In The Media

Carpe Diem: How Leaders Seize the Day

By Ioana Fugaru • Schulich Leader at Universit√© Laval
Winter 2015
 
With the fall semester marathon now ended, most students are by now enjoying the tranquility of their home for the winter holidays, catching up on TV shows and seeing old friends. And while some are already making New Year’s resolutions, others would rather argue that these resolutions are very short-lived goals that miserably fail to make it until February. If you are interested in leadership and entrepreneurship, chances are you know something about setting goals and seeing them accomplished.  
 
In fact, aspiring leaders should always make resolutions – but your entire year should not be guided by an idea you had in between two glasses of champagne on the 31st December and never reconsidered since. Setting shot, medium and long-term goals is a process that should be ongoing in your mind throughout the year, yet it does not need to become a complicated, rigid and stressful chore.
 
There are as many ways of setting goals as there are goals one can set. Some need to sit down and write everything down while others have a less formal way of going about their goals and simply keep them in check in their minds, and whether you are the first or second type is actually irrelevant. The difference between successful leaders and people who fail to see their goals accomplished is not that one had a better goal than the other, or that one wrote them down in a notebook and the other didn’t. 
 
What do leaders actually do differently then? 
 
Leaders have a sense of finding what changes they need to make in their lifestyle and the strategies they need to develop so as to work towards their goals – and that is where they invest their energy instead of simply focusing on the said goal. Creating the “nest” for your goal is more important than the goal itself. If the goal is a seed engrained in your mind, you do not need to worry about the plant when you begin, but you should definitely grab some compost and tools and get ready to dig.  
 
No matter how different goals are, they are all conditioned by the time variable and when you start creating the nest for your goal, it should be one of your main considerations. This way, you won’t be able to say “I couldn’t accomplish my goal because I didn’t have the time for it”.  You can work around time constraints by adding more discipline to your routine. For instance, you can wake up earlier and hit the gym every morning and still have the time to take care of all your courses and extra-curriculars during the day. You can work with time by finding your own ways of maximizing it. Keeping up with e-mails can be a very time-consuming task, and one way of reducing the time spent on them could be to set various moments of the day when you check them and answer them, thus avoiding you to always be in the process of drafting a reply and never getting to send it. A more responsible management of your time spent on social media can go a long way when it comes to freeing up time for other activities or simply relaxing. There are tons of small changes you can make in your 24h planning once you know what your priorities are. 
 
In conclusion, you need to find out what your goals are, question them and adapt them to your situation, all year long. Minimize and control the obstacles between you and your goals. If you are flexible and critical of your lifestyle you can successfully create the environment you need to achieve your goals for the year that lies ahead.