I entered my fiftieth lap round the sun last week. Even now it doesn’t seem quite real that, “that number” will come up in less than 365 days. It seems so far away from when I was thirty-five and I sat down and thought long and hard about what my life was going to count for at forty-five. That’s now both history in the sense of my age, and future in the sense of it not being fully fulfilled yet.
People seem funny about age don’t they? We are too old for this, too young for that. We listen to millennials reflect on worthy aspirations without the experience and our more mature relationships consider the sum total of their life and contribution. Some with contentment, some with regret, many with a balance of both.
I am more convinced than ever, that so much of life is meant to be shaped by seasons not calendars. A season is a time and space in which work is done IN us and THROUGH us with no specific time constraints. The calendar is much harder edged, a beginning and an end, often forced and sterile. I prefer the gentle change of seasons, shifting out of winter into the beauty of spring, and the heat of summer only to lean back into change and hibernation in specific areas of your life and leadership.
So, my thoughts about the next twelve months (and beyond) include the following:
The health of my body, soul, and spirit are my top priority.
THIS WILL ENSURE YOU CAN DELIVER ON YOUR PROMISES.
I’m a little late to what Richard Rohr calls ‘the crisis of limitations’ experience. It took a significant leadership stumble to wake me up and pay more attention to my formation, my limitations, my insecurity, and fears. Even now they play out most weeks, but I am more on top of HOW they look in my life, and what I can BE so I see less of the dark side of me and more of what lies beneath that is healthy, restored, and frankly, useful to the world. I want that more than anything else from now on.
The best gift I must give my family is a healthy self. The best gift I must give my team and clients is a healthy self. Well formed, aware of my limitations, humble in my strengths. Passionate to add value, and to see real, deep change take place.
So I have slowed things down in terms of what I demand of myself. I train at gym regularly and read at least five times a week. I am under the supervision of a wise and experienced Psychologist and wish I had done it sooner. I am careful what I eat most of the time so there can be times we have ‘sometimes food’ – I am far from perfect but if inputs determine outputs then it’s pointing in the right direction.
I’m increasingly convinced life and leadership should be more integrated.
THIS WILL MAKE YOU MORE CONSISTENT AND ALIGNED.
I take myself to work and home again. I don’t have a professional and personal life. I just have a life. I want my values and convictions to be as alive and integrated in my home and family as I see it in my work and profession. It’s not an issue of personal life and work life. It’s an issue of roles and responsibilities. I can be integrated as a person and understand how and when to work and how and when to play.
In my “Making The Most of a Year” program, I talk about one thing being better than goals. Themes are better than goals. Themes give context to your skills, your responsibilities and set the framework for your goals. I live my life under six major themes and pretty much ignore everything else outside of that.
My six themes are:
Under these six themes I live, learn and lead. Period.
I am only just beginning my life’s work.
THIS WILL BE THE WORK THAT OUTLIVES YOUR LIFE.
I thought I had begun my life’s work. I misread that.
I have carried the genesis of what I want my life to count for since my late twenties and even more so since my mid thirties. I spent a significant amount of time thinking through what I was all about when I reached forty-five years old, as I mentioned earlier. I concluded that I was going to be “helping people reach their potential.” My business is called New Level Leaders because I want to lift people to a ‘new level’ – that purpose plays out in everything I am doing.
I’ve discovered that work is just the expression of your purpose.
Your purpose transcends your work.
I’ll repeat that, your purpose transcends your work.
Right now I have a beautiful balance of corporate leadership and community leadership. I am writing blogs, books, creating podcasts, delivering speeches, mentoring leaders, ideating the future and looking into ways to help even more people access the profoundly wonderful experience of connecting their purpose AS their work. When your purpose and your work align no-one will need to motivate you, it will be more like people will have to slow you down!
I want to see others succeed and continue to make my mark on the planet.
THIS WILL BE THE REASON FOR YOUR PASSION, WORK AND DEDICATION.
This is a healthy tension. That tension between doing that which is in your heart to do and making sure you are helping others succeed. Like Zig Ziglar framed it when he said you get what you want when you help enough people get what they want. I live in between the tension of become the best version of me and emptying my cup for the sake of others.
Please join me in navigating the tension of being proud of who you are and what you accomplish and content to see many others win because of you.
I (still) want to change the game when it comes to lifelong leadership.
THIS WILL INFLUENCE CULTURE, CHANGE CONVERSATIONS AND SHAPE THE FUTURE.
More than ever I want to change the conversation and change the game of leadership in my lifetime. Most people become leaders by accident, that’s not good enough. We must become leaders BY purpose and ON purpose. Intentionality is critical to the quality of leaders we produce and the kind of stories we create.
I see too many leaders living with tensions and challenges that are not sustainable, I’d like to change that. I see too many leaders living from a place of emotional deficit, I’d like to change that. I see too many leaders trying to prove something to someone, I’d like to change that. I see too many leader impacting others unhelpfully, I’d like to change that.
How would you like to spend you next lap around the sun? Let me know how I can help.
This is for leaders. I am for leaders.