2011: The Year When Possibilities Turn Into Reality

Mary Rosenbaum | December 7th, 2010

This is the time of year when you start thinking about what you are going to do that’s different in the New Year. Here is a suggestion. Make this the year where possibility reins free, positive thinking trumps negativity, and achieving the goals you set for yourself become a self fulfilling prophesy.

It does not matter whether you work inside an organization, are an entrepreneur, or head up a small business, your attitudes about possibility affect the goals you set and the results you achieve.

I read this story in the book, The Art of Possibility by Ben and Rosamund Zander (which I highly recommend).

A shoe factory sends two marketing scouts to a region of Africa to study the prospects for expanding business. One sends back a telegram saying:

Situation hopeless. No one wears shoes.

The second writes back:

Glorious business opportunity. They have no shoes.

The following exercise might help you understand how you think about possibility and how it affects your results.

Let’s imagine for a moment that you work inside an organization. You have been there a while and want to move into a leadership role, receive a promotion, or be able to move onto a faster career path. Which of these reactions represent how you would behave? No one is going to see the results so be honest with yourself and give it some thought.

1. You immediately start focusing on the obstacles, why this cannot and will not happen. In addition, new obstacles seem to present themselves by the minute. You don’t have the right experience, right education, right mentor, so and so is my competition and he has a leg up on me, I don’t know what I need to do to get ahead.

2. End of the year comes around and you are not promoted or recognized. You start to blame them – your manager, your co-workers, the economy, the company. After all, you did everything you had to do, everything you could do, and they still didn’t give you what you wanted. It was out of your control.

3. You become resigned to “staying on the same track” and waiting for something to happen, waiting for someone to recognize your achievement and accomplishments so you can move ahead. If I keep my head down and do my work I know that it will pay off.

4. You decide that this promotion and forward career movement is something that you WILL MAKE happen. In order to do that you take an honest assessment of your strengths as well as your weaknesses. You reach out to those around you, colleagues, family, friends, asking for their input to add to your own evaluations. You listen to what they have to say, even if it doesn’t reflect what you believe to be true.

You set goals for yourself detailing what you want to accomplish and by what date. You understand what actions you have to take to make sure that you have sufficient assets (education, get the assignment you need to get the right experience and increase your sphere of influence) to obtain your desired outcome. Most importantly, you recognize that you need the help and support of others, your tribe, to get to where you want to go. When you build a tribe that supports you the results are far greater than going it alone.

Obviously I have stacked the deck and pointed to where you might want to be in order to turn possibility into reality. The characteristics outlined in 1-3 often result in lowered expectations and goals, disappointment that fuels disengagement from work and negatively impacts your personal life as well.

So make 2011: The Year When Possibilities Turned Into Reality

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum helps careerists and entrepreneurs gain greater clarity, more effective communication and improved leverage of their value added strengths and abilities. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru

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