The current state of things in our world seems that it just can’t get any more weird. From uncertainty about our health due to the coronavirus threat to economic decline and shifting social protocol, we are all undergoing a lot of change. In the United States, the senseless killing of a minority citizen has again led to the revealing of extreme racial divides in the nation. In varying degrees, this is happening in other countries as well. Certainly it is appropriate for us as leaders to respond with compassion and rational action. A pertinent question is, how do we find the constant things that will help us feel more secure amidst all the variables all around us?
You may have heard the expression “cooler heads prevail”. It means that while things are tense and many people are upset or off balance in their responses, those who can remain calm and reasonable will usually get their way. A good way to remain calm and reasonable is to take inventory and see just what it is that you need to do in order to get control of your situation.
LeaderImpact focuses on three main areas of our leadership, the personal, professional and spiritual. Our intent as leaders is to be successful and this includes being integrated, or bringing these three areas into harmony with one another. This can be tough under any circumstances, so let’s look at some ideas that may help.
When we were working away from home, if things got tough or we had a bad day at work we could use our commute time to decompress. We could think about the day and how to get on top of the issues tomorrow, and we could begin to think about what waited for us at home. Those of us with families and kids thought about dinner times and bedtimes and time with our spouse. Those of us who are single young professionals may have roommates and were thinking about just not being hard to live with when we got home.
Now that most of us are working from home, the walk from our work area to the living area just doesn’t allow that kind of reflection. It is easy for us to take the challenges of work into family time. Relating well with our family is really crucial right now. This doesn’t mean we have to pretend everything is okay or shut off our frustrations if things are difficult at work. But it would really help if we can be “in the moment”, and choose carefully when and with whom to process the struggles.
I had a boss a few years ago who was a master at this. He had three different major areas of responsibility in a global organization and was responsible for the leadership of three different teams, independent of one another. He has a lovely wife and children and grandchildren and travelled for work a good deal of the time, but every time I was in a meeting with him he was one hundred percent present. When the man listened to me, he really listened, never looked at his phone and remained calm and thoughtful in his responses.
In order to develop this skill, I believe two things are important, intentionality and mindfulness. Intentionality comes from asking myself what is really important every day. For example, what do I need to get done in the professional area today, if nothing else gets done? And, what does my spouse or my son or daughter need most from me today? And, how do I connect with God today in a meaningful way? Each of these areas takes something out of us, and each gives something back to us in a way that we really need.
Mindfulness means stay focused on whatever is in front of you. If it is a spreadsheet or a speech you are writing, do just that and nothing else. If it is talking with your spouse and asking him or her questions about their day, your focused attention says, “You are the most important person on the planet right now.”
Living an integrated life, one in which your personal, professional and spiritual growth come together for greater impact, is a long-term goal. And every day gives us many opportunities to be intentional and mindful about that growth.
By Edward Maggard. Used by permission from leaderimpact.com