Since I was a little girl, Labor Day has always been my favorite holiday.
I love the summer. Longer days, casual Friday’s, activity filled weekends, vacation, casual reads and days at the beach. Nevertheless, by the time August rolls around I am ready to hang up my flip flops, put away my gardening tools, roll up my sleeves and get back to work!
As I woke up this morning, poured my coffee and sat down to check my e-mails I was thrilled to discover my new syllabus in my inbox. Just as I felt growing up I experienced the same jolt of excitement I remember so vividly when discovering my school supply list had arrived in my mailbox. I could hardly wait to download my text books, sharpen my pencils and grab a clean sheet of paper and get to work!
Another summer concluded and a fresh new quarter to make my mark in 2015.
I am an optimist. Definitely a glass is half full person, yet, as I laced up my sneakers to take my morning run I began to ponder what changes I may fail to make this year? What resolutions might I not follow through on? On which commitments will I miss the mark? What stones might I leave UN-turned?
As I opened the door I took the first breath of morning air. Imagined or not, there was a marked change in temperature. Perhaps I wondered is this analogous with changes to come? A symbol of possibility and movement ever so slight peeking out around the corner? Is it synonymous with slight shifts in behavior and perception? A doorway to transformation?
As my pace hastened so did my determination. There is still time to cross the finish line a winner. The opportunity to reach my goals, mountains yet to climb, issues left to resolve.
Where to start? Somewhere and now!
Here is my top 10 list of strategies to finish strong:
1. Don’t ignore the signs:
If something need addressing, face it, handle it and move on. If you need help or support then ask for it.
2. Stay relevant:
If you do not stay up to date someone else will. Only you are responsible for how your story will unfold or end!
3. Update your resume/social media profile:
Even if you are in the most secure position, you should update your resume, bio, profile and head-shot once a year. It is moreover a great way to see what you have accomplished each year. It can additionally be a measure of work still needed to be done.
4. Update your resolutions and goal list:
If you don’t have goal list then create one immediately! Putting your aspirations on paper is a form of commitment. It is the first and most critical step to creating a successful strategic action plan.
5. Buddy Up:
Everyone needs a goal buddy. Sharing your goals with trusted advisers makes them hard to ignore. No one wants to be the slacker that starts an exercise routine and fails to follow through.
6. Call a Board Meeting, or simply call your Personal Board:
If you don’t have a Personal Board them make it part of your goal list to get one. Defined; your Personal Board members are mindfully chosen advisers and confidants that will help you rise through the ranks. They will become your accountability partners on your road to success. Furthermore, they are a perfect pool of candidates from which to choose a goal buddy.
7. Let go:
Are you holding on to something that you need to let go? Is anger or resentment holding you back? Why not consider letting bygones be bygones? The energy you are putting into plotting your revenge could be energy better spent toward crafting your future success story.
Get back in touch with the people and relationships that slipped through your fingers this summer. Get some lunch dates on the books and dinners on your calendar. Consider joining a new networking group.
9. Finish something you started:
Vow to finally sign up for the last two classes required to complete your masters. Buckle down and complete the work project that you keep pushing to the back of your list. Get the roof at home repaired before the winter kicks in. Fill in the blanks?
10. Prepare the Field:
The best way to get back in the game and finish strong is to get organized. Clean up your desk, inbox, closet, night-table, kitchen, garage, brief case, car or whatever is making you feel out of sorts. Do whatsoever is necessary to clear the field so you can plot your strategy and finish strong.
We all have our favored time honored traditions, mine is the last run of the summer. I take this run each year at the beach on Fire Island. I grew up on the beach. Weekends spent at my grandparents’ house in Rockaways followed by summers in Fire Island. The beach helped teach me persistence and fearlessness. As early as two, I remember being knocked over by waves, tumbled upside down, losing my breath and landing far off track. Yet I ran right back in and did it again! The vastness of the ocean as I run along the shore similarly reminds me of the endless possibilities that are available to meet my goals, objectives and dreams. Each year when I finish this run, I take a little extra time to sit on the shore savoring the sights, sounds and distinctive smells of the ocean. I steel one last minute of serenity, as I paint a mental picture of the scene. I will conjure this image in times I get discouraged.
As I walk back up the stairs to pack up our summer home, I know I am ready. When I ferry back to shore, I am confident that I will end the year victorious. How will you do the same?