September 27, 2019

Why it matters what you did yesterday.

Pull out two pieces of paper.  Just trust me.  Do it. 

Ready? 

On one piece write down the 5 most important priorities in your life (work AND life, i.e., what is most important to you as a human being).  Take your time, it’s a big question.  Yes, have a sip.  Sugar is optional.

Get the second piece of paper.  Identify everything you did yesterday.  I know!!  The pressure.  It was just yesterday though.  Yup keep going, get it all down.  Sugar recommended.  Be honest.  Be thorough.

Ready? 

Now lay the two pieces of paper side by side.  Compare the two.  What connections do you see?  Do you see connections?  What did you do yesterday that was intentional and purposeful to achieve your priorities or goals?

If you’re like most people, you won’t see many.  Or maybe you’ll make a leap or two (“But it’s so close!”).  If we’re clear on our highest priorities or ideals (or maybe those were not clear), what causes the disconnect in our day to day?  Shouldn’t we be living focused and purposefully on our highest goals?

The sad reality is our days are consumed with tasks and distractions, and family and life and commitments and obligations—we almost mindlessly (unintentionally of course) focus on whatever is in front of us.  We focus on the immediate issues, the biggest task, whatever is most urgent—sometimes urgent to someone else!

But these days add up.  Days become weeks and months, and at some point we look back and ask, “What am I doing with my life?  Where is my career even going?”

We’re living a life, but not living life on purpose.  Not purposeless, rather unfocused as to what we want our lives to be. 

I recently founded Intentionaleaders to help you achieve the kind of focus and clarity around how you are showing up as a leader.  What are your goals and to what extent are you advancing them every day?  Are you showing up with purpose and intention in a way that is serving you and those around you?

Are you engaging in practices and activities out of habit rather than intention? 

If so, here are 4 tips to get some focus and clarity:

  1. Conduct a leadership audit:  Identify your overall priorities and overlay them with your actions and behaviors at work.  Are they aligned?  What practices are serving you well, and what practices are no longer adding value?  It’s never too late to shift gears and get focused.  This is also known as resilience.  Which is a best practice.
  2. Cultivate self-awareness:  Making an impact on employee engagement and customer satisfaction, while achieving outstanding results is an ongoing balancing act.  Pay attention to the ways you contribute and detract to your leadership effectiveness every day.  Yes, every day.  Just like any other healthy habit, our short term actions create our long term results.  For example, does it really matter that you cancelled another one on one with your employee?  Does it matter that you were sarcastic to the project team member who missed another deliverable?  Does it matter if you put off giving feedback to your high performer because you think it might demotivate them?  (The answer by the way, is yes to all of these questions.)  Do a daily check in with yourself.  Make it a habit.
  3. Target your development:  Its not surprising that we avoid the things that we don’t feel confident doing, or feel less competent doing.  Having a strategy for your success, meaning being crystal clear on your strengths and isolating your key development areas is critical.  Step outside of your day to focus on you and your greatest needs.  Then set a development goal.  Pick something small, doable and practical.  Learn a new skill.  Get a mentor.  Secure a coach.  Make progress.  Move to the next goal.  Repeat.  (I know someone, an amazing teacher, coach and partner who can help in all of these areas!)
  4. Actively create your legacy:  As a leader you have a big spotlight on you.  And yes, people are watching you.  What you do or don’t do.  What you say or don’t say.  How you say it.  What you remember.  What you emphasize.  How much you listen.  Care.  The reality is people are talking about you. Make sure they’re saying what you want them to say.  Create the legacy you want.  Write it down.  Live it.

Those pieces of paper?  Tack them to your board, put them on your fridge.  Remember.  Repeat in 3 months. 

Because everyone deserves to work with one amazing leader.  Be that leader.  On purpose.