Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Lifetime Achievement Award

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine.

Imagine that you are approaching the end of a long and fruitful career. This is not necessarily the career you are actually in. You’ve been working at this effort for the greater part of your life, and as a result, you’ve been able to accomplish some wonderful things.

As you approach this time of your imagined life, an announcement comes. You’ve been chosen for a special Lifetime Achievement Award. It will be presented at a special testimonial dinner, with all of your family and friends in attendance. Many of your friends and colleagues will be speaking as well.

While you’re imagining this great event to celebrate your lifetime of work, here’s some things to think about:

1) What is the award? Name it. While you’re doing your imaginings, it’s not necessary to imagine yourself winning a real-world award, like a Grammy, an Oscar, or a Nobel. In fact, it’s a little more personally revealing to make up the award, and it will seem to be more real if you actually give it a name.

2) What is the award for? If this is to be a Lifetime Achievement Award, what achievements are being celebrated? Remember, you’re imagining yourself possibly years from now accepting this award, so they don’t have to be things you’ve actually accomplished so far. These can be general contributions to a certain area or facet of life, or they can be specific successes.

3) Who are the speakers? Usually, when someone gets a big award like this, there’s lots of people that get up and speak about the recipient. Sometimes, someone will put together some kind of retrospective on that person’s life. At your awards ceremony, who would be the people that would speak? What will they each say about you and your accomplishments?

4) What is your acceptance speech be like? Finally, you’ll get the chance to stand up and express yourself as well. What will you say about you? What will you say about your accomplishments? What will you say to those that have honored you with this award?

5) What is being served for dinner? :-) Hey, I like to imagine the yummy things, too, ya know?

What’s the point of all this? It seems to be a simple exercise in conceit, right? I mean, what’s more arrogant than giving yourself an award?

Well, as an exercise, there’s a real purpose. As you write out the answers to each question, and then study them over, you can discover some very interesting things. You discover the things that are truly most important to you in your business. When you identify what the award is for, you’re identifying the one thing that you think is most valuable to you. When you imagine what you want your friends, colleagues, and family to say about you and your business, you’re telling yourself how you want your business to impact the world around you.

And when you imagine your acceptance speech, you’re acknowledging how you feel about that purpose.

Now you have a clear vision of what your business should grow up to be. And with that clear vision, you can begin to plan steps to get to that end. Small steps at first, that will eventually add up to giant leaps.

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