Hello all and welcome to 2024! You may have noticed that I took a break from writing and emailing for most of 2023 – with the exception of a few amazing client stories that needed to be shared.
That step back was intentional. Slowing down the writing/posting/emailing frenzy created space to re-focus on my purpose. This is one of the fundamental concepts I work with clients to do – identifying their purpose, their “why,” and then using that to decide where to put their time and energy. Reconnecting to my purpose – to help people have better lives at work –brought new energy and new ideas. By clearing my calendar of old routines, I created space to explore and experiment. (More on that below.)
As we move into the end of January, I encourage you to reflect on your own purpose. You may have started the year with a few resolutions or a word for the year. Now, a few weeks in, some of your goals and resolutions may still be meaningful, while others may have slipped. This is a great time for a reality check about that. Which ones still matter to you? Why? What do all of those goals or resolutions add up to for you?
And then, take a look at your work routines: What fits? What no longer serves you?
Here are examples of steps my clients have taken to create time to focus on purpose:
- Review and reshape your meeting schedule:
- Are there any standing meetings that have run their course and could be discontinued?
- Are there working groups/teams that could meet less frequently (biweekly instead of weekly)?
- Are there “check-in” or “progress sharing” meetings or agenda items that could be captured in a brief report instead, to preserve group time for coordination and problem-solving? Do you tend to cover details in one-on-one meetings that would be better coordinated in small groups, getting you out of the middle of the action?
- Build in thinking time, so you have room for the big-picture, creative thinking that will get you ahead:
- One client takes one afternoon per month to work off-site at a favorite coffee shop, with email off and phone on do not disturb, to review goals and consider next steps for his team.
- Other clients take a few quiet moments for reflection and planning at the beginning and/or end of each day. During that time, they celebrate and note accomplishments, review their goals, and set their intentions for the day.
- As a leader, also revisit your team’s purpose regularly, both for yourself and for your team members:
- At least once per month, find and share a story or anecdote that relates your daily tasks to the broader goals or context of your work. Look for examples in your customers’ experiences and share how your team contributes to their outcomes – like the example I share in this blog of a retail manager who found purpose in developing new team members.
Having a clear purpose is how we find meaning in our day-to-day activities, and how we sort through the noise and crush of daily demands, to focus on the work that will make the biggest difference.
If you’re curious about how working with a coach could help clarify your purpose and ensure your work aligns, learn more about our coaching program here.