All too often in life many of us neglect celebrating our successes as well as learning from life’s obstacles. But as May and the official graduation season come to a close, TiShaunda McPherson is back to remind us of a few key factors to help us continue growing in our various walks of life. Being a recent graduate herself, I offer her my congratulations and encouragement on her journey as she not only celebrates her success, but also reflects and begins the process of planning for the next leg of her journey. Read what she has to offer, as it will encourage you as you travel your own journey to becoming a better leader on whatever path life has been set before you.
Here is what she has to share…
For many, May is an exciting time. Every year, it ushers in a season of joy, celebration, and accomplishment. From Mother’s Day to graduation to the beginning of warm months, people are anticipating what is to come and calendars are filling up quickly. Final assignments are completed. Plans are made for celebratory gatherings, and vacations are scheduled. What’s more, signs of new life surround us. Flowers bloom. People marry. Babies are born. It is truly a delightful time. It is from this season that we receive today’s lesson for next level leadership and success.
As I consider the numerous activities occurring around me, particularly those of soon-to-be or recent graduates and their respective educational institutions, it is clear that great care is taken to coordinate and prepare for a graduation ceremony. Detailed attention is given to selection of the occasion’s speaker, regalia, and even printing of programs, and the graduates concern themselves with ensuring proper appearance for the day’s events. Both the institution and the graduates are intentional in their efforts to commemorate the successful journey each student has completed. This is true for our youngest learners in preschool to the more mature in professional programs. And rightfully so! After all, graduation is a moment to acknowledge one’s commitment to the task, fortitude in overcoming challenges, and excellence in achievement.
But, our celebrations of life’s milestones are far too infrequent. We seem to reserve the pomp and circumstance for once in a lifetime experiences rather than pausing to enjoy smaller, less recognized accomplishments. That stops now! To grow in leadership and advance in our professional pursuits, we must applaud ourselves, and invite others to do the same, for every success attained, every obstacle conquered, and every vision realized. Doing so expands our mental rolodex such that during trying times we are more easily able to recall these celebrations, what we have achieved, and what is possible for the future. This brings me to the next point – reflect.
After the celebration has subsided and calm is restored, but before a difficult circumstance arises, we must take time to reflect on the journey. This includes recognizing areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. It includes actively recalling and revisiting significant episodes, whether positive or negative, and determining what insights can be drawn from such experiences. It also includes acknowledging the work you have already put into reaching your goals. Not only will this period of contemplation provide inspiration for prospective endeavors, but it will also help us to identify potential pitfalls and devise a plan to avoid or tackle those challenges should they arise.
Finally, after the party and after reflection, it is time to develop a strategy for succeeding in the next venture. Taking into consideration lessons learned during one’s reflection, put pen to paper and write down your goal, the steps it will take to accomplish it, and your expected timeline for completion. Next, anticipate challenges and record a variety of responses for addressing each one. In doing so, remember that difficulties are likely, but a planned and thoughtful approach to dealing with problematic circumstances decreases the probability that progress will be completely derailed. Last, build flexibility into the blueprint so that when adjustments are necessary, discouragement will not set in preventing you from moving ahead.
If you stick to these tips, you are sure to recognize the significance of your accomplishments not only to your personal development, but also to your greater plan for being an exceptional leader who provides value to your community and to the world.
TiShaunda McPherson, Esq. Geneace Williams, Esq.
Copyright © 2015 TiShunda McPherson and Geneace Williams