As leaders, we work hard to make sure that we get the job done. Sometimes it feels like we get the job done at the expense of our own personal lives. Sometimes we compromise time away from family, our morals, or our health to meet the needs of the job. When we give up so much of who we are for a job, it is time to ask if this is what you want from your career and role as a leader. Asking this question does not mean that you have to quit your job. In fact, it can be a time to reflect on why your role has evolved in this way and turn your current role into your dream job. This is a time for self reflection, and being intentional about turning your work from a source of stress to a source of passion that enhances your engagement in work and life.
Step 1: Create a vision statement for your life. When creating a vision statement for your life, don’t limit your vision to your current job. What do you want out of your life? What would you want people to remember about you? A vision statement for your life really encompasses your dreams and moral compass. When you are clear about what you stand for and where you want to go in life, it becomes easier to identify what are the actions that will help to draw you closer to that goal, and it gives you the confidence to say no to things that go against who you are. Many times in our careers we can become so focused on a product that we are actually limiting ourselves to the potential for growth and engagement. We feel that our success is measured by the amount of business and stress we are under. However, if we are doing a job that we love, the work does not seem like stress. It is an opportunity to share our dream and move closer to the vision we have for our life.
Step 2: Create a vision board. Many of us have heard of vision boards, and we fill them with images of cars, houses, vacations that we want to be able to possess when we reach our ultimate goal. These are useful for some, but for others they can be frustrating and move us away from what we truly want out of life. My recommendation for a vision board is to create either a physical or digital board that captures your intentions. Create a graphic with your vision statement, and surround it with quotes, pieces of wisdom, people who inspire you, and items that have meaning to you. These will serve as a reminder of what you want to intentionally become, not just a goal. Sometimes we meet a goal by any means necessary, but it does not align with our intent and vision for our careers and our lives. My vision board is comprised of leaders who have inspired me, quotes that focus on establishing meaningful relationships in all aspects of life, and building community. Do I want to go on vacation, build a nice new house, etc? Of course, and I still keep track of those dreams, but by staying on path with my vision statement, I am able to enjoy the journey to those items much more.
Step 3: Work with an accountability buddy. Okay, so you have developed your vision and created a vision board, now it is time to stick to it. When we do things in isolation it is a lot easier to bend the rules or move away from our original intention. However, when you work with an accountability buddy, you have someone who will push back when you start to stray from your path. Your accountability buddy will also encourage you to reach further with your vision, which is important when you come across times when you are feeling low. Working in community to further your vision is important for you, and it can also help inspire someone else. So find someone that you trust and encourages you to think outside of the box. You can also create a group of people who develops their vision statement and boards together. Once you have found your accountability buddy or group, be sure to be intentional and schedule regular check ins so you can continue to follow your vision and motivate one another.
Our lives are so much more than just a job title, a family role, a volunteering gig, or a credential. We are truly the sum of all of our parts. If we neglect to acknowledge that we are a whole person, our work becomes stress rather than an opportunity to become a path to enrich our lives and the world. By being intentional, creating a vision statement and board, and working with an accountability buddy, we can envision a career and a life that aligns our passion and our purpose.