My Goals for 2017

Last year, I started writing my “Letter to Shareholders” as a way to hold myself accountable to what I had done and what I had hope to do in my life. In a previous post, I summarized my 2016 and how I progressed against the goals I set for myself. In this next post, I want to articulate my goals for 2017.

Keep going out of the comfort zone

I made strides to push myself and my comfort zone both personally and professionally in 2016. However, there’s more work I need to do in this department. It’s scary and nerve-wracking but is also where the growth and development comes. I need to develop more of a “tick” to go for it when I get into a choice of pushing my comfort zone or not. To do this, I hope to take my risks and stretch myself more, both personally and professionally. I want to tackle some goals (particularly with writing and blogging) that I’ve been pushing aside for fear of failure. I want to when faced with a choice of taking a safe route or a risky one, not be afraid to take the risky one. And I want to speak with confidence and conviction on beliefs even when I might be scared to do so.

Continue to invest in relationships in San Francisco

I live in SF, and one of the things that I need to do more of is to spend time with my friends here and build new relationships with people who also live in SF. This seems like a simple and intuitive thing to do but doesn’t nearly get done as often as I’d like it to given the nature of my travel schedule. Spending time with friends and building relationships gives me energy and joy. Furthermore, now that I have been in the city for long enough that it feels like home it’s time to really starting to take advantage of all the great things the city has to offer and it would be great to do that in the company of others

 

Focus on improving the community I live in

It’s a privilege and truly a blessing to live in a great city like SF. There are definitely days when I get up, go outside and have to pinch myself because I can’t believe I get to live here. Everywhere I have lived I have always invested in the community and I want to find ways to enrich the community here. Doing so is not only important to me to represent the place I live, but it’s consistent with my own vision and values around serving others. There are no shortages of challenges in this city, and I want to put my mind and heart towards working to solve one that benefits others.

 

Inspiring others around me

Over the years, I’ve developed a skill in being able to inspire and motivate others. I’m convinced it’s  why I played Point Guard on the basketball court, served in leadership positions in college, and served as a leader in previous communities. I’ve somehow developed a skill in helping people understand what they are capable of doing and helping them use their talents to achieve a goal or outcome, and I want to put that to use this year and proactively go out of my way to inspire others to achieve either A) achieve their goals or B) use their talents to benefit other people and C) solve problems that make the world better for people and society.

In 2017, there is no shortage of problems or challenges in the United States that need smart people to solve. My hope is I can do a little bit to help those around me not only achieve goals and their potential, but also chip away at some of those worldly problems that need solving.

PS – If you get an email or bombardment of text messages from me acting like your parent or sports coach, apologies in advance  🙂

 

Hone in on Vocation

As a lifelong student of Jesuit Education, I firmly believe in pursuing a vocation and calling, and doing something that brings together your skills, talents, and interests, but that also intersects with the challenges of the world that need help. While these topics have always made sense to me in theory I’ve struggled to make sense of them in the context of my own career. I’ve often struggled with my desire to serve those in need with working a career in Corporate America, and having lots of friends who think like me I know I am not alone.

Now that I’ve worked for a few years and have had time to think and reflect I think I am coming closer to how to translate this belief into practice into my own life. This is an incredible world, but there’s a lot of shit that isn’t right and there are a lot of people who are in need. If you are looking for opportunities why not find one working and serving those in the greatest need? For 2017, I’d like to spend more time thinking about my own vocation and calling and how I can translate more time in my life towards that calling and vocation each and every day. This is going to be a lifelong goal, one that I probably won’t solve this year, but I think this is a great year to start.

So there it is. Let’s see what 2017 has in store!

 

Thinking and Doing

As career-oriented young professional, I go through periods when I get anxious and nervous about my career. Despite having a good job, stable income, and positive future prospects, my mind races through a series of questions and doubts. These questions tend to keep me up at night, as the thought of not having answers can be stressful. These questions include:

  • Will I become successful in pursuing my goals?
  • Am I actually good at what I do, or did I just get lucky?
  • What if my success runs out?

 

As an analytical and thoughtful person, I tend to mull over this more than I should.

While the mulling over those questions is not always fun, I often come to realizations and insights as a result of thinking through some of those questions. Furthermore, I’ve learned enough about myself to know that I can’t keep things locked inside my head, and during those times I often reach out to others to get their thoughts and perspectives on what I’m thinking about. Generally speaking, I usually feel better about where I am after I go through one of those cycles.

This cycle has ups and downs, but illustrates what I think is an important dichotomy: the balance of thinking and doing.

Thinking means taking the time to reflect and honestly ask yourself tough questions, and to pursue truthfulness and authenticity in finding the answers to those questions. This process helps you become more self-aware, spots trends and reoccurring themes, and helps you make sense of where you are and where you want to go. It can shift you to a course you want to take, and at the very least, reaffirms that you are moving in the right direction. Thinking helps us remove the tunnel vision we often get when we focus too much on doing.

Doing is critical because it takes your thoughts and turns them into tangible actions. It takes the theoretical and turns it into the practical, and gets you to make action-oriented steps towards a particular goal. Doing is also where gain experience, make mistakes, and develop muscle memory, which builds not only our abilities, but also our confidence in those abilities. Doing breaks those times when we get too caught up in our thoughts, and helps us take our ideas about where we want to go and makes them a reality.

Here’s my three-step process for Thinking and Doing:

  • First, you need to practice both thinking and doing. Since most of us are “doing” things every day, start asking yourself honest questions about what you are doing, and make an effort to search for those answers.
  • The second step, once you’ve started to identify when you are thinking, and when you are doing, is to know when it’s appropriate to think, and when it’s time to do. Look for triggers in both aspects – when are you starting to feel anxious or restless after thinking about something? When do you begin to lose sight of the goal you are actually working towards? Finding these triggers or moments will help you understand when you need to hit the pause button and move in the other direction
  • The last step is understanding the right balance of thinking versus doing. Is it 50-50? Is it 60-40? I believe it’s different for everyone, but in general, I do believe that actions speak louder than words, so I tend to err more on the side of doing than thinking. Figuring out what works best for you should be your goal.

Practicing and using the thinking versus doing framework will improve your self-awareness and help you understand the how and why behind what you do every day.

At times, it will be uncomfortable, and it may even take you down a path that you did not envision, but I believe it will help improve your self-awareness, define what it is you really want to be doing, and pursue taking actions that are aligned with what you want. You may even be able to answer those questions that keep you up at night.