New Year, Old Stuff, Deadlines and Epiphanies

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January 4, 2010
The beginning of the New Year for me always has intensified significance, as my birthday falls on January 6th so my "new beginnings" are twofold.  Throw on top of that the fact that I was born on the Epiphany.  While commonly rooted in religious meaning, another definition of epiphany is:

"a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience"

This added significance adds pressure to make resolutions, pledge to improve, be better, do things differently, etc.  Each year that passes, my awareness of my own maturity (and mortality) increases and with that, I would like to believe I have become more practical and have experienced my own epiphany for 2010.  This year, for example, instead of feeling compelled to come up with something new and improved to inject into my life, I am, instead, going to do more of what works well for me already. 

  • I am going to drink more water because that is easy – water is all I drink during the day already and it is good for me. 
  • I am going to exercise regularly, which is also easy because I already have a great regimen in place that I just need to stay committed to – and it is good for me. 
  • I am going to focus internally on my family and myself and not worry about what everyone else is doing – easy again, because that is already how I live my life AND, it is good for me.
  • Finally, I am going to communicate more rather than assuming that people already know what I am doing.  This is something that I think I do pretty well, however, have learned this year that I can do even better.  This is not only good for me, but good for others connected to me in some way as well.  

So that is it…it all comes down to continuing to do much of what I already do and a little more of what could use some improvement.  See how easy it can be?  Now, let’s see if I can live up to it. 

Robby Slaughter wrote an article in the Opinions section of the IBJ this week that talked about a world without deadlines.  In this article he challenges you to rethink deadlines as an opportunity for ongoing communications around how you are progressing toward your deadlines rather than having the deadline looming and closing without updates to those counting on your to deliver.  Collaboration, interaction, communication….just think about the overall impact on productivity this could have? Instead of folks worrying about whether or not you will meet your deadline and deliver as expected, you simply let them know how you are doing and they can spend that energy in a more productive way.  Brilliant. 

I say that not only as it pertains to deadlines, but to workplace relationships overall.  I have seen the value in running a business based on clear communication that then leads to running the business based on real business decisions rather than assumptions or emotions caused by lack of communication.  It is amazing what can be accomplished with clear and honest communications and it is amazing the damage that can be done absent clarity within an organization.

So, that is my focus for 2010 and for this new year in my life as well.  Moving away from the traditional definition of deadline to increased communication with those in my life about how the journey toward that deadline is going and how I intend to get there. 

I will let you know how it goes…