Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sharpening the Saw: Four Personal Action Items from Self Renewal

Do you find that sometimes in life you become distracted by one thing or another?  Since early December that has certainly been true in my world.  Surprisingly, (and frankly frighteningly) I have not published a blog article for nearly two months. Since I initiated my blog back in early 2009 I have been diligent about consistently publishing articles.    Until now, I’ve never taken a break of this magnitude.

It was actually unintended. As happens sometimes in life, I was distracted, for a while, by some things occurring in my personal life.  During this unplanned break I was a bit disturbed with myself for not writing anything.  I could not figure out why I stopped writing.  And… I could not understand why I felt so unmotivated to resume this pursuit.

Eventually I realized I needed to pull back for a bit, and get re-energized.  As it turns out the break was probably good for me.  It gave me time to review my overall accomplishments for 2010, and begin to formulate a plan for 2011. In essence it has been a ‘personal reboot’ of sorts.   Highly acclaimed leadership guru Steven Covey calls this process “Sharpening the Saw.”

“Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.” — Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

I read Dr. Covey’s book, mentioned above, many years ago.  In fact it was one of the text books for an MBA program leadership class I took at the University of Colorado, in 1994.  The book, while not an easy read, is brilliant.  It actually was named the most powerful business book of the 20th century.  If you have not read this book you really should.

Four Action Items from Self Renewal

During my break from blogging I have spent time analyzing all aspects of my life, both personal and professional.  From that reflection has come the following action items for 2011:

#1: Focus on Family & Friends — In 2011 I am going to force myself to consistently spend more quality time with my kids, Michael and Michelle.  I also have set some goals around getting out of the house more often and enjoying the many friendships that I have, both locally in Chicago, and across the country.

#2:  Sustained, yet Shifted Approach to Social Media — The blessing of this recession was it led to my entry into blogging, and my introduction and engagement with social technology.  My commitment to these pursuits is not going to diminish, but instead will morph into something slightly different.  As the economy strengthens, and my business workload increases, I must  re-think my personal social media strategy.  This is currently a work in progress.

#3:  Refining Business Skills — At Experient, my employer, our world, as Strategic Account Managers, is rapidly changing.  Our clients have greater expectations of us, as does our company’s leadership.  I will be spending a lot of time, in 2011 working on improving my business efficiency and learning new skills.

It’s my goal, for 2011 not to meet, but actually exceed, the expectations of my customers and Experient leadership.  The task is daunting, as our scope and pace of business is increasing significantly, but I will meet the challenge head on.

#4:  Focus of McCurry’s Corner — In the past I have utilized my blog as a tool to share my thoughts, ideas and beliefs regarding topics of interest.  While a good portion of my content has focused on social media and its application to the events business, I have stuck my toe in the water with many other subjects, as well.

In 2011, as business heats up, I will begin to share with you, my readers, new information and ideas cropping up in the Events business.  I will focus  blog discussions centered around social media and technology, but will also include other interesting and relevant topics to the business of doing meetings and conferences.  I am excited about this expanded focus.

First and foremost, I sustain this blog, because of my interest in sharing with and giving back to a community of professionals that I care deeply about.  I sincerely appreciate your support and collaboration opportunities I have had with you in 2010 and prior.  Most importantly I look forward to what 2011 brings for all of us together!

Question:  As you look at my action items for Self Renewal, and think about your own life, is there something you would add?  What is your plan for 2011?  Tell us about it.

Follow Michael McCurry on Twitter

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Midori Connolly January 30, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Hooray! I’ve missed my Sunday alerts from McCurry’s Corner…but I more than understand the value of a sabbatical.
This past December, I made a conscious decision to disconnect for about three weeks. I turned on my first “out of office” auto reply in seven years. I didn’t feel one iota of guilt for not returning phone calls or email in a timely manner.
In returns what I did feel was joy and exhilaration at taking my son skiing for the first time, relaxation and silliness at getting my toenails painted with little Molly on a midweek afternoon…comfort and closeness with my husband during a long camping trip.
So, Michael, as one of your loyal readers, while I’m sure I’m one of many who missed you, I more than “get it” for your taking a break. I’m super excited to see the results of #4 as you broaden the focus here. I’m sure we’ll all benefit!
Your friend,
ps – in regard to #1…we expect to see more of you in San Diego this year 😉


Michael M McCurry CMP January 31, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Midori, you are awesome!

Thanks so much for your comments and for being one of my loyal readers!

Good for you, taking time to enjoy life with family in December. I think we all need to do that more.

I look forward to what 2011 brings and whatever writing it spawns from me, you and all our other wonderful friends.

You are da best!



Barbara Palmer January 31, 2011 at 11:02 am

I am looking forward to good reading. One of the reasons I find people who blog about social media to be such fun and so worthwhile to follow is that they are out there on the forefront, trying things, looking for new ways to communicate and connect. It stands to reason that those people — including you — will have lots of fresh ideas on all aspects of the business. So I applaud you sharpening your saw and widening your focus.


Michael M McCurry CMP January 31, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Barbara, thanks for your comments.

It will be interesting to see what 2011 brings. I look forward to it.



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