New years often start with new (or renewed) resolutions. And that's good.
Here's a slight variation on that: the idea of "recalibrating" ourselves for the new year. Indeed, consciously recalibrating ourselves any time we're approaching change or new opportunities: a new role, a new challenge, a new project, a new phase of a project, a presentation, a meeting, a new week, or even a new day.
Two powerful personal calibrations that can be applied at both macro and micro levels are purpose and posture. They apply as we start a new year and they can apply on a weekly, daily or even event basis to guide productive performance.
US President John F. Kennedy said that "Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction".
Having a clear purpose doesn't guarantee the outcome, but it does give clarity, focus and energy, helping us decide on priorities and mark our progress. It guides our attention, our actions and our energy towards what matters and reminds us why.
Clarity of purpose whether for a year, a week, a day, a project, or a meeting is a key point of calibration for success. It doesn't need to be complicated or overengineered; it's about what Susan David calls "walking your why" in her book, Emotional Agility. Walking your why is about ensuring your energy is harnessed to what matters most, to what you value. Whatever your level of clarity of purpose might be, it's useful to be aware of it and able to describe it. If you're going to "walk your why" then the "why" has to be conscious, monitored and occasionally recalibrated.
It's one thing to have a clear purpose, another entirely to pursue and achieve that purpose.
Pursuing a purpose requires active engagement - the "walking" part of the "why". And successful engagement with purpose requires an intentional orientation towards it - the positive physical, mental and emotional "posture" that we consciously adopt and calibrate to ensure we bring our best to our efforts.
Last year I finally started yoga, which has helped me more consciously monitor and calibrate my own physical posture: adjusting my stance, lifting my chin, holding my shoulders back, catching myself slumping when I'm inattentive. I also consistently see the effects of physical posture on confidence, communication and credibility as I work with people who are improving their communication and leadership practices.
Calibrating posture operates at several levels: physical, as noted, but also mental and emotional. We all know the effects of having a poorly calibrated physical posture towards an idea, a relationship or a challenging situation. It can reflect our intent and attitude.
Our posture doesn't only communicate to others, but to ourselves. A concious recalibration of physical posture can shift our mindset from anxiety to energy, from weakness to strength, from confusion to focus. And a conscious recalibration of mindset can positively shape and influence how we "show up" for the situation.
Our posture - physical and mental - is something we can monitor and control. It's a choice, a decision. And by consciously calibrating your posture ("how do I need to show up?") you can better manage your behaviour and performance in ways that support your purpose.
"What is my physical posture right now? What is my mental posture towards the situation? What do I need it to be? What changes do I need to make, monitor and maintain to achieve my purpose?"
Purpose and posture are two powerful calibrations worth making - whether for a year, a week, a day, or a conversation.
Situational Leadership® Master Trainer and Australia and New Zealand Affiliate for the Center for Leadership Studies
Bregman, P. (2011). 18 Minutes: Find your focus, Master distraction, and Get the right things
Cuddy, A. (2015). Presence: Briging your boldest self to your biggest challenges
David, S. (2016). Emotional Agility: Get unstuck, embrace change, and thrive in work and life.done.
Hougaard, R. & Carter, J. (2018). The Mind of the Leader: How to lead yourself, your people, and your organization for extraordinary results
Peper, Harvey, Perez (2017). How posture affects memory recall and mood. Biofeedback, (Summer) 45:2
Viani, L.O. (2017). Good posture is important for physical andmental health, SF State News (Dec 15). https://news.sfsu.edu/news-story/good-posture-important-physical-and-mental-health
© Copyright Aubrey Warren 2018
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