A very special day for me, Good Friday. In this frame I find myself thinking of my areas of purpose and destiny. My post is not meant to be too personal or a downer.
I am struck by what Good Friday represents. For me, a day of surrendering to your destiny. The man on the cross new what the cost was and how it played into his destiny. Is that courage in me? It is a daunting place to be when you look dead into the eyes of what you were (or are) meant to be. It can scare you, it can leave you feeling exposed, but it always extends its hand.
Is it crazy that people will ignore their own crossroads experience? I used to think so, but not anymore. In America, there has been so much change delivered at a pace unlike any time in our history. Things that were steady are now in question. The history we thought would be our future is not so "for sure." Imagine this, there are people who are holding on tightly to the security promised by an employer (implied or otherwise). All the while, the employer is soon to be disrupted by a start-up in some place thousands of miles away.
What is security?
My advice is to get aligned with who you really are and the destiny that follows. That will weather many, if not all changes. So if you're an artist, then be an artist. Damn the voices that say you can't take such risks or that no one will understand. Anything less will result in regret, or worse, medication to numb you from the truth you aren't willing to face.
I know my post title may have led you to believe I was going to write something religious, but the significance of Good Friday (this one anyway) is about being ok with who you are open and honest. And the courage to go where your destiny is leading. For whatever you may think of the man, Jesus did a beautiful job of it.
What if you gave five minutes to your 8 key areas of life today?
It's 1:12 PM EST where I'm at, so for those of my subscribers in Europe and Asia you should apply this on your next day. But for the rest of us, we can fit this in today.
We're talking 5 minutes. A total of 40 minutes out of 24 hours.
Here are the areas:
I fully understand that your career is getting 8 or more hours of your attention, but the point is not perfection or equal distribution of time. The point is attention and commitment to your whole life. I'm recommending starting small in-order to find great. I believe with some effort and desire you might find out how precious your life really is.
Leave a comment and let the community know how your experiment went.
"You are caught by what you are running from." – Sam Keen
Does losing your job or not finding a job scare you? For many, the answer would be yes. Now if it’s just a passing thought don’t pass out. I'm speaking of preoccupation and consistent fear. Most people have, at one time or another, considered the reality. In 2011 the reality of this type of change is real-for better or worse. But do you manage your career and life around that fear?
I’ve seen leaders make decisions because they were calculating the most foreboding scenarios. The great fear of job loss controls their every move. This motivation produces mediocre results, and even worse, an absence of credibility with those that follow. And since leaders who hold high positions of power are human, they lead by fear and hope for the best. Sadly, many leaders and managers infect the very people they're supposed to help. So what was once a singular issue is now organizational.
Human beings are skilled at setting up their own kingdoms…complete with impregnable walls and barbed wire fences. We think we're in control. The higher an individual climbs in their respective organization, the more tempting it will become to try to control everything. That’s why organizations are “certifiable” for not catching their people early in the process. For example, teaching them about holistic leadership and the danger fear-based living presents.
If you desire something great (something that leaves you, your family, other people, and your health intact) from a career, then you’re gonna have to risk. Maybe even risk that very career you're hold onto so tightly. I'm a much better human being, leader, entrepreneur because of the risks I've taken. The risks have not always worked out in my favor, but there is no way I would have become what I am without those risks.
Better to get ahead of your fears, before they claim you.
There is no doubt that we here in America are success obsessed. In some ways it makes total sense. Everyone desires to see positive results from what we put our lives into. Not everyone measures it the same, but the desire remains. But in this frame, I'm focusing on the kind of success that we tie our self-worth and identity to. It is a problem-a big one.
I don't intend to unwrap the root cause of this success obsession. However, I want to point out how the problem blocks us from breakthroughs. Somewhere along the continuum, we bought some very expensive lies. For example, you understand what failure means in the land of of success obsession. It is to be avoided at all costs and you are to stay away from anything or anyone who has the unfortunate luck of experiencing it. This is a big mistake to make because the road to breakthrough is paved, in part, by failure.
