Every year for the past 15 years, I have used my January newsletter to write about Personal Accountability and how I've seen that play out for me in the previous year. This year's installment of Intentional Reality – my concept of intentionally creating the reality I desire, by consistently practicing personal accountability – recounts my experiences in 2019. I don't recall any prior year where each quarter had such a unique set of significant challenges known to me at the start of the quarter. That’s what distinguishes 2019 from all other years.
Reflecting on 2019 – Make Excellence Automatic!
My Coach and I have an annual tradition – just before year end, we review both the year winding down and the new year coming up. In this year's discussion, I noted that ...
- Each of the four quarters in 2019 had presented a different set of challenges – a distinct mix of client service (Billable Hours, or BH), business development (Fill the Pipeline, or FP), administrative and management tasks (Manage the Practice, or MP), and other internal items (Other, or OT).
- At the beginning of each quarter, I had accurately identified the upcoming challenges.
- During the quarter, I worked to address them, checking in with Coach to report progress and solicit her ideas.
- Each time, my challenges were all successfully addressed, because my actual performance exceeded what had been expected.
Coach agreed, noting that, no matter the challenges, I always found a way to meet them. Even when I had to start an initiative from scratch, I always made the best of what I had available. She noted I had met all challenges successfully, thoroughly living out my "Theme" for 2019, "Make Excellence Automatic!"
Practice, Practice, Practice
Simone Biles is amazing. Out. Of. This. World. According to NPR, prior to the 2019 gymnastic world championships in Stuttgart, Germany, she submitted for consideration two moves to be named after her. Assuming she successfully landed both, those two moves would forever bear her name.
During the championships, NPR reported Simone "nailed her double-double dismount from the balance beam. The move, which consists of a double-twisting double backflip, will now be named the 'Biles.'" She also began her floor routine by "landing a triple-double, composed of a double backflip with three twists. That move will now be known as the 'Biles II.'"
I have a hard time picturing these moves in my head, and absolutely no hope of doing them – still, I marvel at her accomplishments.
I wonder how many times ...
- She practiced a move before she first landed it?
- She landed a move in practice before she tried it at a minor competition?
- She landed a move in other competitions before she could "stick the landing" at the world championships?
While I'm not a world-class gymnast, I do recognize the relation between boring practice and exciting results – the more and smarter you practice, the more likely you are to achieve your desired results. In 2019, my successful results were visible quarterly – however, I'd spent years doing the hard behind-the-scenes practice, improving day by day, so I could focus on efficiently and effectively performing the right tasks in the right way, all day, every day, to achieve the results needed for that quarter.
One specific example of the benefits of consistent practice is my monthly e-newsletter. In 2019, I wrote the content for all twelve months on a "Just In Time" basis, starting the writing only three or so days before launch. Could I have waited that long to begin putting pen to paper 15 years ago? No – however, having written roughly 170 e-newsletters prior to 2019, I had developed the skills and confidence necessary to "Stick The Landing" and deliver good content every month.
Aspiration for 2020 – Stick The Landing!
Inspired by Simone Biles' excellence, I am challenging my associates and myself to "Stick The Landing!" in all aspects of our work in 2020. While we won't always be able to do this, aspiring to do this every time has its own intrinsic benefit. When you always "do your best," even if occasionally coming up short, you have peace of mind knowing you did all you could, while recognizing the need to make a change and try again.
Todd L. Herman