Several years ago, someone asked me the question, “I see you working hard and growing your business, but are you building something worth building?”
In all honesty, my initial reaction was defensive in nature. My mind quickly conjured up – Of course, I am! However, before the words came out of my mouth, I considered the source of the question. He wasn’t being judgmental about the life I was creating for myself. In fact, he didn’t even want an answer. He merely wanted me to pause and reflect.
Imagine the life you want to live.
Consider your goals and your aspirations.
Think about what you love to do.
Reflect on what truly matters to you.
When you think about these things, what comes to mind?
- Do you want to retire early and travel the world?
- Are you interested in opening your own business?
Over the past twenty years, I have been surrounded by many top performers:
- Courageous fellow paratroopers in the U.S. Army
- Amazing colleagues at both a global consulting firm and my own professional services agency
- Outstanding leaders throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Asia
- Brilliant students at one of the nation’s top universities
We all have blind spots. These are things that others know about you, but about which you are completely clueless. They can be small things…
- A stain on your shirt that everyone sees – except you.
- A conversation that you arrive late to and say something out of place. Everyone knows the arc of the discussion – except you.
Sometimes when things are going well, we find ourselves not appreciating the moment, but yearning for more. Or, we are anxious about what is around the next corner.
Experience has taught us that, for the most part, we are either moving forward or sliding backward. A business is either evolving or unraveling. A plant grows and dies, but doesn’t remain static. Occasionally we must hit pause and appreciate wherever we are on the journey and thank those who choose to travel with us.
Do you love where you work and the type of work you perform?
If so, that’s wonderful. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Appreciate it.
However, don’t confuse work with home.
The former CEO of Kraft Foods, Roger Deromidi, often speaks in my Vanderbilt University classroom. Students enjoy learning about leading a global business, but what often resonates most is his work-life balance discussion.
Most organizations are looking for marathon runners. These people are great long-term contributors who remain loyal to the organization for years.
The problem with marathons is that they can become boring. They are monotonous.
Most true achievers struggle with monotony.
To be effective, true achievers embrace the practice of both marathoners and sprinters. Yes, they are committed for the long-term, but they remain interested by running multiple sprints along the way.
Being flexible matters.
A friend once told me that, “a plan is nothing more than an agreed upon starting point for future changes.”
Very few things go as planned, natural disasters happen, markets shift, the boss gets a new idea of how things should be done, kids get sick – you name it.