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5 Strategic approaches to getting the best from yourself

What will future you look like? Are you taking charge and getting the best from yourself?

By Lisa Fenton

Lisa Fenton CSCMP is a speaker, writer, and supply chain management professional. Listen to her podcasts on "3, 2, 1, iRelaunch" - Episode 101: “What Does ‘Supply Chain’ really mean? And if I’m good at logistics, can I relaunch in that field?” and Episode 72: "Creating an Effective Return to Work Plan."

Hal Hershfield, a UCLA psychologist notes imaging our future selves as separate people who ‘s interests and desires matters to us allows us to feel closer to future you and treat him or her better!

Future challenges in our professional landscape will include developing digital dexterity, as well as employing advanced analytics and artificial intelligence.

How can returners ensure their getting the best from themselves?

To deliver results we must look beyond just identifying our areas of weakness and take a strategic approach to explore self reflection, self assessment, create a personal plan an action plan, action, and monitor ourselves.

Self reflection could include the 5 Rs model (Bain team al 2002): reporting, responding, relating, reconstructing. Is going to allow you some time and space to ask questions and seek answers. If your job is killing you, if circumstances are leaving you stressed if your unhappy, tired, and frustrated then things are not working for you and things need to change. I remember when our middle son was in rep hockey, they had a rule that stated give yourself 24 hours before responding to something that upset you. I have done this, and I think it is a great idea to use this with many different situations in our daily lives.

Tools for reflection include journaling, blogging, video documentation and voice recordings. Wheel of Life tool is a tool, the modern-day version is created by Paul Meyer, a pioneer in the life coaching and self-improvement industry. It contains eight sections – Spirituality, Health, Work, Social, Development, Recreation, Family and Life Planning. You rate each of the areas on a scale of 1-10. It facilitates which areas you need to focus on and gives you a perspective of your life. The benefits of self reflection include improves self awareness, provide perspective, deeper level of learning, improved confidence while enabling you to challenge your assumptions. If you commit to stopping, looking, listening, and acting the results can include saving time, improving your confidence, and improving your performance. Everyone has different times when self reflection will work best for them: New Years, milestones, monthly, daily, after an event and when your off track.

Self assessment could include an assessment such as Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator is a self-report inventory designed to identify a person's personality type, strengths, and preferences. The questionnaire was developed by Isabel Myers and her mother Katherine Briggs based on their work with Carl Jung's theory of personality types. Today, the MBTI inventory is one of the most widely used psychological instruments in the world.

Write a personal mission statement to define your fundamental purpose. It gets to the why of you and states who you are.

Personal Plan could include a personal vision statement, timeline with milestones, questions on goals, skills, knowledge, experience, and personal experience.

You can create plan for each goal. I like the seven-step method from Design Epic Life –
Step 1: Define the big picture
Step 2: Define the end of the plan
Step 3: Define the milestones, achievements, and the rewards
Step 4: Define the process
Step 5: Define the obstacles
Step 6: Track your actions
Step 7: Do a regular review

Action plan should include Setting smart goals = Specific, measurable, attainable and time focused. It could include a personal vision statement to define your current and future objectives while guiding and helping you make decisions to align with your beliefs and goals. Criteria include concise, clear, time based, future based, stable, challenging, inspiring and abstract. You can return to it, review and revise as well as use it for a reference. It helps you set a broader strategic plan with a long-term focus to differentiate you, help you focus your efforts on core competencies needed to achieve your goals.

Monitoring your plan could include these areas educational, spiritual, physical, emotional, and social. Setting personal KPI s (Key Performance Indicators) which focus on small achievable steps to keep your goal in mind while staying motivated. If for example you set physical fitness goals forms of monitoring could include fitness trackers and apps. On the professional side if for example your are working on focus it could include Pomodoro Technique which is a time management strategy, meditation app such as Insight Timer, Panda which is an extension that offers a focus mode.

There are many benefits to focusing on getting the best from yourself along your return to work journey : get smarter in goal setting, more balanced life, lower levels of stress, more self confident, improved quality of life, enriched relationships with family, healthier, reduce bad habits.

There are many cost effective ways to work on your development take a class, read, take a course, webinar, ask for feedback, shadow others and observe, network, attend conferences, journal, meditate, get a mentor or a personal board of directors.

In the future, professionals and their teams will face additional challenges in a virtual environment to capitalize on opportunities. Our future work environment will compel us to anticipate trends, pivot quickly to take advantage of opportunities and challenge our abilities.

Want to learn more? Hear from Lisa Fenton, CSCMP firsthand in these episodes:

Episode 101: What Does ‘Supply Chain’ really mean? And if I’m good at logistics, can I relaunch in that field? With Lisa Fenton

Episode 72: Creating an Effective Return to Work Plan with Lisa Fenton, CSCMP

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