Janet Walkow Christine Jacobs

Make 2012 Your Year

It’s early in the new year and it’s already started – continuous ads and gimmicks for getting back in shape, losing weight, quitting a bad habit, becoming more organized, overcoming financial challenges & debt and appreciating friends and family. Don’t get me wrong. These are all laudable and customary areas to enhance, but will they provide a way for you to move the personal leadership needle where you want it to be by the end of the year?

Getting Unstuck in 2012

Several years ago, I constructed a “Life Wheel Planning” tool to help clients working on personal leadership skills visualize how they are focusing their time and energy. This exercise helps a person see there are choices that will allow them to focus their choices and move towards greater personal leadership. A friend and colleague, Michael Bungay Stanier(@boxofcrayones), is an expert on getting unstuck and developed a unique approach to enhance both personal and professional leadership in “Get Unstuck & Get Going.” By identifying what you want to do, potential barriers, strengths, resources and ways to be accountable, a person can devise a plan for moving forward. At least once a year, I conduct a personal leadership performance appraisal, using a combination of this approach coupled with the Life Wheel Planning tool and traditional business planning methods.

Planning for Success

During my personal leadership review in 2010, I decided to increase my fitness effort and resolved to run a half-marathon by January 2011. I’ve always been physically active, but abandoned running after injuring myself from years of running on pavement. Inspired by my daughter, who ran the Chicago marathon, I decided it was time to fulfill a long-standing passion to complete a long distance running event. I treated this as though it were a business objective, developing a robust plan including a strategy, milestones, potential barriers and a detailed timeline. I researched the best way to approach my target by reading, talking with other running enthusiasts and learning from professionals. Ultimately, I achieved my goal, completing the Houston Half-Marathon last January. The methodology allowed me to set realistic aims for accomplishing my fitness mission.

What Can You Do?


Instead of writing down one or more customary resolutions, take a step back and ask yourself questions that reflect on your personal leadership. “How effective am I at leading myself?” “What do I want to focus on?” “Do I respond to personal desire or what others expect of me?” “What is keeping me from spending time of things that interest me?” “What is keeping me from spending time on the tings that interest me?”  “What am I passionate about and how can I use that passion to impact myself and others?” If you’re honest with your responses, these questions can open the door to generating meaning personal leadership goals for the coming year.  Whether you identify one or more goals, take the time and develop a strong, dynamic plan for making strides over the coming months.

2012 & Beyond

Last week, LWP Christine encouraged readers to set broader goals for 2012, such as actively supporting progressive female candidates/politicians of both political parties and fighting sexism. Follow your passions and be intentional. A new year is a fresh opportunity to rethink, reassess and focus your efforts.

How do you plan to grow as a leader in 2012?

Janet Walkow is the Executive Director and Chief Technology Officer of the Drug Dynamics Institute at The University of Texas and a co-founder of Leading Women. Read her full bio.

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