What if failure is a house of experiements? What if failure is a refining fire for character and integrity? What if no true success can come without a significant amount of failure? I see great value in experiments, integrity and true success. This column from Sir James Dyson really sets a good tone on this.
There's a trap out there, actually a lot of traps, around getting involved in things you shouldn't. It ranges from career, relationships, business ideas/plans, and much more.
The premise of why people do this is not easily figured out, but when it happens you can usually find self-deceit nearby. The idea of telling yourself a lie in order to do something in the moment. Just the moment and no further. You find yourself regretting it every time.
One of the ways I've found effective in minimizing the number of times I make the mistake of mis-involvement, is to check my God-given peace meter. For example, I sometimes get pitches to get involved with a business venture. If I find myself debating or squirming inside, I know it's time to stop. It doesn't mean I'll never do it. It just means "right now" is not going to work.
The worst mistake is to move into self-deception and convince yourself that you should do something when everything in you says stop. Your gut is worth listening to.
Have you ever considered filing for divorce, from your career in this context? I don't mean resigning or changing employers. Though that could be a good thing. But I'm speaking of putting your career back to its rightful place. The ending of allowing this segment to dominate the others.
What if your career can only be great when it stays its proper size/dimension?
What I'm advocating is counter-culture and is very difficult to pull off-especially in places where work is an altar to be worshiped at. The secret is to get the "divorce thing" early or get hurt. I didn't get it early and I got hurt. My hope is I'm catching you at that early stage or in the midst of your hurting.
Here are some things to consider regarding your career's place in your wheel of life:
When you consider where you and your options for a great life are at, how long do think you have to get things in order? In other words, how long before you move forward with looking at your life as the thing you manage and not just your career, your money or your spiritual?
You wouldn't need to ask many people to find out that the majority feels out of balance. Many have made a deal with themselves to pick and choose what they will pay attention to. A game of pretend where you believe that ignoring will make everything okay. A warning may have been given, from a doctor or counselor, that was designed to shake the slumber. But fear or insecurity continues its dominance.
This all makes sense in so many ways. Where do you go? Who do you turn to? What's the right pathway back or out?
For better or worse we have a trust issue running through our modern day world. It almost feels like you need the CIA to find out who really cares-in business and out. I can't solve this, but I can be a source of consistent truth and encouragement. My contribution to you and your journey. The bottom line is you need help in making sense of your whole life. Any successful life warrior I've ever met always had help. It is this help that is truly a difference-maker. A way to a breakthrough.
But what if you look away? What if you tell yourself that it's too big of a mountain to change? What if you believe the promises of your employer? I would ask that you consider remembering the following:
All of the disease, dysfunction, stress, and unhappiness would not be such a big deal if ignoring your whole life was a viable solution. Employers wouldn't still be grappling with engagement and performance if relying on half-a-person to do the work that only a full person could do, was a viable solution.
A friend of my wife's lost his job this past Monday. It was done in the name of saving costs. Yes, at one time or the other you're a cost. No promises, right? It's a tough situation that is only made worse by organizations who make lots of promises.
Funny thing is the group he worked in was just started a year ago. How can you know in twelve months whether something will fly?
So what to do when Mommy and Daddy fly? Sorry for the flippant reaction, but this guy just moved here from the west. Why not use some candor and tell the employees that the organization isn't sure about the prospects and it may not go the way of success? Two faces are the issue here. And before you think I'm conjuring this stuff up, please know I've delivered the "two-faced" speech in my former corporate management life. It went something like this; one face was in the room with management stating we'll let them go if the unit oesn't meet targets (usually unrealistic). Another face was in front of the employees stating how the future was bright.
I write this post today to communicate something simple, yet complex. Every leader who has human beings following them should be required to attend an all-day seminar on the marvels of human DNA. If I were conducting the seminar I would say the following at its conclusion:
"After today think long and hard about who follows you. And when you make your plans think about the implications-they're real and worth your consideration."
You can read here about some of the dynamics of our DNA.
In April's Leadership Development Carnival you will find my post on the importance of role players, as well as other great posts from some inspiring thinkers.