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So…will your Goals engage?

by | Jan 4, 2021 | engage, Goals, Styx

Welcome to the official start of 2021!  This Monday is the first of many days that stand out on the calendar every year, and are circled with a unique energy.  Hopefully, you got some time away from the grind of last year, took to heart that this year will be different for you… and now are ready to dive in and engage.  One additional thing that happens now are Resolutions – and while the obvious theme for the week, I wanted to adjust it for at least my language for business – Goals.  We talk about them but exactly how do they work best?

If you followed along with last week’s focus on Retrospective, you should be prepared with what you did and didn’t do, and are now ready to focus on a different path.  And a key thing to know is… where do you want to go?  You may be surprised at that question but, surprisingly few leaders I have worked with know… even senior leaders.  They got on a path, engaged and did it well, got promoted, repeat, repeat… until…  Now they are like I was at Fannie…. at a crossroads …and I didn’t have a map.

I knew at least the first song for the week, which led me to another one of my favorite bands. Styx is another “overnight success”  that took 10 years, with lots of backstories, including almost being dropped from 2 labels, and their best albums didn’t start until their 6th or 7th.  I like to tell the story of the band in order, but this song actually is in the middle, and literally changed the trajectory of the band and the author.  And is perfect to engage this week and the year…

This song was written in 1975 by Tommy Shaw before he even joined Styx.  He was sitting in his mama’s kitchen in Montgomery, Alabama; 21 years old, and contemplating his life: where he had been, and where he might go.  And his Retrospective was pretty bleak… playing in a band that wasn’t that great, way off the beaten path in Alabama.  The song originally had more verses, but no chorus.  He performed it with his band in AL before getting the call to join Styx, when their guitar player decided to leave.  He rewrote it to fit better with Styx’ music style, and other members we will meet added the synth and the electric guitar at the end.  Together they came up with the chorus which made it work…about what he felt we all needed.

You will read a lot of postings this week about Resolutions, how to set them, how they will or won’t work, and how this particular writer/book/webinar will change that for the low low price of….  And sure, I am sorta in that category.  Here is where I hope this will be different.  Like I say about everything, it is simple, but not easy.  I caught up with a good friend a few years back, and he had dropped 80 lbs.  “That is amazing!!  How did you do it?”  Didn’t need any program – “Ate less, exercised more”. Simple… and say it with me…

None of us know where this particular year is heading now, but what can we learn from our own paths?  There are a few guideposts I found along the way, and will spin them into a few stories through this week.  For today, look back at what you saw last year that you can build on. Something where you can take a plausible few steps forward.  Not the ultimate goal, just a few steps.  Think small – incremental moves are easiest.  And listen to a song that was just that for Styx… a small step forward, and a great tune to engage our journey.  Let’s contemplate a… Crystal Ball.

I used to like to walk the straight and narrow line
I used to think that everything was fine
Sometimes I’d sit and gaze for days through sleepless dreams
All alone and trapped in time
All alone and trapped in time

I wonder what tomorrow has in mind for me
Or am I even in it’s mind at all
Perhaps I’ll get a chance to look ahead and see
Soon as I find myself a crystal ball
Soon as I find myself a crystal ball

Tell me, tell me where I’m going
I don’t know where I’ve been
Tell me, tell me, won’t you tell me
And then tell me again
My heart is breaking, my body’s aching
And I don’t know where to go
Tell me, tell me, won’t you tell me
I’ve just got to know

Crystal ball
There’s so many things I need to know
Crystal ball
There’s so many things I’ve got to know
Crystal ball

[“extra verse” used occasionally live:]
If you should see me walking
Through your dreams at night
Would you please direct me
Where I ought to be
I’ve been looking for a crystal ball
To shed the light
To find a future in me…
To find a future in me…

Crystal ball
There’s so many things I need to know
Crystal ball
There’s so many things I’ve got to know
Crystal ball

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