Preventing What Matters from Drifting Away

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(Photo by the author)

It is very easy to get caught up in activities that gradually erode and pull you away from what really matters. The more successful and effective you are, the higher the risk of being pulled away from what really defines importance for you.

Over the years, there is a lot of literature that talks about defining what matters in your life. If you can move activities and intentions toward what matters, then results you desire should follow. The act of defining what matters is not as easy as it sounds. The busier you are, the more important roles you play in others’ lives, and the more skilled you are, the higher likelihood you will actually be pulled from what matters. Defining what matters becomes blurry because of the massive demands you face because of success and talent.

How do you keep what matters from drifting away?

1. Being involved in more, is going to lead to more drift. Depending on the important roles you provide, you might be in too may roles.

2. Define what roles, experiences, and priorities that are most important. Instead of defining this along the generic roles of “family”, “my work”, “my children”, get more specific. Think intuitively about your experiences through the week. What brought joy, what didn’t? What are you really wanting to do more of, that isn’t happening. This is where you start your working definitions.

3. Look at what provides value. What is not providing much value? How is your resources spent, is there some things that are cutting away your priorities, and interests?

4. Graph it. Define where you are spending your time, and do an activity analysis for a month. Record your moods, at different points. An easy way would be to use your calendar. Place notes about your experience after each activity is done. This “mini-journal” will help you define what is important, and where you are drifting away.

Take your time with the process. Remember you didn’t get this way overnight. Understanding drift from what matters may take some time.

5 Ways Being An ‘Expert’ Can Cause Failure

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(Photo by the author)

Being an “expert” implies that one has reached a certain level of competency. Having reached a stature of ‘expertise’ requires a good dose of humility to prevent failure in social and business endeavors. Being an authority at what you do can be hollow without the corresponding character that is needed to make it successful.

A Title, But Not Always Reality
Titles are easy to come by, but knowledge + character is a much harder combination to acquire. There are sure paths to failure for experts that avoid acknowledging their weak spots…still more ways to fail when our confidence squelches out important messages that we receive from those that seek our assistance.

5 Paths To Failure As An Expert
1. We stop listening to those we are supposed to help.
When we focus only on knowing we will lose our credibility to help. We need to work hard to continuously understand, and understand needs, rather than jump to predetermined conclusions.

2. Our Agendas are Stronger than Meeting A Need.
Humility is absent, and we fail to understand the client’s need clearly and adequately. We can’t move past our own autobiography.

3. Being an Expert Can Lead to Missing Out on Other’s Ideas
Chances are, the more we espouse our own expertise, we have the potential to miss out on important lessons our clients teach us.

4. Having ‘Expertise’ Is A Privilege and Part of the Journey, Not A Final Destination.
Having expertise is a journey, not a destination. It requires ongoing development and constant learning. If we feel we have “arrived”, we really haven’t.

5. Without Character, Our Expertise, Has Less Meaning.
Arrogance and having disregard for others creates the perception you really don’t know what you’re doing. Talking a good story, without the personal character that goes with it, will eventually degrade your effectiveness.

Evaluate
Think about whether your expertise is going in the right direction, or is set for potential failure. Being good at what you do is only half the requirement. Being mindful that you don’t know everything is an important attribute to building competency and confidence with others around you.