Do you have a full plate? Are you spending your future energy on something meaningful? Are you fighting today’s fires with little regard to what will matter next year?
Often work feels daunting. It is easy to get stressed out when pressure is applied. Anxiety levels go up and often your feeling of being able to cope with the rising challenge goes down.
What are you stressing about today? What is on your plate for this week, next week, and the coming month? Have you considered what emergencies might arise?
In your workplace, a sense of urgency can sometimes be helpful. It keeps people focused and gives a specific purpose to accomplish specific work in a specific timeline. Focus is good, it always beats the alternative.
How are you spending your energy? Is anxiety eating you alive or do you feel more in control?
Outside of a life changing event, can you remember any of the things that made you nervous or anxious a year ago? Is the analogy of fighting fires wearing you down?
For most people, looking back, they couldn’t tell you about a specific time when they were running late, had a typo in the client proposal, or blurted out something in a meeting that they later regretted.
Yet in those moments, a year ago, you spent a lot of energy worrying about those outcomes. Yes, the outcomes still matter, and yes, we should learn from mistakes and try to improve. Yet, there may be a better way to spend your energy.
The short-run game can be dangerous. It is a fire-fighting approach. When the emergency happens, we react.
Certainly, within the bounds of your strategy the short-run game is executed. Your strategy should allow for some fluidity, and as changes pop-up you’ll have to pivot.
The other end of the continuum is the long-run game. Strategy for the long-run game leverages future energy today.
Instead of looking back and wondering what mattered last year and then asking yourself, “How did I get here?” It may be better to ask, “What impact can I make today, that will still matter, or be even more important next year?”
Long-run games require more patience. They also require commitment and focus.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.