New year, New day
A lot of focus is placed on new beginnings in the new year and New Year’s resolutions. Fresh start, fresh priorities, fresh vision for the year ahead. Most people long to be better at the beginning of the year-better in our health, better as a husband or wife, better as a leader. Treating every day with the same anticipation, outlook and sense of expectancy infuses those we serve with an optimism that can spread like wildfire. As leaders, one of the most important things we can do is start every day as if it is the new year.
Leading Soldiers for fifteen years in various positions of responsibility in Army Aviation and the Army Medical Department has taught me the importance of starting every day as a New Year. Three deployments, two to Iraq and one to Afghanistan taught me to value that day because you never know when it could be your last. Part of my responsibility as an Army MEDEVAC pilot was to fly into battle and transport the wounded to the hospital while the medics in the back worked relentlessly to ensure the wounded made it to the hospital alive. More often than not, our mission was successful and we made it to the hospital with the patient and handed him or her off to the trauma team at the Combat Support Hospital to continue the incredible effort of saving the Service members’ life.
As soon as the mission was complete, one of the most effective ways to ensure we were ready for the next was to begin every mission with a fresh mindset, a sense of urgency, and a new level of expectation. Coping mechanisms of the imagery of war spanned from avoidance to humor and everything in between. Lives on the battlefield depended on us putting the last mission behind us and focusing on the next. The weight of some missions were far too heavy to focus on the last mission; there was only the next mission, the next day. It’s not too different as a leader in whatever industry you may work.
Here’s a few tips to start off the New Year with the right mindset:
- Adopt an Attitude of Anticipation. Every day brings its own set of challenges. Part of my leadership philosophy for our team is to think, anticipate, and adapt to every day’s priorities. To anticipate is to take action in preparation for something you think will happen. An attitude of anticipation implies pro-activity, forethought, and an attitude of optimism. We are expecting what’s coming next and what we’ve already seen through the vision we laid out for our organization. Going into the new day with a higher level of anticipation of your requirements, your capabilities, and leading your team will not only change the attitude of your team, it will change the culture of your organization. Every new day is a chance to start over with anticipation for the making the impossible possible.
- Adapt to each day’s challenges. Misperceptions and misunderstandings can often lead to disappointments that could potentially derail the forward momentum of the organization. All the best intentions often require buy in, unity, and follower-ship. If we rest in the disappointments of today, we risk missing the expectation and possibility of the new day. Those we lead depend on us to focus on the new day with a fresh sense of optimism, anticipation, and expectation.
- Approach each day like it’s the New Year. This mindset ensures we are prepared mentally to tackle the next day and give those we serve our very best. Focusing on the failures and disappointments of yesterday and resting in our successes too long offer ours teams no favors for today or tomorrow. It is important to celebrate the small victories with our teams. Yet, we do not want to remain stagnant in either our failures or our success; it distracts us from achieving our vision of tomorrow.
The New Year begins with a new day. Start with a sense of optimism that will catapult your team towards the vision you hope to achieve. Treat every day of this year with the same anticipation, outlook and sense of expectancy you feel today. Those we serve depend on us having this outlook every day.
The views presented above are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its components.