We make goals for our projects – key performance indicators – and we measure our performance by those goals. They may be quantitative or qualitative. However, projects aren’t the only type of work that have goals; meetings also have goals. Questions to ask yourself when you go into a meeting, whether or not you are the person running the meeting, and whether or not it is a group gathering or one-on-one:
- What is this meeting meant to achieve?
- What are my personal objectives for this meeting?
- What actions will I take in this meeting to meet my objectives?
My mentor sent me an article called “22 Ways to Say No” in which the author lists ways to say no to adding a task that would not be in line with your priorities.
- Encouragement. Saying “I feel you can do this on your own.” You encourage the person to do something they think they need you to do by showing confidence in their ability to find the answer or finish the project.
- Principles. If the task is not in line with your values, you can say so as a matter of principle. “According to my experience, doing that will not be worth the investment of time.” Or, “I don’t do that sort of thing as a matter of principle” (if it is a moral issue).
- Priorities. You can let people know, “I can’t take on new commitments right now, otherwise my existing priorities will suffer.” It shows you want to perform well at what you do, and that person cannot ask you to sacrifice your job or project for theirs.
- Meet half way. As a rejection, offer a “cheap alternative,” such as “Frank, I’m terribly sorry I can’t assist you during that meeting. However, I could review your presentation slides in advance.”
If you want to know more ways to say no, read the rest of Evomend’s article here.
My mentor followed up with me on my vision:
Respectful and Respected • Balanced and Effective • Enabling and Vulnerable • Boundless with Knowledge, yet Succinct • Relaxed, with Harnessed Passion
I mentioned that I struggled most with balance this past month. I usually work too hard, don’t get out for lunch, and experience anxiety over every detail, relationship, project, and collaboration. My mentor then drew for me a wheel. I think some people call it a “wheel of life” or a “life balance wheel”. He didn’t draw the typical wheel (where each section represents one of family, career, health, education, spirituality, etc.), but rather my mentor created one out of the parts of the vision I have for myself (respectful and respected, enabling and vulnerable, etc.).
I marked where I felt I was with each part of my vision. Balanced and effective are the characteristics where I marked myself lowest. My goal in the next two weeks is to work on this part of who I am and who I want to be. My balance affects my effectiveness, which I feel affects the other parts of the wheel.
Each section of the wheel requires a certain “value”. I expressed to my mentor that I feel I only have a certain aggregate value and if I spend more value (time, effort, energy) on one part of the wheel, something else will fall short. However, he assured me that the wheel doesn’t necessarily work that way. I realize that the wheel itself reflects balance between all these sections – balance itself is needed for the entire vision to work.
These fun images represent the balance of mentoring and being mentored – it takes effort on both are parts – and a big push of guidance from one to launch the other! These slides are created by my mentor from stick figures I drew a while ago. It shows the process of defining a vision for myself. As I modify and add to what this vision is, I am launched upward by the guidance of my mentor. Click on any of these images to view the full-size slides.