Last summer, my family and I set out to hike two mountains – Wheeler Peak in New Mexico and Elbert outside of Denver, Colorado. I was also keen to tack on Oklahoma’s high point, but my son Clay advised against it. He stressed that we needed to acclimatize, and if we tried to do too much, we might not be able to achieve anything at all. Initially, I hesitated, but ultimately, I trusted Clay’s judgment.
As we set out on our adventure, I thought about how this situation applies to leadership. As leaders, we are often driven to achieve more and more. We set goals and targets that are ambitious and challenging, but we can get lost in the pursuit of these goals. Trying to do too much can be tempting, but we risk undermining our bigger goals by focusing too much on smaller ones.
The lesson here is to stay focused on your bigger goals and not let smaller ones distract you. It’s essential to prioritize and ensure that every effort you make aligns with your overarching goals. Think about what you want to achieve long-term, and then create a plan to get you there. This may mean saying “no” to some smaller opportunities that come your way.
It’s also essential to recognize the importance of acclimatizing. As leaders, we need to take the time to prepare ourselves and our teams for the challenges ahead. This means focusing on building the necessary skills and knowledge and taking care of our physical and mental health. Only then can we expect to achieve our bigger goals.
So, the next time you’re tempted to take on too much, remember the Law of Diminishing Returns and focus on what really matters.
Questions to Consider
- How do you identify your bigger goals?
- Have you ever been tempted to take on too much? What happened
- How can you prioritize your goals to ensure that your efforts align with your overarching goals?
Challenge to Tackle
Take 10 minutes to review your goals for the year and assess whether your current activities align with them. If not, identify what activities should be given up or postponed.
Make it a great day!
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.