Last Wednesday, the daffodils burst into color at the edge of the treeline adjoining our yard after powering their way through the leaf cover and branches that the winter left us.
At the edge of the river, several hundred other daffodils planted in the shape of RAY also seem to sing of spring. The greenery of the naked ladies is almost a foot high and the blue bell sprouts taste the mud left by the recent high water.
Spring is for me the time for renewal - new vegetation, warm days, and new beginnings of all kinds. New Year's Day is also a day of beginnings for me but the third week of March has the power of rebirth so evident in every living thing.
So, as I watch the grass grow green and anticipate the budding of trees, I measure myself and my business. I have an accountability sheet, which list the 12 things I need to do in order to have a successful year. Some of my list included the number of articles I write, articles I send to participants of my training sessions, sales calls I make, presentation I give, books I sale, consulting meeting I hold, hours I read, and the times I exercise.
For each item, I have set a challenging but doable goal. At the end of each day and sometimes throughout the day, I count and record my progress on those goals. I believe that if you always do what you've always done, you will always be where you've always been. And if that is good enough for you, then you are good to go. However, many of us want to go new places and do new things. Maybe, we can get there accidentally, but most of us have to plan and take new actions.
So, on this first week of spring, sit down with a peer, loved one, or by yourself and ask, "What are the most important actions I can and should take to be the success I want to be." Make a list of these actions. Ten to 12 should be enough. Too many and you may be overwhelmed. If you brainstorm 50 things, prioritize them using the criterion of your ultimate objective. Remember, they have to be behaviors that can be counted to really help you move toward achievement.
Many of us are motivated and excited about the rebirth all around us. Let's translate that excitement and motivation into a successful business or life in general. Focus on the most important things, write them down, and refer to them on a regular basis, daily if possible. Like Tom Peters, world famous author and speaker, once said, "Things that get measured get done."
I am excited about the possibilities of this spring, this summer and the year to come. The best leaders I know learn from the past, focus on the future, and are able to tell you how much they have achieved at any one point. Counting, if you count the right things, can be fun, productive, and help get to where you want to be.
R. Glenn Ray, Ph.D., is the president of RayCom Learning. To learn more about Ray's new book, "Tons of Stone above my head: Coal Mining Stories with Leadership Lessons," visit his Web site, www.raycomlearning.com. Everyday Leadership appears each Wednesday on the Business page.