As published in CU Insight
At this stage in your life, with everything occurring in the world and the vast implications to the global economy, your industry, and your business, few things get to be about you—how you are feeling or really doing, deep inside of yourself.
As an experienced leader, your job requires you to give to everyone else: vision, strategy, answers, time, attention, information, approval, feedback, coaching, encouragement, validation, and confidence. It seems everyone around you either wants or needs something from you in order to perform and be successful. You focus on others all day at work. Then, if you are a spouse, parent, child to aging parents, and/or volunteer in your community, you continue this focus on others throughout the majority of your personal life.
When is your life ever about you?
Steve Jobs used to walk with his coach, Bill Campbell, on Sundays, which he used as time for himself; time to reflect, talk freely, hear himself think, get perspective, and focus himself. If you don’t currently have someone like Bill in your life, please use this post as one way to quiet the demands, fears, and noise of the world to make time for you, the human being behind your title, roles, and many responsibilities.
What is one thing you want for yourself?
Perhaps you lack the passion you once had and want to be a more inspiring and optimistic person during these challenging times. Or maybe your health has taken a back seat for far too long and you now want to live up to your own highest standard for your fitness, weight, energy, and vitality.
Whatever it is, name one deeply personal goal you have for yourself. A goal that if you advanced towards it, you would feel amazing, thereby allowing you to sustain yourself well for everyone else who needs and draws upon you.
As you think about this one goal just for you, envision it fully:
- How would you feel right now if you knew you were living up to your own highest standards in this area of your life?
- What does it feel like? Contentment, peace, energy, presence, freedom, ease, flow, satisfaction, abundance, humor, success, quiet inner pride?
Now, think about the kind of person who easily lives your goal. For example, is there someone you admire who embodies this goal for you? If so, consider:
- How must they see and think of themselves in order to live it?
- What thoughts are they likely thinking and focusing on today?
- If they were you, what is one action they would take today?
The world is an especially noisy, chaotic, and demanding place right now. It is easy to get sucked in, lose your way, and become depleted. Your mind can race unproductively from one thought to another, lost in anxieties and improbable scenarios. In order for you to become the leader and person you want and intend to be, you are going to need to choose which thoughts you are going to think today and, every day. To what will you give attention and energy? The thoughts you choose to focus on will determine everything about your experience of life. EVERYTHING! Your thoughts control:
- how you feel,
- what you see as viable choices, and
- your decisions, behaviors, and results.
I want you to be selfish and focus at least some of your energy and inner attention on something important to you, deep inside of yourself. Pick one goal that really excites you and feels life-giving. You have permission to be in your own life!
Give the first 15 minutes of each day to yourself. In this time, revisit your goal. Think about what it means to you and for you. Think about why you want it and what you will actually have when you achieve and live it. Then, decide on one thing you can and will do today to move toward what you most want for yourself.
You do so much for everyone else. Focusing on a deeply personal goal is grounding and will be one consistent place that is for you and about you, set apart from an otherwise demanding schedule and set of accountabilities. Paradoxically, this exciting and inherently rewarding action you take each day just for you will feed and restore you, allowing you to continue giving more to others as you chart and navigate a future for us all.
You are an instrument of leadership and in order to be great for others, your organization, and the world, you must first be great for you, healthy, engaged, excited, inside of yourself.
Take this time to connect with yourself and to one thing that really matters to you. Find someone you trust. Share this post with them. Schedule a 30-minute conversation during which you each take 15 minutes to share your one thing. This 15-minutes is about you and for you.
Again, you have permission to be in your own life.