ways to gain wisdom.
First by reflection, which is noblest.
Second by imitation, which is easiest.
Third by experience, which is the bitterest.