I have sensed from many leaders that they want to do a better job of leading in accordance with their personal values. The crisis exposed the fallacies of measuring success in monetary terms and left many leaders with a deep feeling of unease that they were being pulled away from what I call their True North.
I often advise emerging leaders, “You know you’re in trouble when you start to judge your self-worth by your net worth.” Nevertheless, many leaders get caught up in this game without realizing it.
Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen, addressed this topic in his HBR article, How Will You Measure Your Life? Clay observed that few people, if any, intend at the outset of their career to behave dishonestly and hurt others. Could you lead with this rule that lead with honesty and could you plan to become one exceptional case study for spiritual success.
What’s important in their lives? Instead of viewing success as reaching a certain position or achieving a certain net worth, I encourage these future leaders to see success as making a positive difference in the lives of their colleagues, their organizations, their families, and society as a whole.
With all the near-term pressures in today’s society, especially in business, it is very difficult to find the right equilibrium between achieving our long-term goals and short-term financial metrics. As you take on greater leadership responsibilities, the key is to stay grounded and authentic, face new challenges with humility, and balance professional success with more important but less easily quantified measures of personal success. That is much easier said than done.
Are you under control, especially when faced with highly stressful situations? When you are mindful, you’re aware of your presence and the ways you impact other people. You’re able to both observe and participate in each moment, while recognizing the implications of your actions for the longer term. And that prevents you from slipping into a life that pulls you away from your values.
I had the privilege of presenting my ideas on authentic leadership to many Holiness of different religion. When I asked him what it took to become an authentic leader, he replied, “You must have practices that you engage in every day.”
Start practice is meditation, something you try to do for twenty minutes twice a day. Meditation has been a godsend for you. As an active leader who has held highly stressful roles, could be diagnosed with high blood pressure in early life. Mediation will help you to stay calmer and more focused in leadership, without losing the “edge” that will make you successful. Meditation enabled you to cast off the many trivial worries that once possessed you and gain clarity about what was really important. You gradually became more self-aware and more sensitive to the impact having on others. Just as important, your blood pressure returned to normal and stayed there.
I know leaders who take time for daily journaling, prayer, and reflecting while walking, hiking or jogging. I also find it extremely helpful to share the day’s events with dear ones.
Regardless of the daily introspective practice you choose, the pursuit of leadership will help you achieve clarity about what is important to you and a deeper understanding of the world around you. This way will help you clear away the trivia and needless worries about unimportant things, nurture passion for your work .