04 Jan 6 Questions to Help You Become Who You Want to Be in 2017

five Ws and one H

In 2016, did you become the person you’ve always wanted to be? If so, congratulations! If not, you get another shot in 2017, but this time, you have to accept full responsibility and make it happen. Let me take you back to an exercise that I tried for the first time a little over 13 years ago.

In 2003, while a part-time video-scout for the Milwaukee Bucks, I was given the opportunity to supplement my income whenever the team traveled. Before the coaches, players, and support staff would depart for winter road games, I would meet them all at the airport to collect the keys from their vehicles. While they were on their flights back home, I would beat them to the airport, scrape the snow and ice off of their vehicles, start and warm up those vehicles, and collect some generous cash tips.

On December 30th, 2003, the Bucks played the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Texas. I arrived to the airport at about 12:30am the next morning and started scraping. I started up all of the vehicles, and then hung out in NBA All-Star Michael Redd’s Range Rover until the team arrived. Because the next day was New Year’s Day, I actually brought a pen, a sheet of paper, and 6 questions that were fresh on my mind since I had graduated from college the year before. While sitting in Mr. Redd’s vehicle, I jotted down my plan for 2004 using the “The 5 W’s and H Strategy.” Let me share with you how to make daily progress toward becoming the person you want to be.

6 Questions to Help You Become Who You Want to Be

#1. WHO do you want to be? The decision to become who you want to be starts from within. After some honest soul searching and reflection, make a list of all of the things that you want to become. Brain-dump your dreams and fill up a page. Have fun with this. When you are done, select the one “thing” that you want to be. On that last day of 2003, I made the decision to become a person with a master’s degree in sports management. Before you read more, promise yourself one thing… to eliminate all of your past excuses. Who do you want to be?

#2. WHY do you want to become who you want to be? After I had decided to pursue a master’s degree, I looked for five reasons or “whys” for my decision, to closely examine whether or not my decision was a good one for me. My five whys were: to have a 1-on-1 mentorship program with a coach, to advance from my current position, to make more money, to have more employment options, and to positively impact more people. Why do you want to become who you want to be?

#3. WHAT is your action plan to become who you want to be? Now that I was 100 percent sure that I wanted to go for the master’s degree, I wrote my plan with respect to what had been holding me back . . . and it was a lack of time commitment. Here was my simple action plan: I would apply for graduate school the next day and once enrolled, I would study every day between 2:00-4:00pm. I documented my most critical next step and blocked off that specific timeslot for study only. No excuses. I didn’t write down too much right away, but I did ensure that my plan conquered the thing that had been holding me back. What is your action plan to become who you want to be?

#4. WHERE should you hang out? To make the most out of my graduate experience, I needed to surround myself with the best and brightest people. I chose to do the program online, so that I could maintain my working relationship with the leaders of an NBA franchise who could support me the most and were role models for what I wanted to do. I studied in our practice facility every day. I sought out mentors who helped me. [This is where scraping ice off of and warming their vehicles when it was below zero paid dividends. My colleagues were generous with their time.]  They graciously contributed to my goals while I spent time with them. I was fortunate to have the support system. Ask yourself, where should you hang out?

#5. WHEN will you become who you want to be? Deadline: December 31st, 2005. Because I was consistent, I actually finished the program four months early. Click to Tweet: Stop telling others who you want to be and start doing the work to become that person. When will you become who you want to be?

#6. HOW will you evaluate your progress? I progressed by making sure that I prevailed over the “lack of time” excuse that had prevented me from committing to a master’s degree a year earlier. I evaluated my success or failure by ensuring a daily small, yet measurable win: Did I study from 2:00-4:00pm? How will you evaluate your progress?

Nothing Is Written In Stone

The best thing about growth and development is that it will continue for your lifetime.

Who you want to be today might be completely different from the person you are ten years from now. In 2003, I wanted to become a person with a master’s degree, working in a sports field, not knowing exactly where that would take me. Today, I love to write and speak. I’ve changed. The key is to keep growing toward becoming “that person.”

Who Will You Become in 2017?

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” Unfortunately, you can’t just make the decision on what or who you want to become. You will need to have the discipline to do the important work day after day, month after month, and year after year. As a writer, I can’t just say, “I’m an author.” I have to write word after word. As a speaker, I can’t just say, “I’m a speaker.” I need to give speech after speech. The process never stops.

If you keep doing the same things that you have been doing over and over again, will you be happy with who you’ll become in 2017?

Reality Check: You will always be striving to become the person you want to be.

Have fun and enjoy your journey. Happy New Year!

ACTION: Implement the “The 5 W’s and H Strategy” for you and/or your organization. Actively work to become who you want to be in 2017.

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