There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.
~ William Barclay
Other times speakers, authors, career and business coaches mention the “big why”: why are you doing what you are doing? Why are you pursuing your current path? And generally they stipulate that it is not, and cannot be, just because of money. Nobody (well, more or less) really wants little green pieces of paper, they want something else.
In the book Go Put Your Strengths to Work, there is an exercise where for a week whenever you get strong positive emotions from a situation or gained strength form an event, you write down on a card what was going on, and for strong negative or draining events – you do the same. At the end of a week you separate the cards and basically go through looking for patterns: what specific “who, what, when, where, and/or why” caused you to gain or loose strength? This exercise should help you:
- gain better understanding of yourself and what makes you tick, and
- provide guidance as to what you should do more of and less of.
This exercise is more difficult with an organization. It is not just one person, but the goals should be the same: gain a deeper understanding of what makes the organization tick & what the organization should be doing.
What if the first question when a new idea was brought up to a governing board was not “how much” or “how can we pay for it” but “does this help us achieve our purpose in life?” If that answer is “yes”, then the next questions should be “does it grow the organization in one of our primary resource areas (time, money, or brand)?” followed by, “do we have the strength & resources to make it happen?” Granted, there would be times when the answer to the last question is so obvious that the first two questions would not need a lot of time or energy spent when thinking about the projects. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to begin by asking and focusing on supporting the mission of the organization first and foremost?
I think the challenge I would give to you, future leaders and others, is to go back to whatever your fundamental business building material is. It could be an industry specific focus or not. Go through it again and each time the media asks a question or proposes a direction you should ask, “how should <enter org name here> answer this question?” or “how does this apply to <enter org name here>?”
Odds are many of the questions & plans will apply. If none of the thoughts in the media apply to each organization you are working with then you should probably find a better basis to build your career/personal life around.
If money were not an object, what would <enter org name here> do? Now, we should put all resources required for success behind that, if we possibly can, and do it. Then we should figure out what the “if we could do one more, then what would it be?” and do that.
It applies to you as an individual just as much as it does to every organization you have some level of influence on.
Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.
Proverbs 6:6-8 from New American Standard Bible
As opposed the verses focused on yesterday, pointing out you have to slow down a little, this one focuses on the fact you really need to act, and take care of yourself.
If you try to do everything yourself you will just get burned out, yet if you do nothing for yourself you are not achieving all you can. [Read more…]