I’m pretty sure you will agree with me because I know we’ve both been there. We’ve felt the pain, and known instinctively we can’t go on like this anymore. But until we hear the message and commit to understanding it, we just don’t realise how big it is.
When we started working together, my client Kate (not her real name) was lamenting about how sick she is of doing ridiculously long hours of work. She described it as walking through the front doors and being sucked into the vortex of a whirlpool. She spins around in circles for the day, delving into a multitude of tasks. And yet, when the vortex spits her out (long after most people are settling in to watch a bit of after dinner TV), she leaves work feeling like she hasn’t achieved anything.
And the next day is a rinse and repeat of the day before. And so is the next. And so on.
Just how long can we survive like this before we take drastic action? Perhaps we leave the job, thinking it’s the company’s fault. Or if we own the business, we blame everyone else for our situation and feel perpetually frustrated. Perhaps we soldier on, feeling sense of responsibility but building resentment for the very thing we started with excitement and enthusiasm. Maybe we just assume it’s the way it has to be, and if we take work home to finish it then the never-ending pile will cease?
No wonder people burn out, face problems in their relationships and live a life of quiet desperation. Hoping, wishing and dreaming of a way out, but instead continuing to experience the same day on repeat.
Albert Einstein calls that ‘insanity’ – doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. That was Kate’s reality. And she knew she had to change. But how?
There’s one thing that is bigger than anything else when it comes to the solution to Kate’s problems. And that one thing was missing from her to-do list. Is it missing from yours too?
You need to know your purpose
According to the Critical Alignment Model™ (developed by Sharon Pearson and The Coaching Institute) purpose sits under the umbrella of ‘environment’ in this four dimensional model. Environment includes our:
Kate’s solution to exiting the vortex will never be found in the vortex. She needs to start by standing back, shifting her thinking and reconnecting with why what she does matters. Knowing that and connecting to it at a deep level of understanding can move Kate, or anyone for that matter, from aspiration to action. It becomes the driving force behind any structure that is put in place to achieve great results. It influences the culture of every single business. It’s huge.
Both Kate and I know that it’s simple to say, but it’s not necessarily easy to do. Connecting deeply to our purpose takes commitment, conscious awareness and dedication to change. We’ll work together on this, with me supporting her and providing her the tools she needs to shift her thinking. Kate (and perhaps you too?) must no longer accept her ‘story’ of how busy she is and focus on what matters most. But aren’t the achievements we have in life, the ones that leave us the most satisfied, the most challenging ones?
When you are thinking about anything, if you can link it to its purpose, measure how to achieve that purpose, take the steps to achieve that purpose and show others how to do the same, you are leading. And that’s exactly what Kate is now doing.
Tags: leadership leadership coaching leadership development