How dedicated are you to what you do?

Some people are extremely dedicated in what they do and many others clearly appear to not be. But what tells you that someone is or is not dedicated?

Part of my long term professional and personal plan is to be an established writer with several books written on multiple business topics. I also have ideas for golf instruction and fiction, like my first book, One Dead Marine.

Is dedication measured through the writing of books or something else. I would suppose that if I talk about it enough, you might deduce that I’m pretty dedicated even if I never published another book?

However, I don’t believe the act of actually publishing some books demonstrates my dedication to writing. At this time, I don’t even think I’m as dedicated as I could be, but that is because I temper my level of dedication with the other aspects of my plan. Otherwise, if I focus too much in one area I won’t have time in another. Right?

So, dedication, in my mind is involvement in the thing(s) you do. Not just putting in overtime at work if it’s your job, but to really get involved.

Take out a piece of paper and right down the big things in your life: family, work, church, kids school, sports, etc. just list them on the page. Chances are you don’t have too many and today the list may have some items that might be replaced next year.

Now,poking at each item, if you regularly talk about that big rock in your life, put an X by it. By regularity talk about it, you often bring it up in conversations with your family and friends. When you go to dinner with the in laws and they ask you what’s been going on, it is often on your short list to talk about. This demonstrates a level of commitment to tell people what we are actually doing, which makes us vulnerable. People could challenge what we are doing and if we’re not too dedicated, I might not be prepared to discuss or defend my decisions. Perhaps it’s not as important as other things in your life that you would rather talk about, so it just doesn’t come up. Maybe it’s a stretch for you to do this–you’ve never done it before, so you’re afraid of failing and it’s best not to tell people that you are doing it at all.

If you have some kind of plan; perhaps a short range New Year’s resolution or maybe a long range, multi year plan that involves this big rock, put an X next to it. Committing something to a plan is a level of mental dedication that something is going to happen this year, or over the next few or several years. Let’s say you want to go back to school to get a higher degree. Is this something you simply talk about, or have you sat down and thought out where you want to go, what you want to study, when you’re going to start, and how you’re going to get it paid for? Plans don’t have to be written down to be a plan, but written plans are a little bit more solid. Regardless, if you have a plan, then your dedication level just increased.

If you are actually doing the big rock today, then put an X by it. By now you may have noticed that this is not necessarily a progressive growth assessment. For example, Work might be one of your big rocks. You are clearly doing it today, so you get an X. However, you might never talk about work with your family and friends and you might not have a plan written down or in your mind for Work. So, just because there are no X’s for the first two items doesn’t mean you don’t put an X here. Doing something demonstrates a level of dedication.

If you research and read about your big rock, the. Put an X next to it. If you get magazines, are subscribed to blogs, buy books, etc. that are related to your big rock, then you are demonstrating a level of dedication to that item. You may have noticed by now that I’m not asking how many or if you even read them, just that you get them. In everyone of these questions, you can see that there could be a sliding scale of dedication from say 1 to 5. However, for now, if you are research around your big rock, you get an X, regardless of how much.

If you participate in some way to the advancement and development of your big rock item, then put an X next to it. If one of your big rock’s is your son’s education, do you participate in things like PTA or do you regularly tutor your son on his homework? If a big rock is work, do you active in your union, or do you teach others regularly about how to do things. Basically, do you work with your big rock to make it more than what you found it?

So, this was pretty simple, huh? You have a list of big ticket items that are in your life. For each of them you might have anywhere from 0 to 5 X’s next to it. This demonstrates your basic level of dedication to each item. One item maybe you think is important, but really all you’re doing is talking about it right now. Perhaps you think something is important in your life, but all you do is “do it.” How dedicated is that?

Looking at this list–this very simple tool, can you think of some things to do to demonstrate and prove your true dedication to each of these items, or maybe you’re happy with your level of dedication. At least now you have a better idea of how dedicated you are to your perceived big rocks.

With that knowledge, you can now do more if you desire.

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About johnrknotts
John Knotts is a results-oriented business professional leader, manager, and supervisor with experience from the military, small business, several nonprofits, and is currently a management consultant. Working out of the San Antonio, Texas, he retired from the Air Force in July 2008 and worked with Booz Allen Hamilton from the end of October 2008 to December 2011. Now he is a Strategic Business Adviser with USAA. John leads large and small strategic transformations and has extensive experience in the areas of change management, strategic planning, process improvement, strategic communication and marketing, strategic human capital and resource management, education and training, facilitation, organizational design and development, modeling and simulation, financial and budget analysis, activity based costing and management, quality management, competitive sourcing and privatization, leadership development, and business development.

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