Find Your Purpose

What is your purpose?  Why are you doing this job?  These are key, fundamental questions as we ponder our roles as leaders. In the framework I use with leaders in their development, 5 Steps to Leadership Development, it’s the first step. As you grow in your leadership – honing your “Power of One,” this framework can help both you and those you are developing to stay on course.  Here is a good article on finding your purpose.  Enjoy!

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The 6 Roots of a Grounded Leader

I don’t know about you but sometimes I find it hard to separate the forest from the trees – how to stay focused on the important things and not get too distracted by the multiple mundane tasks that are expected of us every day. The attached article is a great reminder of how to stay grounded, through self-care and putting the “big rocks” (as Stephen Covey says) first. Enjoy!

Desire, Purpose, Talent

“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” Rumi
As we take time to celebrate Labor Day and the contributions of the workers to American success and prosperity, I encourage you to contemplate your own desires regarding the work that you do. My hope is that your work is integrally connected to your heart’s desire, your purpose, and your talents. And  that you can continue to make these linkages even stronger as you move forward, so that you are an inspiration and light to others, giving them hope that they too can express their desires and talents through their work. And that together we can create organizations and workplaces that are safe and productive, and vehicles for positive change and innovation. Happy Labor Day!

Love Is All We Need

I have been thinking a lot about love lately. About “All We Need Is Love” in our country and the world right now, and also about how powerful love is in the workplace. About how much I love my work and yes, even how much I love my clients and colleagues. We don’t tend to think about “love” being at work, but look around you. Look at the people who you care about and who care about you. Look at how your team pours their heart and soul into their creative ideas and hard-won efforts. Look at how people make you laugh, and how they notice you and appreciate you. This article is a great one, that helps us remember that love is the most powerful motivator, even greater than fear. Enjoy!

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Find Inspiration, Find Purpose

Hubble 1

Hello! My recent posts have been about finding our Purpose, and having that be the basis for our work, leadership and careers. As a member of the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, we are singing this poem by Robert Frost put to beautiful music by Randall Thompson in the collection of Robert Frost poems: “Frostiana.” You may have sung it as some point too. Each time we sing it, I am reminded how important it is to find grounding and inspiration to help us keep going in our vision and purpose.  Here it is – I hope you are as inspired as I am! (You can also listen to it on YouTube and see an amazing slideshow at Enjoy!

Hubble 2

Choose Something Like a Star
by Robert Frost
O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud—
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.
Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says, ‘I burn.’
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.
It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

Hubble 3

Identifying Your Life’s Purpose

Increasingly as I work with leaders to help them become more effective, I have realized that finding and articulating our purpose is foundational in being a successful leader and living a satisfying life. In this brief but energizing TED talk, Adam Leipzig  provides 5 ingredients for quickly identifying your life’s purpose. They are:
1. Who you are
2. What you do – what do you love to do (Ask ourselves: “What is the one thing I feel supremely qualified to teach other people?”)
3. Who you do it for
4. What do those people want or need
5. How do they change as a result of you

Click on this 10 minute video to see Adam describe his “formula”. Enjoy!

Find Your Passion, Find Your Purpose

Find Your Purpose
Find Your Purpose

This is a great graphic that is available on the Internet. I encourage leaders to use this themselves and with their team members. It helps tease out and clarify what we are passionate about, as well as how we can use this passion to get paid and create a career. Here are some questions to help you get started.

Passion = That which you love +That which you are good at

What do you love doing, that you do even when you are not getting paid? Think back to when you were 9 years old – what did you love doing the most? What do people compliment you on? What talents or skills come easily to you? When do you feel you are soaring in “fifth gear?” (Hint: one of my passions is helping people find their passions!)

Profession = That which you are good at + That for which you can get paid
? What jobs/roles/internships did you love the most? Write down the five factors that made you love that job. What jobs/roles have you had that would do even as a volunteer? Conversely, where have you volunteered where you thought, “Wow, I’d love to get paid for this?” Suggestion: scan Monster or the Sunday Want Ads for 20 minutes. What jobs do you see that jump out at you? What contributions have you made in your jobs/life that make you unique?

Vocation = That for which you can get paid + That which the world needs
? How has what you have done made a difference in the world? What is your unique contribution that changes things for the better? How could you take what you have done to a higher level, one where you have more influence? What is a cause of which you want to be a part? What skills could you contribute to that effort?

Mission = That which the world needs + That which you love
? Go back up there to your “Passion” and write in here that which you love to do, and when you feel like you are soaring along in 5th gear. Now write down here what you believe the world needs. How do these two connect? How can you bring what you love to change the world for the better? You may do this at work, or outside of work. What’s important is to live your mission.

There you go! Try these exercises and let me know your thoughts! Good luck!

5 Steps to Leadership Growth: #3 Plan

“What exactly is your plan?” I bet you hear that all of the time – as leaders we are constantly being pushed to concretely devise and deliver a step by step description of what we are going to do next.

Why is this important?

In the framework I use with leaders in their development, it’s the third step. As you grow in your leadership – honing your “Power of One,” this framework can help both you and those you are developing to stay on course:

1. Purpose
2. Perception
3. Plan
4. Performance
5. Perpetuation

We hear a lot about the importance of goal-setting, but most of us don’t have clear and measurable goals to work towards. Even fewer of us actually have those goals written down. Lewis Carroll says, “any road will get you there, if you don’t know where you are going,” but how important are goals really and if they are vital, how can we make them most effective? There was a fascinating study conducted on the 1979 Harvard MBA program where graduate students were asked “have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?”  The result, only 3% had written goals and plans, 13% had goals but they weren’t in writing and 84% had no goals at all. Ten years later, the same group was interviewed again and the result was absolutely mind-blowing.The 13% of the class who had goals, but did not write them down was earning twice the amount of the 84% who had no goals. The 3% who had written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97% of the class combined! While this study only looks at earnings to quantify success, I still find it to be an extremely motivating example of why creating clear and measurable goals and writing them down is a key to success. Feeling motivated? Here are four steps to creating clear and measurable goals that will lead you to huge success.

Create a Vision

The first step to creating a goal is to figure out what you want. If you don’t know what you want, you don’t know what you need to achieve to get there. This is actually the fun part. You get to dream. What do you really want to create for yourself? What does your ideal life look like? Don’t be afraid to think big. Take fifteen minutes and document your vision. Take note of the details. What does your day look like? Where are you living? Try to incorporate all senses in your vision to make it most effective. What do you see, hear, smell, taste and feel throughout this ideal day?

Source:  What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School by Mark McCormack

Helping Our Team Members Develop a Plan

Even if you don’t have a coach, you and your team members can get into the habit of having honest conversations about one another’s strengths and opportunities to improve. I often will suggest that leadership teams adopt the practice that Patrick Lencioni suggests in Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team. On a regular basis, the members of the team go around the table and ask one another, “What is one thing I am doing really well? What is one area in which I can improve that would really help the team?” And then everyone makes a commitment to take that feedback and apply the suggestions.

Of course, performance reviews are an excellent opportunity to get and provide feedback on a 6 – 12 month basis. But my advice is, don’t wait for that. Start asking the questions now from the people who know you well, and take their input to heart. Enjoy!