Tag Archives: Visioning

Finding Meaning Is Key to Engagement

careerconnections-at a crossroadsIt’s not surprising. . when we find meaning and purpose in our daily work we are significantly more engaged. Think about it. When are you the happiest? Feel the most excited, passionate, and energetic and focused? It’s when you see the deeper reason and benefit to your efforts.

And as leaders committed to inspiring and guiding others, we know that we can create that authentic meaning at work and when we do so, we tap into the key to full engagement.

As Tom Rath describes in Are You Fully Charged?, creating meaning in our work evolves over time rather than just falling in our lap. It’s the culmination of small actions that result in people becoming more energetic, optimistic, creative and flexible. It is a commitment to a deeper purpose that brings out the best of what each of us has to offer. But how do we as leaders do that?

Here are three questions that I ask and encourage my coaching clients to consider each day. You may also find them helpful and could modify them to work in your own unique work setting.

  1. Ask yourself each morning: “What will I do today that will make a positive difference in someone else’s life?” Set that intention, follow-through and then observe what happens for you. It’s almost always a sense of increased well-being.
  2. Ask yourself: “How does my daily work provide positive benefit to others, or doesn’t? Is there a way I could change it up to be more impactful? What would that greater positive ripple effect look like?” Have the courage to make those small changes.
  3. Ask yourself: “From what perspective or lenses do I see my world each day? Is it from an abundance or scarcity perspective?” This has an enormous effect in your own sense of well-being as well as your ability to be fully engaged in meaningful work.

Let me know how these three questions and resulting actions work for you. I’ll be doing the same – and even picking up the pace as we speak!

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Stepping Up to Be a Global Volunteer: Why & Who?

Volunteer work, Peru

Painting the schoolyard wall with the children and staff, as part of Global Volunteers, 2015.

It’s a good question . . . Why volunteer time, energy and money to work in a totally different country with all its risks and unknown challenges? And who would even want to do that anyway?First, the question of “why” . . . although the answer is different for everyone, it almost always gets back to a strong sense of wanting to be part of something bigger than just ourselves – to find meaning and purpose in our own individual efforts. It’s that spark – that hope that each of us in some small way can contribute to making the world just a little better for others.

Second, is the “who” . . . who takes on these kinds of challenges? Our work in Peru was intense but relatively easy compared to the tough Peace Corp assignments, Doctors Without Borders or other similar humanitarian efforts around the world today.

In Peru, making schoolyard wall handprints.

Making handprints for the schoolyard wall, with Global Volunteers, 2015

Now what about you? At this time in your life, are you thinking (and maybe even excited) about stepping up to this kind of experience? It takes a lot of planning, preparation and can cost significant money as well as time away from work and family commitments. Are you ready for that kind of adventure and challenge?

If so, here are five excellent more personal questions to honestly ask yourself before raising your hand and submitting your application.

  1. What are my expectations of this experience and are they realistic?
  2. Am I physically and emotionally healthy enough for this experience and possible risks?
  3. Am I truly open and receptive to learning and appreciating a new culture/way of life?
  4. Am I really flexible regarding time schedules, new foods, different personalities (on the team), work responsibilities etc?
  5. Do I have a love of people and a sense of humor!

There are many other criteria to honestly see if global volunteerism is for you at this time in your life. Be honest with yourself – this may be a great time or perhaps not “yet”. Either way, it’s a delicious option!

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What is “Essential” to You? Focus on the Power of Five

In deciding what is essential, I always start with identifying the outcome I want in a certain area. And then I think about the strategy I need to achieve this outcome and what disciplined approach will be most effective in implementing the strategy.

Here’s what it looks like – it’s actually my annual business plan.

  1. I draw out my favorite Olympic Circles picture – five interconnecting circles.
  2. In each circle, I write an area of my business that I have chosen to be essential in the coming year. My five areas for 2015 are:

Individual Career Transition Coaching; Corporate Partnerships (Training & Coaching); Mentoring/Prof. Development; Marketing; Business of the Business.

These five areas are where I want to devote my time and energy this year.

When I do that in a disciplined way, I am extremely effective in achieving my goals and my business grows and flourishes!

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Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,Greg McKeown, Crown Publishing Group, Random House LLC, New York, New York, 2014.

I admit that I haven’t read this new book cover to cover over the holidays. And it’s simply because I started flipping through the chapters and immediately got fascinated with several of McKeown’s powerful insights. My favorite two chapters so far are developing our ability to “choose choice” and the “genius of routine” to make it effortless to focus on what is essential.

One of my favorite clients had recommended this book and he was absolutely right – it is one to read slowly, think carefully about and then decide which of the ideas can help you achieve your goals for the coming year. And let me know how it is working for you. Enjoy!

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Do You Have the “Right Stuff” to Become a Free Agent?

I am a free agent and love it. Earlier in my working life, I worked for both San Diego County and for Kaiser Permanente HMO (west & east coasts) and enjoyed both a great deal. But as my professional career has matured I’ve gravitated to working for myself as a sole practitioner, independent contractor, business owner etc. I’m all those things rolled into one. Yes, I work harder, but I enjoy the challenge of using my years of experience and expertise in any way I want.

But being a free agent is not for everyone. Here are three questions I would suggest you ask yourself before making the leap into this new way of working and of being.

  1. Do you have the initiative and drive to build a business from the ground up? It takes focus, commitment and a large dose of optimism to stay with it. Do you have those qualities?
  2. Are you willing to learn the new skills – or hire someone who does – to market your business, to establish the infrastructure and to do the business of running the business?
  3. Is the rest of your life fairly stable? Do you have a separate income that can help pay the bills until this new venture is profitable? Can you commit the necessary time and energy?

No time is a perfect time. But with some careful planning you may find that becoming a free agent is just perfect for you in this time of your life. Lots of other people of all ages are embracing this idea – think about it!

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