Getting Beyond Maintenance Mode

Have you ever felt like you were treading water, or maybe just floating?  You are active, maybe even busy, and you are likely meeting all of your commitments, but you aren’t making any progress, not making any new progress.  Several years ago my sister-in-law Kara stated this as being in maintenance mode.  The description seemed appropriate to me then, and it does to me now too.

Sometimes people use time of the year as their reason for being in maintenance mode, “well, everyone is on vacation now,” or “I can’t do much until the kids are back in school,” might be a couple you might hear this time of the year.   But these reasons, both seasonal and personal exist all around us, and they are keeping us from achieving what we could, and keeping our organizations from making the kinds of differences they are capable of.

It is like maintaining a house. If we are in maintenance mode things don’t fall into disrepair, but you are doing any remodelling or landscaping either. Maintenance requires some energy, but seldom creates any new energy. Have you ever been there?

As I think about it, I think this is where many people spend their whole lives. They don’t set any goals, they don’t stretch themselves. They simply stay in maintenance mode. A fifty year old house that has been maintained will have out dated bathrooms, paint and appliances – it may be functional, but it won’t be highly attractive.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be attractive. I want to be vibrant, alive and full of energy. Perhaps it its ok to be in a maintenance mode for a bit (other people’s vacations or the extreme heat are realities, I know).  Here, though are some things you can do to move past maintenance. These will all help your team or organization as much as they will help you.  As usual, as a leader, when you go first, you improve the chances for others to follow.

1. Review your goals. When you review your goals it brings  renewed purpose and energy. When was the last time you or your team reviewed your goals?

2. Review the benefits your goals will bring. Reviewing your goals is great – reminding ourselves of why they are so important is even more powerful. Don’t just pull out your goals. Take time to reflect on why they matter. Your energy and motivation will be replenished, guaranteed. Do you (and everyone on your team) know why your goals matter?
 
3. Take action. Want more energy?  do something related to one of your goals even if it is a super-small baby step. Having a plan and taking action fuels that energy. What is your action plan for right now, today or this week?
4. Remove distractions. For me right now, it is a desk that is too messy. I’ve made some small steps on this today (before I travel the rest of the week).  What are your current distractions du jour?
These four steps help me get past maintenance and on to achieving my bigger and more exciting goals. If you find yourself in maintenance mode, get those tasks done and get on to building your future!

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Comments

  1. says

    I loved this column..you are so right re re-energizing yourself with they WHY you want to achieve your goals. I heard another fabulous speaker recently, Neil Fiore, and he talked about overcoming procrastination (not that I have any problem with that!) and he said so often we talk about what we have to finish..or what we have to do in general and he says that goes against our brain’s powerful desire to achieve so we should not only use the words, “I choose…” but we should also, instead of thinking about FINISHING something, we should think about STARTING it. Ask yourself and calendar when will you take 15 min to start this project..etc.. Your deadline is then when you can start and what you can do in 15 min. Use the NOW habit to start it now. :)

  2. says

    Kevin,

    Thanks for the swift kick in the rear. Sometimes it takes a post like this to recognize that a slump might not have as much to do with other people and more to do with what you’re doing. These steps could be a huge help.

    TJ

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