Find Your Direction

“Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”

In our journey of life, it can be so hard to resist chasing more money, more things, more doing or more of anything to be “happy.”   Yet, when is the last time you examined where you were headed?  We are all moving toward something.

While goals can give our life purpose, goals without our purpose in mind can leave us lost when we reach them.   “Wanting” can lead to greed and emptiness.  “Doing” can be a way of numbing and finding self-worth.  If the chase doesn’t include enjoying the creation, discovery, and keeping the meaning of the mission alive, we can start feeling a sense of emptiness.

Have you noticed times in your life when you were chasing a goal, yet in the process people you valued were ignored?  Or did you even embrace the act, in and of itself?

In the times of my life where I have reached a point of burnout,  it was because I got caught up in the doing and no longer felt I was fulfilling my purpose.  I became someone just going through the motions not knowing where I was headed.  I became lost with feelings of emptiness.   At first, I thought my desire for a sense of accomplishment was to blame. However, when I decided to stop doing so much, I was still lost.  Then I realized I just needed to have the courage to operate by my true beliefs with meaningful doing in order to feel whole and alive again. It took doing some self-reflecting and gaining self-awareness and re-evaluating what I really wanted and what I didn’t want in life.

In my career, I have been fortunate to work in a company where the leader would say, “do what is right by the client.” The company’s values and mission were clear and the passion and energy were everywhere. Hence, turnover was extremely low and everyone was happy accomplishing the company’s goals for years.

Alternatively, many articles have been written about high turnover and burnout in companies that lack purpose. Simon Sinek in “Start with Why” tells many stories to prove most people want to feel good about their work at the end of the day. Without the “Why” companies fail. In Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frank shares how most of the people who survived the Holocaust had a strong sense of purpose.  Yet, I am hearing of more and more companies and coaches taking away the purpose out of the work and making it all about the money.  No matter where you are feeling lost,  don’t stay stuck.

Think of times in your life where you have been happy.  When have you felt whole?  Are you being true to yourself?   Is what you are saying and doing matching what you truly believe?

Create goals based on what gives your life meaning.  Then keep your purpose in mind all along your journey. When distractions come at you, go back to your why and let it guide you in your decisions and actions.  Be a leader.  Bring your purpose to your work and see if you can inspire change in yourself and inspire others. When you show courage to hold true to your “why” then you won’t get lost.

“People who can articulate their purpose live an average of 8 years longer.” Jay Shetty Podcast Ikky Guy

To gain a better self-understanding, take the Enneagram course through the Growth Institute Courses. If you are still struggling after this exercise, write to me at everythingforthesoul@gmail.com.  I may not have all your answers. However, it is the writing alone and sharing your story with someone interested that may be the very therapy you need.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis text: 741741

If you live in the Dayton, Ohio area, schedule free counseling by email: counseling@southbrook.org

To share inspiring stories or be referred to a Professional Counselor email: everythingforthesoul@gmail.com

For more resources:

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Action by Simon Sinek

Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frank

Leadership for the Soul

 

Mindtools.com says “Leadership can be hard to define and it means different things to different people. In the transformational leadership model, leaders set direction and help themselves and others to do the right thing to move forward. To do this they create an inspiring vision, and then motivate and inspire others to reach that vision.”

How is that done?

You may have heard the quote, “no one cares about how much you know unless they know how much you care.”  Can you be defined as a leader if you don’t ever get followers?  It seems the best leaders show how much they care about their mission.  Then the ones who show they care about their people get the most people on board.

Think of the best leaders in ancient wars.  Those who you see in the movies that are charging ahead of their troops to fight a battle.  The ones who get out in front.  They are in the trenches with their people.  When you see that in a movie, doesn’t it ignite your passion internally to want to see their side win?

Besides leading the way, how else do those leaders get people on board?  We see characteristics as being comfortable in their own skin, confident in who they are, strong in their decision making, have integrity and base decisions on the betterment of all their people.  They make their team feel valued that someone else is willing to fight on their behalf.  It makes them all want to win together.

What kind of leader are you?  How do you show you care about your people? When your people are trying to voice what they are experiencing in the trenches, do you shut them down?  If so, instead:

  • Work to listen and understand if it is a legitimate concern.
  • Rephrase what you are hearing them feel.
  • Ask what have you tried?
  • What were the results?
  • Ask what are your recommended options?
  • Ask how do you want to be part of the solution?
  • Do you know any others that are feeling the same way and would you want to help come up with ideas to fix it?

This approach will help your people feel heard and opinions valued.  Also, it weeds out the negative thinkers.  Those who want to complain but not help fix the problem.

When you make them feel heard rather than force top-down thinking and respond in ways where they feel they can’t trust being honest, you risk not getting valuable information for an effective strategy.  Also if you don’t understand them and what they are going through, how are you going to provide the adequate tools for them to handle the battle.  Shutting them down before understanding them says to them, “your opinions don’t matter”.  “Your views are not valued enough.”

If you feel they don’t understand the big picture from their feedback, it also tells you they don’t understand the vision.  In that case, you may need to clarify it and get them on board with why what you are asking is important.

Most people want to feel they are doing the right thing and will work more passionately for those who care for them.   Care for your people by empathizing with them and coach them how to become their best and you will have an army helping you accomplish your vision.

Photo taken at Lake Tahoe