“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
We all need purpose and vision – an idea of where we’re going. We need a sense that our efforts are producing something of value to ourselves, our company, our families, our communities, our planet.
Purpose gives us direction. Without it, we tend to go in circles or on wild tangents, expending time, energy and resources without achieving any real sense of accomplishment.
When we move along the path of our purpose, though, we derive deep satisfaction. We feel an upsurging, “Yes! This is what I’m here for!”
When we work on purpose, we’re motivated, encouraged and enthusiastic about doing the job at hand. We are engaged.
With a global employee engagement rate of only 20%, it seems that there quite a bit of room for improving that sense of purpose in the workplace.
The first principle of Authentic Communication, BE, might offer some helpful insight here.
As Authentic Communicators, we believe that all communication begins with the communicator. We practice self-reflection to strengthen our understanding of ourselves. We set judgment aside and look at who we are as communicators, as teammates, as human beings on the great adventure of life.
We are not looking to change who we are. We are, instead, doing the honest and fearless work of getting to know – and accept – ourselves. This is when we pull back the layers to know the truth of who we are. For how can we practice Authentic Communication without a genuine connection to what is true, meaningful, and authentic for us as individuals?
There are many paths to self-awareness. One of my favorites is mindfulness. A daily sitting practice in which I observe the fluctuations of my mind has been a reliably honest teacher about my own patterns, habits, self-deceptions, and unique magnificence.
Another favorite of mine is Values Discovery. This is a two-part process. First, we rank our personal values using an organic system that mimics the way the mind prioritizes core beliefs in any real-world situation. Then, we tell stories that help us connect with these values – stories that bring our own values to life.
With self-awareness (or, “BE”) practices like these, we bring what is hidden into the light so that we can become aware of the parts of ourselves that, though perhaps not obvious to us, have a profound influence on our behaviors.
If, for example, we are not aware of or connected with our values, we lack a basic understanding of whether the work we’re doing is aligned with what is true and authentic for us.
Being in sync with our values needs knowledge of and engagement with those values. When we are in sync with our values, we are on purpose, full of energy, teeming with meaning and satisfaction. Being out of sync with our values – that is, not knowing them, not being connected with them, or not choosing to express them – can translate into doing work in a way that is unproductive, irrelevant, and even sabotages good results.
You can uncover a wealth of energy and engagement in your team by encouraging BE practices. Invite team members to commit to a discipline that develops self-awareness – daily journaling, mindfulness, values explorations, working with a coach. Then have them buddy-up with a teammate to share their BE journey. In this way, they can support and encourage each other, and hold each other accountable, too.
And please let me know what you discover about yourselves and your teams. I have no doubt that it will be magnificent.