The first Toastmasters meeting of the new calendar year is always a fun one, and predictable in the way that Linkedin often is. It is filled with inspirational exhortations to imagine your future, create new possibilities, and most importantly, to set goals for the year ahead.
It occurs to me that this is not only strikingly similar to most strategic planning exercises, it also mimics organisations’ overemphasis on creating goals so that there are metrics and something to manage.
Just to be clear, strategy and goals are not bad things.
The question I sit with is this: is more management what individuals and the world need right now?
The reality is that most goals, while set for the future, are deeply rooted in the past. They are not in fact new possibilities but rather the updated 2023 version of 2022’s goals.
Moreover, the behaviours which are applied to deliver on these targets in 2023 are likely the same ones which didn’t fully deliver on them in 2022.
Here’s my pitch.
Don’t set yourself more personal management objectives for 2023. Let go of that bundle of goals you’ve been carting around for years. Stop living in an aspirational future and live in the present.
As you encounter situations, ask yourself: What is my intention?
As you encounter situations, ask yourself: What is needed?
As you encounter situations, ask yourself: What is the impact I want to have right now?
This is not a New Year’s resolution. This is not a personal development plan.
This is the possibility of showing up as a leader everyday, everywhere you go.