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10 Steps to Higher Performance and More Joy

Dr. Pari Namazie

1 Jan 2019 | Organizations & Leadership

One of my clients, Elisabeth (name changed for confidentiality purposes), is a successful executive who has steadily grown in her organization. When she walks into a room, you can feel her presence, her aura, her energy. She is positive and cheerful, inspires her team and is widely admired and respected throughout her organization, headquarters, subsidiaries and different stakeholders. Over the years, she has received numerous promotions within her organization and is one of the few women in a top leadership position in her (male dominated) company.

But in moments when we review her progress and future goals, there is a sadness in the back of her eye. I see it often when I sit with Elisabeth, when she thinks and analyses. It took some time to get her to express this emotion, but finally Elisabeth shared her frustration. She did not see herself as others saw her. She did not see or feel success. Instead, she felt unfulfilled, unrewarded and emotionally drained.

As we worked on this issue in the coming months, we talked about intrinsic motivation, happiness, work life balance, health and energy. Finally, one of the things we uncovered was personal development. Somewhere down the line, as Elisabeth had continued to serve her company and colleagues with passion, love and energy, she had forgotten herself. She spent her energy to empower and inspire others, but forgot to keep herself enriched and energized.

In the months that followed, we worked out an action plan for her learning and growth. It addressed areas of skills development, but also hobbies and things to bring her joy.

This is what we learnt in 10 steps:

1. Review your calendar for the week / month. Omit or delegate things which are NOT really urgent, de-clutter, re-prioritize. (This one needs some constant work and is developed over time).

2. Free up chunks of time each day / month for you!

3. Take baby steps and build on them. The baby steps are to get you to build new habits, do them regularly and consistently.

4. Do some form of daily exercise. It doesn’t have to be a gym, it can be 10-15 minutes of stretching each day. Again, remember baby steps.

5. End your day with a reflection and gratitude exercise. What went well? What can you be grateful for in your personal life? In your professional life?

6. Take action and find a hobby which gives you happiness. It can be going back to a hobby you started as a university student, or something on your retirement to do list. Hobbies like dancing, dragon boating, badminton, painting, making pottery. This also helps you engage with a new social circle.

7. Learn a new work-related skill. Expand your mind, build your skill set and improve your knowledge base. There are always new things to learn to update yourself. Take responsibility to grow. You will not grow and become better if you are not willing to learn. Zig Ziglar once said, “If you’re not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you’re determined to learn, no one can stop you.”

8. Share and apply your learning. What and how does it impact you and your environment? Share the learning with your peers, learn together and help each other develop. This helps to keep you accountable.

9. Find and do things that bring you joy. People, family, meet friends, enjoy walks in nature. Think of the things which bring you joy, which make your heart swell. If it is hard to do, go back to a time in your life where you were happiest, when was that? What were you doing?

10. Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat.

It is a simple list, and in all honesty, it took several months for Elisabeth to give herself permission to change her work and lifestyle to focus on herself. It took us several months to work on a consistent plan of putting the 10 steps into action. It was not easy, but Elisabeth persevered, and she had me encouraging (almost nagging her) on a weekly check-in basis. BUT, the results were rewarding! She found more happiness, more balance, and in turn, her colleagues found an even higher level of productivity and performance in Elisabeth.

As she became comfortable with the 10 steps, she developed this with her management team. This created a higher commitment and team spirit, which in turn improved their productivity and level of engagement, motivation and performance.

A river cuts through rocks not because of its power, but because of its persistence. Just like a river, that’s what you need to unleash your greatness: persistence. Enjoy your 10 steps…and a new YOU!

If you would like help designing, planning and implementing your 10 Step Plan, give me a shout.

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Dr. Pari Namazie | Managing Partner

Pari is a coach, consultant and facilitator and has over 25 years of experience as an intercultural, HR and organizational improvement consultant to multinational and international companies. Read more

Dr. Pari Namazie

Pari is a coach, consultant and facilitator and has over 25 years of experience as an intercultural, HR and organizational improvement consultant to multinational and international companies. Read more

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