Many times, as leaders and executives, we get caught up in tactical agendas, putting out fires, doing-doing-doing, without having our inner purpose as our driving force! We are trying to make our stakeholders happy, we are trying to meet payroll, we are working hard, just to put bread on the table. While these things are important, we are much more effective if our drivers are internal as well as external. And how much of that “stuff” you are doing is actually “stuff” that ONLY YOU can do? In order to fuel our own fire, we have to be mindful and intentional about our approach.
Does the following sound familiar?
The “TO DO” List:
We make our “to do” lists, with priorities, personal and professional. Several things get added to our priority lists, bumping most of our “personal” priorities to another list, better known as:
The “SOME DAY I WILL” List:
We keep these things on our “some day” lists, I’ll get to it later lists. Many, if not most, of these are about our personal goals and ME time. These “to-dos” are the things that would keep us grounded, improve our mental and physical health, and we know they are necessary for our well-being, both personally and professionally. But, we just let these other things get in the way — Soooo, before we know it, our list becomes:
The IF ONLY I HAD … List:
This list is the one where we look back and see that we could have changed an outcome, IF ONLY we had made certain things a priority. Do we really want to look back and say, “if only I had given my child more time” or “if only I had gone to the Doctor regularly” or “if only I had paid more attention to my diet” or “if only I had told my spouse how much I loved him/her more often” et al? I think not!
So back to the point – what’s your “Core” purpose? Are you making time to be in touch with your inner self? Don’t you believe you would be a better leader if your inner self were being nurtured, replenished, caressed? How can you expect to inspire your team and/or others in your life, if you are not clear on what your internal drivers are? How can you be the “model for excellence” if you cannot easily convey what’s important to you by your own actions? It’s one thing to exercise the body, but we must also exercise the mind – beginning with visualizing how we want to be, what we want to have and what we must do to achieve that.
Many of us have heard about having a “higher” purpose and can usually come up with a comment or two to define what it is, but how much time are we actually spending in being in touch with it? To me, the word “higher” signifies something unreachable, something out in “La La Land”! By describing our purpose as “core”, is to say that we cannot function without it – it is something that is as necessary to our being as blood is to our body. Our CORE purpose is right smack dab in the middle of our being, where it is a real. And it needs time and attention in order to thrive – you have to put it on your priority list!
Here is a good start the day exercise for making your CORE purpose real:
Spend 5 – 10 minutes a day in contemplation, meditation, prayer, self-affirmations, journaling…
- What do I want to HAVE in my life? Is it all about money? Do I want to have peace, happiness, success, et al – what are the really important things?
- How do I want to BE – Inspiring? Motivating? Caring? Loving? How do I want to be remembered by my family and friends, my community, the world?
- What do I want to DO, in order to BE and HAVE? What actions to I need to take which reinforce how I want to BE? Do I need to show a different side of myself? Do I need to bridge a gap, or overcome an obstacle getting in my way?
Then, after deciding what you want to DO-BE-HAVE, spend time visualizing what it looks like. Journal about it – IN PRESENT TENSE! For example,
- I am reaching out to a friend just to “be there” for her.
- I am a good listener and caring and supportive.
- I have good friends who will be there for me when I’m in need.
If you will take the time for yourself daily, visualizing, practicing positive affirmations, journaling, and staying focused on your Doing-Being-Having – neuroscience has proven these thoughts will become your new realities! But it does mean you have to make time for you, for taking care of your CORE and balancing your external forces with your internal forces, in order to be the best you can be!