And then it was October…
October is always a great time of the year to reassess and refocus. The time remaining in the current year is short and illusive. Energy is flagging at the exact time we realise we need to push, and the next year coming is starting to broach the horizon. This year is no different to any other in those regards. If anything, 2020 has amplified this picture.
The fourth quarter of any year seems to turn into a sprint. In theory, there are three months in this quarter… and yet it seems to speed up and run away with us if we don’t focus ourselves on what we’d like to (or need to) achieve within that time.
December is an elusive “holiday”, filled with weird dynamics and social occasions that don’t necessarily leave us rested. At the same time as we try and switch off for a week or two, the next year looms large and our brains try and get a head start. Without some decent thought starting now, we will enter 2021 unprepared to give our best.
NOW is the time to think about how you’d like to arrive in 2021. Full, uncertain and tired? Or primed, rested and ready?
The decisions you make now, and how you handle the remainder of this year will secure one or other of those options for you.
In my opinion, there are three things we need to be sorting out if we’re going to own 2021:
3. Energy Spend
Look up for a moment and think about how you’d like to arrive in 2021. Are there things you already know you need to achieve in the first half of next year, and what do you need to prep or prime now to be ready to take them on? Think precisely about what will be required, and then work backwards. If 2021 is still an unknown quantity for you, think about what state you’d like to arrive there in? With what resources? Prime those by working backwards to make best use of the remainder of 2020.
The last three months of any year require determination from us. It’s imperative that we bring any year to a strong close so that we’re ready to take on the next, and this requirement comes just as our energy is starting to ebb significantly. This year has been an anomaly of epic proportions, and it’s worth our determination to finish strong. Determination means assessing what really matters and therefore what to prioritise; actively taking ownership of the time remaining and being honest with ourselves about what will make us feel positive or negative if we haven’t achieved it by year end. What can you not afford to drop or lose? Professionally? Personally? What would you like to leave in 2020 that requires capping off? What is foundational to 2021 and needs putting in place now?
Like I say, it’s been an epic year. The energy this year has required in terms of mental and emotional spend has been heavier than most. Ensuring a powerful fourth quarter sprint is going to require pulling energy out of a hat for many. Earlier in the year, I wrote a piece on Energy Leakage that spoke about how to gather, guard and direct our energy. Those same considerations are even more important now as we harness ourselves and point our remaining energy at finishing strong. Be discerning about where you spend your precious energy in the remainder of the year. Give thought to who and what you give it to. Being discerning about where you gather it from (what you allow in) will also determine the quality of the energy you have to give. What and who are you allowing to speak into your energy?
Now is the time to ensure you swap your shotgun for a sniper rifle and, as the CEO of one of my teams likes to say “GSD!” (get sh*t done!). Think forward to December – what will it feel like to have got certain things done, or failed at others? What can you not afford to drop? How do you want to feel as the 1st of January arrives? Will you take ownership NOW to create a path to some proper mental downtime in December?
What do finishing and starting strong look like for you?
by Christen Killick
October 5th, 2020