How do each of you begin a new year? A valued colleague of mine, Erin Schreyer, suggests that you pick a “word of the year” that sets a tone and keeps you focused. This is great advice, and if I wasn’t so long-winded (working on it…), I’d be able to do just that. Instead, I’ve chosen four:
Live what you love.
Why? Because we only get one chance at this life thing. In 2014 (and beyond), I want to stay focused on spending my time – both personally and professionally – on the things I love. I’m thinking this might sound like a desirable feat to some of you as well, so let’s dig in.
A Personal Perspective
2014 will be a year of change for me as I officially “open shop” on my organizational development consulting practice – Core. I’m excited for the opportunities this new venture will bring to my life. It’s going to help me live what I love. How?
I LOVE… enhancing employees’ workplace experience and helping organizations thrive through engaging and empowering people practices. This is my passion, hands down. I am now able to experience a greater breadth of projects and interactions outside of just one company. I’m blessed to be kicking off my 1st quarter in business with three outstanding clients – two former employers who are near and dear, and one new partner who I’m excited to learn more about.
I LOVE…my family. As an independent consultant, outside of my client obligations, my time is mine. My children need their parents to be strong, positive, and active forces in their lives. I need the flexibility to be there for them when they need me.
I LOVE…giving back to the profession that I get so much fulfillment from. I serve on the boards of Authentic Leadership Cincinnati and the Greater Cincinnati Human Resources Association (GCHRA). I’m looking forward to dedicating more focused attention to both groups, whose missions I very much believe in.
I LOVE…spending time with students. I’m a part-time Adjunct Instructor at the University of Cincinnati’s Blue Ash campus. It’s an outlet for me. I learn and grow so much from just 3 hours each week with my students who are achieving dreams through education.
I LOVE…healthy living. I value a healthy lifestyle – both physically and mentally – so that I can bring my whole self to everything listed above. This new career path will allow me to eat healthier meals at home and squeeze in my runs during random “break points” during the day…no one will know if I sit back down at my desk full of sweat! 🙂
To be able to balance all of the things I love the most, independent consulting was the right track for me to pursue. I realize, however, that venturing off on your own is not for everyone. So lately I’ve been thinking about how others, within a more traditional organization, can live what they love and how managers can help their employees get there. Below are some tips I hope you find helpful.
How can you live what you love in 2014?
Identify what you love.
You might have some self-exploration to do. Start drafting a list. What do you love and how do you want to spend your time? This might be harder than it sounds.
Talk to people about it.
Once you figure it out, share it with the world! The more you talk about it, the more you’ll encourage yourself to spend your time doing those things – even if it means enduring uncomfortable change to get there. Seek out mentors, learn from their experience and knowledge, and have them hold you accountable.
Take control of your destiny.
Sure, some things are out of your control, but the ball is largely in your hands. What do YOU (not anyone else!) need to do to be able to live what you love? Build a plan, take ownership of it, and execute.
This is where it can start to get uncomfortable because it may require that dreaded 6 letter word – CHANGE. It could mean deciding to move on from your current position or employer. It could mean asking your boss for an international assignment. It could mean going into work an hour earlier so that you can be home for family dinners.
A long-time mentor of mine once told me, “big things don’t happen with timid actions.” What bold actions do you need to take in 2014 to live what you love?
How can managers help their team members live what they love?
- Listen. Do you know what your team loves – both personally and professionally? If not, get to know them. Listen to both their verbal and nonverbal cues.
- Facilitate opportunities. Even though I’m a firm believer that you need to create your own destiny, it certainly never hurts when someone lends a helping hand. As a leader, what opportunities can you create for your team to help them live what they love? Maybe you can connect them to people or other resources they might not be aware of. Or maybe you could offer job shadowing, job rotations, or special project assignments.
- Ask what you can do to help your team achieve their goals. Let’s say one of your team members has a passion for cycling. How powerful would it be if you said to him, “Jason, I know it’s one of your goals this year to ride more (you know this because you did #1!). What can I do to help you achieve this goal?”
- Be flexible and open-minded. If you do #3, be prepared for the response. Jason might ask to arrive later in the mornings once the sun comes up so that he can ride his bike to work. He might ask if you would support his request to the facilities team to add a bike rack to the parking lot. Being flexible and open-minded to your team’s needs is a way to help them live the lives they love.
Don’t Forget About Mindsets
Love the life you live. Live the life you love.
The first sentence is very important. Not only could you strive to fill your time with the things you love; it’s equally important to develop a positive mindset to love the life you’re living…even if you’re not doing what you love all the time. Let’s face it, it’s impossible to spend 100% of our time doing things we love (I don’t care much for mopping floors – you?). If you adopt an optimistic mindset though, it’s amazing what you might find yourself loving.