Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Getting a Grip

I once had a manager who, at the point of complete and total exasperation said to me, "It doesn't matter. We will do working that is meaningful." I will never forget that because it was one of those humbling moments of my career where I witnessed true honesty and humility. At the time, I was an analyst and she was a doctor and economist. I admired her to the point where I was almost intimidated by her brilliance. And at that moment of honesty, I knew that I could contribute something meaningful to our work. That moment changed my career. I started working for meaning.

When I think about the crazy that surrounds us, I want to stop. Get off. Stretch. Maybe have a sleep. Get a grip. So why don't we?

I think part of the reason is competition. Every one is racing to the finish line to have the first say, or the final word. Everyone wants to be seen as leading. When in fact, all they are doing is careening out of control, and creating a wake of competitiveness behind them.

Another reason for this phenomenon is planning. We don't take the time to stop and smell the roses and take stock of what is worth doing, and what is worth stopping. In fact, most of us can't break down the individual tasks that we each do in our jobs so that we can uncover the useless tasks that actually burn us out.

So here's an approach to getting meaning out of everyday:

1. Get a note pad, a pen and cup of coffee. Get comfortable. Turn on your favorite music. Settle in and prepare to get into your self.

2. Write down everything you do - absolutely every task, every action. everything you do. (this could take awhile, so start with a cup of coffee).

3. Stroke out the things you never want to do again. Chances are these things have run their course and they have lost meaning to you and others. Take a red pen and stroke it out. Done.

4. Chart your destiny. What are the important things that I should be doing. Be descriptive. Be clear. Be passionate. Avoid adjectives - they add nothing.

5. Who cares. Who will care about what I do? What will it help them to do?

6. Establish a deadline. When will you start.

7. Prepare yourself for success. what type of learning will you need to undertake? What type of tools to you need?

8. Commit. Write it down and share it with your coach / mentor or leader so they keep you honest and on track.

9. Be honest. Review progress quarterly. Make changes.

10. Celebrate. Recognize success. Celebrate it. Be proud of it.

1 comment:

Christie said...

How about you lead and I follow? I'm down with that.