What will you do today that is worth exchanging a day of your life for? I was reminded of this question when I came across these words recently.
Essence of a New Day: This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes this day will be gone forever. In its place is something that you will have left behind. Let it be something good. — Successories
What if we actually lived our lives with the intention of making every day be worth the investment that it truly is? What would be possible for us, for our communities, for our companies? If you do this already, then good for you. But most of us don’t.
We spend our time, we use our time, but we don’t usually relate to our time as an investment of our life. I believe if we did, we would be leading – speaking up, stepping up and standing up – a lot more often.
Do you want to set yourself up to be extraordinary in your everyday actions? Do you want to see more opportunities to lead and actually feel compelled to take new and bolder actions?
Then you must be consciously thinking from a context that inspires you to act beyond the ordinary.
It is far too easy to get caught up in the activity of our never ending to do lists. And when that happens we don’t even see the opportunities to lead let alone take them. If this context doesn’t empower you to shake up your business as usual day then create one that does.
If you want truly to develop and expand your leadership capability you need a guide for your actions. The form isn’t important. It could be a personal mission statement, a company vision, an intention, a mantra, your personal values, a daily motivational calendar, or even that great quote you saw on the wall in your friend’s house!
It doesn’t have to be complicated or take a lot of time to create. If you find something that works for you feel free to use it. If you are concerned about originality, know that you will bring your own unique expression to whatever someone else created so if something calls to you I say use it. It can also change over time, even daily.
Whatever words you choose, they are an essential compass if you truly want to change your thinking and actions.
If you already have a context, whether you created it yourself, or adopted it, there are two questions to ask yourself:
1. Are you using it? You may have one, but is it actually supporting you in stretching yourself beyond where you usually go?
I have had the “The Essence of a New Day” plastered on my wall for so long I forgot it was there. One day I was feeling particularly ungrounded and it caught my attention for the first time in a while. I don’t feel the need to create or find a new context right now – this is actually very compelling for me. Yet I did need to bring it back into my consciousness because if I am not present to it how can I think and act from it?
2. Is whatever you are basing your leadership on motivating you to push the envelope on the difference you can make? Or is has what was once a bold, inspiring, and heartfelt aspiration faded into the oblivion of your busy life? If you are not taking actions that fall outside of what you would normally do then consider the answer to this question is no and you have some work to do.
Some of you may be thinking that I am just talking about vision here. A vision is only one form of a context. I happen to think vision has been misused when it comes to leadership. Why do I say that? Because I see far too many visions statements become meaningless words on a wall. And I see far too many people get hung up on whether they have a worthy enough or bold enough vision. (If you’d like to hear more about that read Don’t Let Vision Get in the Way.
So have you set yourself up to be extraordinary?
What is your context? How do you keep it in existence? I would love to hear the thoughts and ideas that you use to to inspire and motivate you to step beyond the ordinary.