As a working Mom whose job was to lead a global marketing group in a high growth tech company, I had a lot on my plate.
It was a unique time – my husband (fellow co-founder, and CEO of the co) was traveling most of the time – we agreed this was manageable for awhile.
Our company in Northern Virginia had just acquired another company of equal size in Silicon Valley, and I was asked to co-chair the integration team, which meant, for a few months, I would need to travel frequently between offices on the East and West Coast. Like most working Moms, I would need to adjust my routines.
At that point in my career and life, my goals were fairly clear:
- Co-lead a successful integration
- Effectively lead my current team & meet our quarterly objectives for stakeholders and shareholders
- And, most important, be a terrific mother to our 15 month old son.
Each goal was, in itself, big and would require a lot of my focus and energy.
How in the world would I achieve all of these important goals simultaneously?
Was I thinking too big?
What seemingly audacious, competing goals have you been considering?
Here’s what happened; perhaps you will find ideas that work for you.
My sister, Jana, a small business owner, single Mom (and one of my heroes), offered an idea – stay with her in CO Springs for 6 weeks, using her office as my base. Her pre-teen daughters, on Summer break along with their caregiver, would enjoy our son while I worked. Her office was attached to her home, so I could take breaks throughout the day and spend time with him.
I could schedule a series of day trips to our Silicon Valley office– they were looong days, but easier on me and our son than if I was gone for several days straight.
This was a win/win/win – each goal was given the attention it merited.
Are you in a quandary about how to meet a huge set of goals? Do you feel stuck and don’t know what to do next?
Try these steps and get the clarity and plan you need to move forward.
- Get quiet to get focus on your essential goals. At times it is just one main goal, yet life often presents situations where you have several, and may seem mutually exclusive at first. Ask:
- What does the best outcome look like – for yourself, your family, your stakeholders
- What are the possible solutions and options? Remember that eliminating objectives is a possibility – for example, I could have declined the opportunity to co-chair the integration team.
- Write it down – make it happen. Include your objectives, options, obstacles; it doesn’t need to be perfect. Brainstorm. Writing it down sets things in motion and sets you up for the answers and solutions that wouldn’t be obvious otherwise.
- Ask advice of someone you trust. My sister, who has my highest and best interest at heart, and who is a small business owner and working Mom, came up with the ideal solution.
- Recognize Resistance – When you are on the right track, resistance soon emerges, especially the closer you get to the best outcome.
Resistance can take the form of guilt, fear, uncertainty, and in my case, timidity – I almost didn’t give myself permission to take advantage of the best solution to achieve my objectives – it was unconventional to haul myself and our toddler half way across the country.
Yet not only did it work out on the business side, a wonderful byproduct emerged – our son became and has stayed close with his cousins and Aunt.
5. Take Action. Tweak. Improve. Your clarity sharpens through action –your thinking gets muddled when you don’t unlock your ideas and act on them.
Make a plan to achieve the clear goals you set (with specifics and dates to hold yourself accountable), then act on it – Grow into it – don’t be a perfectionist – We are all constantly growing and learning.
Ask yourself – what is the worst thing that can happen if I take this action?
What will become possible to me and those I care about if I DO take this action?
What will happen if I DON’T take this action?
You can use these steps in any challenge where you need clarity.
Keep working at this skill set, it unlocks your ability to achieve more than you can imagine.
Question: How do you gain clarity to take advantage of competing opportunities?