The Key to Success in 2013: Do One Thing Differently This Year

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I told this story in a recent member call.

It was when I got my first real executive job. I was reporting directly to the GM of a billion dollar business.

I had multiple levels of management in my organization and I had global responsibility. And it was a turn-around situation in the business so it was very busy and very messy for awhile.

I was overwhelmed.

No time to think

I was scheduled from 7 am to 7 pm straight through every day, with pressure to schedule calls at 5 am and 6 am too, and have dinner meetings. And I was still not seeing everyone who wanted to see me.

I had no time to myself. I had no time to think. I felt out of control.

I told an executive coach, “I would be so much better at my job if I had more time to think.” She told me, “you have to make time to think.”

I told her I couldn’t imagine how. There were so many expectations.

An inflated sense of importance

Here’s what she said to me: “Patty, you are just not that important.”

Ha! It was true indeed.

I think we all can sometimes get too caught up in ourselves, and think the world will stop turning if we take the time to eat a sandwich.

She challenged me to schedule and protect two hours a week to think about the business, and think about what I needed to get done.

I have done this ever since. And I talk about this frequently. You only have two choices.

Make time to think — or don’t

You will be able to come up with lots of reasons why this is hard to do, or why it won’t work.

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But you still only have two choices. Schedule it or don’t — it will not magically appear. Schedule it and make your life better, or change nothing and stay in the current state.

It’s your choice. No one will ask you do to this or specifically grant you permission. It’s one of the things that make the most successful people succeed — they give themselves quality time.

The pay-off

Once you get in the habit of doing this, you’ll experience the payoff. You’ll actually buy back that time and more, by getting better work done, and more of the right work done.

If you do only one thing differently this year — give yourself time to think. (and remember you have to hide.)

In case you missed it, I published the webinar on Next Year’s Career Plan last during the holidays. It might give you some things to think about!

Thank you

Thank you for reading my blog and helping me build my business. Thank you for sharing what I do with others. Thank you for giving my book RISE and memberships as holiday presents. I am truly grateful and honored by this.

I wish you much success and happiness in the New Year!

This was originally published on Patty Azzarello’s Business Leadership Blog. Her latest book is Rise: How to be Really Successful at Work and LIKE Your Life.

Patty Azzarello is the founder and CEO of Azzarello Group. She's also an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/business advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35, and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk). You can find her at patty@azzarellogroup.com .

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