This week I had the great pleasure of joining a brilliant group of women for the first of a series of think tank sessions. Brought together by Bernadette McClelland, one of Australia’s leading sales and leadership experts, this diverse group of women were both inspiring and a lot of fun to spend time with. The night was filled with thought provoking conversation and plenty of laughter. Referred to as The Hive, the purpose of the group is to share wisdom and support one another’s success in business and life.
At one point we were asked to reflect on and share why we want to achieve the mission we have set for ourselves. In other words what really lies beneath our desire to create the work life we are striving to. Most people striving to succeed in business have a relatively clear vision of the future they want to create. This exercise made me reflect however on how often people are less able to describe why they want what they do.
“Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause or belief – WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?
Simon Sinek, author Start with Why: how great leaders inspire people to take action
For me answering the question about what I want to achieve was easy. Getting to why was surprisingly harder. Surprising because I am someone who is strongly influenced by my emotions and desire to contribute to the well being of humanity and our planet. So you’d think that I would have a good understanding of why that matters to me. The truth is I needed to reflect deeply before it started to become clearer.
For those who haven’t heard me talk about it before, my personal mission is to heal the world through leadership. I believe great leadership in all areas of life, including business, government, community and religion are essential to our ability to reach a state of harmony among people. Humanities ability to move past our individualist and selfish approach depends on leaders inspiring personal accountability and a collective consciousness.
While in that there are obvious benefits that speak to why it mattes to me. But moving past this level of thinking I began to observe more closely why it truly matters. Fundamentally what drives me is the energy I gain from observing people who are thriving. My own spirit is energised when I am able to see the impact of my work in the clarity, confidence and passion people feel. When I am able inspire people to strive and to be the best possible version of themselves I’m uplifted.
What I discovered is that in my ‘why’ is a lot more of me than I thought. Until now I’ve focused on why I want to help other people. What’s clear now is my drive to do that is in a large way due to how energised I am by the emotions that come with making a difference. What this means for my work is that I will always need to create opportunities for me to work with leaders and groups. While the writing and media aspects of work are fulfilling, what gives me the fuel to keep going is seeing directly the difference the work we do makes.
Why do you want to what you want from your work life? What gives you energy and allows you to keep striving? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Karen Gately is a leadership and people-management specialist and a founder of Ryan Gately. Karen works with leaders and HR teams to drive business results through the talent and energy of people. She is the author of The People Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical guide to getting the best from people and The Corporate Dojo: Driving extraordinary results through spirited people. For more information visit http://www.karengately.com.au or contact firstname.lastname@example.org