In Bill George and Peter Sims’ True North, the authors asks us a key question: What is the long-term purpose of your leadership? It’s a good question. One would think that the immediate answer is that the purpose of our leadership is to lead. Yet, if one thinks about it, leadership is about the fulfillment and expression of our values.
What are your core values? What do you believe are the most important things in life? What do you believe the world should be like? As George and Sims assert, being clear about this gives us an internal compass that can guide us in our leadership.
These core values are distinct from shared values. Shared values are the common values held by people in a group, organization, or community. Shared values are powerful, because they are provide the cultural context against which your core values are played out: When the values are aligned, great synergy can be achieved; and when the values are in contradiction, then conflict, both internal and with others, arises.
If leadership is about the realization of one’s values, how are you daily connecting with and living out your values?
Every year, I pick one virtue or value on which I’d like my life to focus. 2012 for me was the “Year of Abundance,” and it definitely materialized in the form of a job promotion, starting a new chapter in life with my partner, and so many new people and resources coming forward to support my leadership. Two days ago, I declared that 2013 will be my “Year of Fulfillment,” and I look to many of my fondest wishes and dreams realized.
The start of a new year is always a hopeful occasion. Some are eager to put aside the year that just finished, because things didn’t pan out the way they thought it would and certainly not the way they resolved in the last new year. Part of this sentiment comes from people not pursuing what they love: For them, life has become one obligation and drudgery after another. That’s not living; that’s surviving.
What would it be like if, as we ring in 2014, you did it knowing that you just finished your best year yet? And what if you could then look to 2014 with even more hope and excitement?
Make as big a list as possible of the things that bring you joy and satisfaction. Maybe, it’s a warm, sudsy bath soak. Or perhaps, it’s fresh flowers at your desk. Or maybe, it’s happy hour drinks with a friend.
Once you finish that list, pick one of those things, and schedule it into your next work week. Keep adding something from your list to each of your weeks, and pretty soon you’ve had 52 weeks of things that bring you joy and satisfaction.
It doesn’t take much to have a great year. It just takes getting in the habit of doing the things that nourish you!
There has been more and more business literature coming out that speaks to the idea of meaningful work as being an aspect of what defines a great leader: How is our work fulfilling and contributing to our sense of who we are?
Part of that inquiry involves acknowledging that today’s worker is a multidimensional being: Whereas the Industrial Age worker was a physical resource that could be worked to a certain point and then expended, the Digital Age worker (and their employer) is concerned with their long-term well-being and how that impacts their quality of work. Two resources I’ve especially appreciated that speak to this are Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz’s The Power of Full Engagement and Tom Rath and Jim Harter’s Well-Being .
Some folks say that there are four dimensions or elements to well-being, some five. Here is my take on the five dimensions of Being:
Physical: How am I taking care of my body? What is my nutritional plan? What is my exercise regimen? There’s plenty of research out there connecting how taking at least 30 minutes of physical activity contributes to more productivity at work.
Mental: What thought patterns do we have about ourselves and our work? What beliefs inform what we do? Do we experience ourselves as effective or as a failure? Our mental models of the world shape how we experience our work.
Emotional: As much as we might not be willing to admit it, our emotional state impacts how we interact in the workplace. How are we tending to the matters of our heart? How are we making room for more joy, peace, and fulfillment? How are we truly holding sadness, anger, and stress?
Spiritual: People, especially here in the U.S., get all wonky about any mention of the spiritual in the workplace. Yet, our sense of fulfillment and meaning in life and at work are connected to how we relate to our deeply-held values. How does our most-cherished life principles relate to our work? How are we regularly connecting at work with something larger than ourselves?
Social: Most people don’t consider the social as a dimension of Self. And yet, I would argue that part of what makes work fulfilling and what makes us effective leaders are the relationships we have with others.
Which of the above five dimensions of being do you feel could be improved? Choose the one that would make the biggest difference in your life right now, and come up with one specific step you could take today to make progress on it.
For the past few weeks, I have been exploring the sacred mysteries of the holy rosary as a Lenten meditation on the life of Christ. We’ve explored the Joyful Mysteries and the Sorrowful Mysteries. Now, I turn to the Glorious Mysteries, which explore the defining moment of Christianity, the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
In essence, the Glorious Mysteries are about Fulfillment. The Resurrection of the Lord and his Ascension into heaven are the completion of God’s plan to deliver a world that had lost its way from sin. And these mysteries are also about the fulfillment of the Blessed Mother’s “Yes!” in the Annunciation, when she agreed to bear the Son of God. In both cases, we are taught that the highest good is achieved when we can stay true to Spirit’s calling in our hearts and fulfill on our commitment to It.
Where in our lives can we fulfill on the promise of our highest and greatest good?
Part of fulfilling on my highest good is the development of my digital mini-course on“Tapping Into the Power of the Holy Rosary.” I hope this tool will give you the basics for how you can harness the rosary as a meditation on how you can live Spirit’s calling. Look out for it in the coming weeks!
It feels like everything that has happened thus far has brought me to this moment: (I know: It sounds kinda of epic drama. 😉 The unfolding of a beautiful relationship unlike any other I have experienced. …
How many of us enter into a relationship and relate to it like it is in a perpetual state of being an unfinished work of art? How many of us in relationships look to “someday,” hoping that the relationship will eventually become what we hope it to be? … And then we discover that relating to relationships this way is like moving towards the horizon: You never really arrive. … Consequently, we become dissatisfied or disillusioned, because the relationship isn’t living up to what we hope it would be. …
I shared this thought with him last night, and in his wisdom, he reminded me that the relationship that I want is already here. It is already blooming right before my very eyes. The seed of the kind of relationship to which I aspire with him is contained in what we are already sharing.
When I can relate to my relationship as “already complete,” rather than as a “work-in-progress,” I can experience a level of Fulfillment I didn’t think was possible.
All of yesterday and last night, I was incredibly restless. I was chewing on the insight I had on Thursday: That I am so controlled by cultural programming that I don’t see the ways in which I’m driven to get myself into a relationship to replicate the heterosexist model of marriage with which I grew up. Again, I found myself asking because of this: Will I ever have the “happily ever after”? Or at least, can I have a relationship that is just about my satisfaction and fulfillment, and not some unhealthy codependent martyrdom?
This morning, I heard Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith assert in his audiobook, True Abundance: Practices for Living from the Overflow, that prayer is about liberation. It is about releasing that which we already have. … When I sit in prayer and realize that all I’ve ever wanted and needed is already available to me, I begin to see how I limit myself. I see that prayer is about simply acknowledging and believing what is possible, and then turning possibility into reality.