Back in October, I wrote about Purposeful Selfishness, and challenged readers to focus on one thing for an hour at the beginning of each day that would help them achieve their longer-term purpose. As it is the beginning of a new year, it is a good time to go a bit further with this and to consider how having a singularity of purpose in our careers that we are driving toward, helps increase your confidence.
This is part 5 of my series, Confidence is an OUTCOME Gained through H.O.P.E. The “P” stands for “Purpose.”
Without purpose, it is easy to feel at the disposal of others.
And when we feel that we are only serving others, we can lose faith in ourselves.
There will always be some people with a purpose who will want us to follow them; who will insist on it even! If you follow them, make sure you know why and what purpose it serves you, and what part of this larger purpose fits with your own purpose.
Recently I was talking with a client about being purposefully selfish in his focus, rather than focusing equally and fully on all that is asked of him. As someone who strives to go further in his career, and to “exceed expectations” this was a novel thought. Could he really give some things less attention, or even only cursory attention? Wouldn’t this be “opting out” and letting people down? I challenged this by asking, “What do you already say ‘No’ to?” He cited some regular meetings that he couldn’t always attend, projects that he delegated in whole to staff members, and other ways he balanced his commitments as good managers do. He was already in the habit of prioritising what could and could not be done in a day, yet was dissatisfied with the overall outcomes and sense of progress he was making. The only piece that was missing for him was how much focus he allowed himself to have on the things he really wanted to achieve. This is an important aspect of prioritization as a leader.
Leadership is about what we choose to achieve in the tide of possibilities.
Management, by contrast, is often about keeping all things moving along. All people who have direct reports must consider where on the leadership-management spectrum is the best place for them to be. There will be things and people that must be managed (kept moving along) and other things and people that must be led. For most of us, a bit of both are required. For some of us though, we get caught up in the management of things and forget that we need to be purposeful (purposefully selfish) in what we lead.
There is much more to say about purpose and confidence. For starters, it is about more than a goal. Your purpose encompasses you at your very best, so a strong purpose will incorporate not only your goals, but your strengths, and your values, too. I’ll be writing more about this, as well as the pitfalls that can thwart our progress. Until then, think far ahead and keep making room for at least one hour a day to achieve what you most want to achieve.
Victoria Hall, Executive Coach
Founder of Talent Futures