To avoid being successfully unsuccessful, don’t water weeds. Have a clear and compelling vision of what you want, and make sure your efforts remain focused on achieving the intended results.
Bamboo farmers don’t start in haste; they plan before they plant. So should you. Take some uninterrupted time alone or with your team and answer a few key questions: What do I (we) want to accomplish in life and in work? What am I (we) striving for? What do we want to create?
Taking the time to get clear about your vision will make sure that once you begin watering, you have the right end in mind. The late Steven Covey reminded us to begin with the end in mind, but only if you have the right end in mind. I could not agree more. After all, what’s the point of climbing to the top of the ladder of success if you realize, in the end, you’re on the wrong wall?
“If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Not sure where I heard this quote, but it’s stuck with me over the years.
Chances are, you’ve heard about the importance of setting goals. Pinpointing goals help ensure you get where you want to go. The problem is people often set rather lofty goals.
How often have we turned the calendar on January 1 and said: I’m going to exercise every day of the week for an hour. For someone who is used to exercising routinely, setting this expectation may be just fine. But for many of us, setting such high expectations is more a recipe for failure than success.This is why setting mini-goals is so important. For example: I’m going to exercise for ten minutes five times a week. Once you get in the habit of this fulfilling this mini goal, increasing it by ten minutes will be easier since you have already begun forming the habit of exercise. Besides, it's "water the bamboo," not "drown the bamboo."
The same notion holds true in your job. While increasing sales by 20% within a calendar year may be your end-game, breaking up this overarching goal into realistic, mini-milestones – a 5% increase of prospects to the pipeline within the first month – will help keep you moving in the right direction, stay laser focused on what needs to be done, and motivated to reach your ultimate objective.
When being interviewed just after winning the third consecutive Olympic gold medal in beach volleyball with her partner Misty May-Treanor, I was struck by how passionately Kerry Walsh-Jennings talked about their team of supporters who helped them achieve this feat. Does this dynamic duo have great skill? Of course. Were they determined and laser-focused on their quest for gold? No doubt. Have they been watering their bamboo religiously since they formed their partnership years ago? Absolutely!
Yet, Walsh-Jennings realized their victorious record was a team effort. The unseen support, dedication, and expertise from the duo’s Bamboo Circle of family, friends, trainers and coaches were crucial in driving their success.
The roots of giant timber bamboo grow over 100 yards. In a grove, the unseen roots grow intertwined beneath the ground, providing support to each other and allowing them to endure setbacks and challenges.The same is true for you at home and in your job. Today, more than ever, your success depends on the quality of your relationship roots. In fact, I believe your ability to have effective relationships will do for more for you than any other skill you will learn.
By watering and improving your relationships and being deeply rooted, you will gain valuable resources such as information, energy, work efficiencies, income, ideas, and increased productivity. I have found that there are four key stages to building strong relationships:
Stage 1: Building trust through both actions and words.
Stage 2: Cultivating the relationships by engaging in empathy and self-disclosure, sharing authority, seeking input, and collaborating to problem-solve.
Stage 3: Taking risks and challenging yourself to reach out to offer and ask for help.
Stage 4: Being empowered by the deep trust you’ve developed in your relationships.
As Peter Drucker once said, “Organizations are no longer built on force, but on trust.” I bet Kerry Walsh-Jennings would echo his sentiments…. Gold and clear!
In life and on the bamboo farm it’s what's under the ground that creates what's above the ground!