Every morning when we wake up, the habit of living our daily life begins. At a deeper level, we desire this day to be better than the last, and because of this, we expect the next day to be even better. Because of this are continually seek new ideas that will increase our success, how ever we measure it. There is nothing wrong with this per say. It seems to be the nature of the game of business, society and certainly of advertising. It’s all about better, better, better – more, more, more.
But let me ask you a question. How has this quest for ‘more’ and ‘better’ made you happier? Yes, in our business life, we have moments of great achievements or moments when we feel we have made a real difference. And there is nothing wrong with this – it feels great. However, the real question is, does this quest for continuous improvement lead to anything sustainable in the end? And with an overemphasis of this search for more and better, what might we be leaving on the table? If we are constantly in the future, could we be allowing life to pass right by us?
Of course, the response that may appear for many business leaders, to these questions, may be something like ‘Well, I am here to grow the business, and I am accountable for results – we have to continuously analyze the market, test our strategies and continually push ourselves to win the game!’ That might be true, but the real question is – does skewing our attention towards maximization REALLY add value to our lives and those we serve? Has the emphasis on maximizing profit, increasing efficiencies of productivity, and the continuous infatuation of growth, growth, growth increased personal fulfillment in the executives who drive it? Has it genuinely supported the highest and best for those in and around the business?
Such an emphasis of more, better, and continuously growing seems to be natural to the human being. I certainly enjoy new things, fresh ideas, seeing improvement, and feeling a sense of achievement. But more and more I see how the business world and society as a whole, have emphasized this so much that it has led to a habit of feeling a constant dissatisfaction with life. And this habit of displeasure with how things are has had a significant cost. The constant quest for more takes us away from ‘being’ human and separates us from each other and life itself. Life becomes like a chess game where we always are plotting our next move. We begin to see others around us as adding or subtracting from our quest, and this can cause us to miss a genuine connection – which we all crave deep down.
There seems to be this underlying fear if I stop pushing for more – won’t I be cheating what I can get from my life? Again, there is an underlying assumption in this fear, that it is all on our shoulders and that if we remain idle for even an hour that somehow we will miss an opportunity. The question becomes, have you tested your assumptions? After all, assumptions are merely words strung together into a belief. It’s just a series of thoughts – no more, no less! The question becomes how do we test the validity of our beliefs?
So what would happen if for a day or two you just STOPPED the quest? What if you stepped into your day:
Would any of these moves increase profits or make you more productive in the long run? The answer to all of these questions, of course, is – ‘I don’t know what the outcome would be?’ But the same thing could be said for a constant vigil to grow profit, being constantly in action, always searching for new strategies, or maintaining our current habits of activity. We don’t know for sure, how it will turn out by executing out of those frameworks of assumptions. As I noted in an earlier post, ‘Visionary Leaders Dispel the Myth of Future‘, we can see by the hundreds of failed economic forecasts; we are terrible at predicting the future. The truth is there is no way to tell what will happen later today, let alone three years from now. As I have said before, every executive I have ever worked with admits they have planned very little of their life out. Few ever imagined they’d be where they are today. And yet most business executives spend an inordinate amount of time planning for some future they can never predict.
Authentic Courageous Leadership is about service and is not a quest for more and better. You may be able to measure leadership through its outcomes. However, leadership is a state of being, not doing. Leadership is about creating a context that inspires the highest and best in others. Leadership emphasizes alignment and collaboration over efficiency and productivity because it realizes the latter the former is a natural outcome of the former. Finally, Authentic Courageous Leaders understand that activity is not a measure of success. Such leaders consciously create space to be, to rest, to be silent and feel their connection to life. They realize when they open space in this way that it automatically improves their capacity to lead.
My invitation to you is for one day, plan nothing but show up fully for each moment. Trust yourself and life to show you the way forward. Now, I am not saying planning is wrong; we do need to plan some things. The key is understanding when planning is necessary and when it is a waste of time. When you understand the nuance of this truth, the game begins to come to you, gratitude for life expands, you live from a place of deep satisfaction, AND you still get to make the world a better place. It is a paradox that few business owners and executives live and it causes them to miss big chunks of their lives.
Note: If you resonate with this post, please download my free report ‘Stop Chasing After It, Let the Game Come to You – Engaging the Power of Authentic Courageous Leadership‘ by clicking this link.
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Part Two: The Nuclear Power Behind Your Leadership
Part One: The Nuclear Power Behind Your Leadership