Take a proactive approach to life and you’ll feel more in control

There are many aspects in the life of an executive. For example, we may be successful in business, but strain our personal relationships. And if we don’t pay attention to our health, how will we be at the top of our game?

We have to work on balancing the seven aspects of our life (family, personal, health, financial, career, spiritual and fun/happy) to be a peak performer. If one aspect is off balance, it will affect our business. Here are three practices that can help you maintain that critical sense of balance.

Commitment to lifelong learning — Continuously learning about life is the discipline that resonates most with me. This includes learning about your profession, your community, your industry, your business and the people you do business with (what’s important to them, and their problems and concerns).

It is a lifelong commitment to learning and improvement, and it takes a desire to constantly learn and improve.
Learning is a process, but it’s about making the commitment to continuously learn. This includes staying motivated, reading, going to lectures, being proactive instead of reactive and taking leadership roles where we are taking the initiative, so we’re not always just responding.

Playing to our strengths — Rational targeting is identifying what we do well, what is needed and how those two intersect. Where are the needs? If we do A, B and C well, and there is a need for A, B and C, we are playing to our strengths. If we do X well but Y is needed, then we are not playing to our strengths. We have to be intellectually honest about our strengths. Spend time with people you know and ask them for their review.

A concept called relationship mapping was suggested to me by my good friend and adviser, Lou Primozic. Where are our relationships strong? As we look at this, look at the concept of rational targeting and where the need is. Play to your strengths, where you do well and where you have potential relationships. And connect this with where there is a need.

Success is a process — Take what happened, the good and the bad, and be intellectually honest. See things the way they are, not the way we want to see them, and learn. What happened? What could have been better? How do we avoid this in the future? What are the lessons learned so that we can move on?

All of us have good luck and bad luck, but it’s not so much what happens to us. It’s more about what we do with what happens.

Good luck or bad luck doesn’t last forever. If people are consistently lucky, they are doing something right. If they are consistently unlucky, perhaps something needs to be changed. We have to take responsibility, not blame, and be accountable. It’s easy to blame others or situations, but take ownership and move forward.

Umberto P. Fedeli is CEO at The Fedeli Group