Ahhhh, summer. A time when many of us strive to get away from the daily grind and enjoy a bit of rest and relaxation. It’s a natural vacation time, especially with Memorial Day and Independence Day weekends. Did you know that summer can also serve as a “second New Year” of sorts? Regardless of the type of business you’re in, many people gear up toward two specific times of the year—January 1, and the fall. The fall is a time of new beginnings as much as the first of the year – it brings a new school year, a new season, and a time when everyone comes back from vacation and hits it hard until the holidays come around.
So, how do you maximize this season and find inspiration and renewal before you jump into the grind again this fall? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Reassess your goals.
If you set goals at the beginning of the year, when was the last time you assessed how you’re doing with them? If you didn’t set goals, well, now is your chance to do it! Set goals in all areas of your life: social, physical, intellectual, financial, family, career, spiritual. By setting goals in each of these areas, you’ll achieve a greater balance of the different areas of your life instead of focusing too much on one area and allowing other areas of your life to suffer. This graphic serves as a great visual reminder to intentionally work on each of these areas; when one gets out of balance, the wheel isn’t rounded and you can go flat.
Remember while setting goals that they should be: specific (ie, lose weight), measureable (lose 20 pounds), have a time limit (lose 20 pounds by December 1st), be YOUR goals (not someone else’s goals FOR YOU), and in writing. By either setting or re-assessing your goals, you will find renewed inspiration in achieving the things you really want in life, become a better leader and inspire those around you.
Find what you’re passionate about, and work in that passion.
Suze Orman, famous financial guru, once said, “You can’t be an inspirational leader unless you’re inspired yourself.” Are you passionate about what you do? Do you get fired up when you think about how your customers can be positively impacted by the services you offer or the product you’re creating? Steve Jobs wasn’t passionate about computers. He was passionate about building tools that helped to unleash indiviudals’ creativity. (Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2011/07/06/the-7-secrets-of-inspiring-leaders/) There’s a big difference! If you aren’t passionate about your work, maybe it’s time to re-assess why you are doing what you’re doing, and what you can do to change either your attitude or circumstances. Take steps to get to where you are living and working in your passion, but be realistic. If you’re a 60-year-old, the NFL draft isn’t likely in your future, and if you haven’t been taking ballet lessons since you could walk, chances are you won’t be the star of The Nutcracker.
This sounds incredibly simple, but make time to give back, with the resources and skills available to you. When is the last time you took time to volunteer for a charity or organization, sit and just talk with the elderly that rarely get visitors at your community nursing home, paint a house with Habitat for Humanity, serve meals at the local homeless shelter, or read to a classroom of underprivileged students? When you intentionally take time to give back to the community, you walk away inspired – grateful for what you do have, with a new perspective, hearing new stories from those you interact with, maybe even with ideas on how to improve your business, or how to help others. Some companies have worked community service time into the culture of their business, and do an incredible job at it. If your company does this, take advantage of it. If it doesn’t, do it on your own or find a way to possibly implement it with your company.
Pick up a fresh read.
We’ve said before that leaders are readers, and the average CEO reads 4-5 books per month, which is much higher than what the average American reads – 4-5 books in a year. Be intentional about picking up a new book, or re-reading one that has helped you, so your mind stays fresh. If you have a difficult time sitting down to read, consider getting e-books and having them read aloud to you from your Kindle or iPad, or even listen to the audio on your commute. Consider subscribing to magazines such as TIME, Life, WIRED, Business, Success, Forbes; read articles from websites such as Fast Company and INC. Stay current with what’s going on in business and life in general. This will not only help you remain relevant with what’s happening around you, but you just might find some inspiration in there as well.