If there is anything my dad’s passing has taught me, it’s that we should all strive to live the life that brings us happiness and fills our souls with joy. None of us are taking our titles or material possessions with us when we go. Our pensions, homes and cars will be left for others to enjoy. Maybe, if we are lucky, those you’ve loved will raise a toast to us on our birthday.
Well, that’s a rather dismal way to start a motivational blog, isn’t it?
What I am trying to say is that life is too short to only focus on fulfilling others’ expectations and achieving all of the popular benchmarks. Make sure you are leaving space for the projects and people who matter to you--the things that align with your talents and values—that make your life worth living.
We should strive to guide our professional ambitions and goals with our talents and personal aspirations. Our own purpose should, at least, be balanced with that of our organization’s.
There is nothing worse than shoehorning yourself into a job or a life that isn’t you. It just won’t work. It leads to a miserable experience that causes you to show up to work and just go through the motions. Others (at work or at home) may begin to notice that your demeanor and behavior becomes more withdrawn, irritable or critical. When you notice, it adds the heavy emotions of guilt and shame to your already melancholic mood. That’s a recipe for burnout.
The problem is most of us don’t pursue our purpose-driven life at times, most often because of fear. To coin a line from Who Moved My Cheese,
I’ve come to the abrupt realization that my time is ticking and, like you, I have one life to live.
So why are we going through the motions and wasting our most precious commodity of time? What are the things that bring us joy? How do we move towards them? What are the things that cause us frustration? How do we remove those things from our day-to-day life?
I need to stop worrying about 100% consensus all of the time. Some folks, we just can’t make happy, and they don’t want to get on the bus. It’s okay to leave them behind. My focus needs to be more intentionally drilled-down towards my mission, my gifts and my joy. If you’re ready to do the same, here’s the key principles to make this purpose-centered shift:
Make the decisions that adhere to principles and achieving goals. Leadership is taking the time to explain that reasoning and alignment to your team, not necessarily waiting for everyone else to agree.
Leadership is about more than putting out fires and doing all the regular meetings. It means not saying ‘yes’ to everything. Preserve space in your daily and weekly calendar to advance important initiatives. That means not allowing every hour to be scheduled in meetings. Leave time for thinking and research.
Who do you need to check in with to ensure delegated tasks are advancing? What are the key partnerships I need to foster to broker the resources needed? As my days become more and more about advancing my strategic plan, I become more energized, and excitement will build in me and my team. I thrive on accomplishing goals, turning a ship and creating momentum.
If team members won’t come along or don’t want to be a part of it, I’m only going to expend so much energy trying to convince them. That means letting go of needing to be liked; letting go of being angry when you’re gossiped about; letting go of feeling the need to be appreciated; and, instead, let your work speak for itself.
If I’m lucky, I might have 15 good summers left. By the time I paddle the Nahani River, attend a World Cup, drive a Porsche on the Autobahn, hike the Appalachian Trail and take a river cruise, I’m a third done. What am I waiting for? I’ve already begun coaching a soccer team for the summer. It gets my competitive juices running--that spills over into my presence and acuity at work.
If you are struggling with the decision of whether to pursue your passion and fear or the burden of responsibility are keeping you from moving towards your dreams and purpose, my advice is this:
– Full disclaimer, it’s not my quote :)
Spending too much time looking what could be, where the grass might seem greener and wistfully dreaming of what could be while doing good-enough work in your current role is draining you. Take time to reflect and make the decision to either be ALL IN or ALL OUT. If you are all in, figure out what you need to change in your current role to bring back the joy and enthusiasm you once felt. And if you are all out, don’t burn the bridge. Have a well-thought-out exit plan and leave the folks in the organization in a way that sets them set up for success.
As far as I know, you’ve got one life to live folks. High performance isn’t just about strategic plans, goal setting and KPIs. It’s also about making sure you’ve lived your best life.
Edward J. Stieglitz.
If you are interested in learning more about Confidence, check out the Confidence Catalyst.