It’s Monday again and it’s time to start the week with a good energy!
Monday Productive is a weekly interview format, featuring peak-performers from my network, who share 5 ideas on how to boost your productivity and stay at the top of your game.
My guest today is Winston Ben Clements. As a Specialist and Advisor, Winston’s work has helped him become one of the leading shapers of diversity and inclusion strategy for global companies. Despite being confined to a wheelchair through brittle bones disorder, Winston’s inspiring and practical sessions, continue to have transformational effects on organisational culture and performance. He has a mission to inspire 1 BILLION people to unleash their full human potential.
1. Winston – great having you as a first guest for 2020! Did you set your goals for 2020? How do you usually do that? What are the DO-s and DONT’s? Can you lead us through your process for setting goals effectively?
Happy 2020 to everyone! Like many people reading this I’ve always been pretty ambitious. However, what I came to realise is that having ambition, dreams or even goals isn’t enough. As the famous saying goes “a goal without a plan is just a wish!”
My step by step on goal setting is as follows:
- Start by reflecting on the progress from last year. Oftentimes we become frustrated because we tend to only remember the things that did not work out. Reflection paints a more realistic picture and is a space to recognise your achievements and where you need to make adjustments
- Next I would do a brain dump of all the things I want to work on this year. This may include some of the stuff that did not get done last year or a brand new list of goals. Key to this step is setting holistic and balanced goals, so for example having goals under categories like – health, family, relationships, business, personal development etc. Don’t just make a wish list!
- After that I would take that list of goals and decide what needs to get done each quarter of the year. If you’re like me you’ll probably realise that it would require a superhuman effort to achieve everything on your goals list and so what you should end up with is two to three priorities for each quarter
- Finally I would go ahead and plan the next quarter in more detail which would include:
a) Breaking down each priority into tasks / actions and setting a deadline for each one. For example if the priority for Q1 was to buy a house then a task could be to schedule 5 house viewings every week
b) Use a tool like Asana / Trello to track progress on each task and mark things as “done”. You may also simply add reminders in your calendar app
c) Book time in the diary on a weekly and monthly basis to review, reflect and replan as needed
2. Talking about goals – I recently read an article you wrote: “Define Success On Your Own Terms”. What do you mean by that? Do you feel many people live by other people’s standards and expectations? And if so – where should one start a journey of self-exploration?
For years, society has taught us that success is all about attainment. “I will be able to say that I am successful when I become a lawyer or a doctor or buy a house or get married.” The trouble with this perspective is that it creates a society of people who are unhappy, depressed or underachieving, because they haven’t attained the prescribed measures of success. Or worse still they have been successful in those areas but are still left feeling unfulfilled!
A great place to start that journey of self-exploration is by creating what I call a “life vision”. This is an exercise that involves fast forwarding to some point in the future e.g. a year from now and writing down a really descriptive story of how you would like your life to look at the time – for example where are you in the world? Who you are with? What are you doing? How are you feeling?
In my case writing this vision in the present tense really brought it to life and helped me to realise some of the things that truly resonated with my core values. I pictured a lifestyle where I could have lots of time freedom to spend with the people who matter the most to me and also have opportunities to inspire and develop the next generation of leaders through my passion for public speaking. Why don’t you give it a try and see what comes up for you?
3. You left your corporate career a few years ago – to follow your dream – to empower 1 BILLION people to unleash their full human potential (Love that). Did it take you long to pull the trigger? Were you afraid you might not make it?
I think it’s pretty normal to be apprehensive when stepping into a new phase of life. For me my corporate career had become a comfort zone. It was what I worked towards all through school and university and so leaving all that behind and stepping into the unknown was a little scary!
Perhaps there will be people reading this who are in a similar position. One of the things that helped me make the transition safely was by “building a bridge”! The bridge is basically a set of considerations to help you cross over safely. Once the bridge is in place then it is safe to jump!
Considerations can include the following:
- Why do I want to do this? Why is it important to me? What would it mean if I couldn’t do this?
- Is there demand for what I have to offer? How do I know this? What’s my USP?
- Would I still be able to meet all my responsibilities if I committed to this today? What would need to happen for this to be the case?
4. Imagine you’ve had the most productive day. What made it so? What are some of your habits, routines and planning techniques that help you to stay at the top of your game?
A productive day for me starts with a solid morning routine. In my case that incorporates prayer, meditation, reading, journaling and exercise – and definitely no screens or digital for the first hour of my day! I can definitely feel the difference on the days when I get in a good morning routine compared to the days when I don’t in terms of how present I feel and also my energy and focus.
Another element that helps my productivity is planning my whole week in advance. I then use tools like Asana / Trello to review my priorities for the day and then I’ll go ahead and block off time in my diary to complete those tasks. I’m also a huge fan of accountability especially if I am working on something super important I’ll schedule morning and evening check-in calls with my accountability partner because it helps me manufacture urgency on what I am working on if I know someone will be calling me that evening!
5. Achievement vs Fulfillment? Is it possible to have both? How does one find their own balance, their own “sweet spot” of living a meaningful and productive life?
Yes very possible and I believe this ties in well with the ideas around “defining success on your own terms” from question 2. Perhaps the only additional thing I would suggest is a slight shift in mindset where we move from thinking in terms of “I am successful” to “I am succeeding.” In a practical sense this would look like moving away from “I must lose 5 lbs this month” to “I commit to healthy eating and physical exercise as part of my daily routine.” In the long run this small shift creates a path for you to achieve your goals in a way that that is fulfilling because it is incremental, holistic and not overly prescriptive.
[BONUS] Name one to three books that helped you to become a better leader?
If you have any questions to Winston, please leave your comment below!
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Thank you for reading. And Happy Monday!
Stoyan Yankov is a serial entrepreneur, productivity & performance coach, professional speaker and startup mentor. Stoyan is also a co-founder & managing director at Samodiva Masterminds, a company with a focus on high-end mastermind experiences and corporate offsites. Prior to that, Stoyan worked in film & video production, digital marketing and advertising.
Hundreds of startup teams around the world have applied successfully the #perform methodology, to boost their productivity and team cultures, which Stoyan co-developed with Cristobal Alonso (CEO, Startup Wise Guys). Today they are finishing their book: ‘#perform – The Unsexy Truth of (Startup) Success’, including cases and examples from the founders of some of the most successful startup teams in Europe.