Personal Leadership & Envisioning

“For the first time — literally — substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves,” Peter Drucker

Boardwalk stretching into horizon at sunset
Boardwalk stretching into horizon at sunset

Personal Leadership

As human beings, we have four equally important facets. We are each composed of

· MIND
· BODY
· HEART
· SPIRIT

We need to ensure our life and lifestyle serve to nourish us physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Our MIND needs growth and learning, reading and education.

Our BODY needs exercise, nutritious food, restful sleep.

Our HEART needs connection, respect, laughter, empathy.

Our SPIRIT needs meaning, principles, awe, and an opportunity for transcendent experiences, like those you might have with music, church, nature, or the arts.

Disharmony in one will affect the others.

Stephen R. Covey writes in his book, ‘The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness,’ about these four dimensions as they relate to an organization.

For the health of our business, this is a good model for us to be mindful of because a business is not solely about making money — particularly when it is our personal business and vocation.

The purpose of having our own consultancy business may be to make money, but the reason for us to work for ourselves is to have a better lifestyle as well.

Usually, it’s a decision we have come to for better alignment with our values as well or realizing that we’d rather have quantity time with our kids, not just quality time.

Sun ray shines on curving road through forest
Sun ray shines on curving road through forest

Our Business

Our business has exactly the same four dimensions:

· MIND
· BODY
· HEART
· SPIRIT

What is the MIND of the Business?

This is the strategy, the vision, the competitive advantage, the understanding of our competitive environment.

What is the BODY?

The Body of the business holds it all together. It is the structured operations: processes, systems, equipment, and infrastructure.

What is the Heart?

The Heart of our business is concerned with customer satisfaction, meaning, balance, sincerity, honesty. It is the thoughtfulness of what we do. It is going that ‘extra mile’. It’s the smile it brings to our own face at the end of the day, as well as the smile of our customer.

What is the Spirit?

The Spirit of our business lies in the conscience, ethics, and values. It is our personal integrity writ into the way we do things.

As with our own selves, disharmony in one area will contaminate the others.

You are a Leader

As business owners, we are Leaders. We are in a leadership position of ourselves and we may also lead others.

Good leadership has four essential criteria:

•VISION
•DISCIPLINE
•PASSION
•CONSCIENCE

Hands hold an incandescent lightbulb
Hands hold an incandescent lightbulb

We are charged with setting the direction of the business and conveying the Vision that we have. We need to vividly imagine the ideal outcomes and processes and the results of our work.

We are responsible for the operations of the business and this requires discipline and structure. We need to define boundaries and clarify what our business will do and what it will not.

As leaders, we need to have a strong Passion. We have to believe in ourselves. Some among us can distill the complexity and necessity of our mission into powerful words that breathe fire into those around us, gaining the commitment and understanding that we need. Many of us seem low-key and cool on the outside, but on the inside, we are burning for the success of the business.

We also need to have Conscience. An organization without a conscience is a boat without a rudder. Without conscience, we are certain to drift into strange territory.

ENVISIONING

Unmade bed with book and coffee cup in covers
Unmade bed with book and coffee cup in covers

Let’s start at the end. What are we working towards? What are we trying to create? What is the business of our dreams?

Our job is to translate that vision of yourself and your envisioned life ahead into a working Vision of your business.

Let’s start at the end.

This is a free writing exercise.

You may want to consider these questions and then close your eyes and meditate on the answers. The key is not to be restrictive based on what you think is ‘realistic’, but to have a free and open mind and experiment with various imagined scenarios. Can’t hurt, can it?

Preparation

Most people have a creative or peaceful place — whether they consider themselves to be creative or not. For our purposes, the creative space is the situation you find yourself in which stimulates feelings of calm, relaxedness, imagination and ‘flow’.

It might be outside in your garden or the local park, under a cozy blanket by a window or fireplace, in your favorite coffee shop surrounded by a throng of people, or in the moments of compulsory mindfulness provided by a long train ride.

Image for post
Image for post

It is also very common for that space to involve activity of some kind. Creative place does not necessarily mean a ‘restful’ space. Exercise stimulates endorphins and helps neural networks to form and new ideas to be generated. Your creative place may well be when you are gardening, mowing the lawn, running, bushwalking or strolling though an art gallery. Or you might just want to stretch out wherever you are right now and start thinking.

Arm yourself with these questions to contemplate in your creative space and then, afterward, record it all in notes. Be advised that this exercise can release a flood of positivity and good feeling!

Regular visioning exercising must be amongst the most constructive things you can do in your life. They make us think from our heart space and stretch our creative power. They also remind us that we are the driver in our life, not the passenger.

How to Do it

It is up to you how you think this will work best. You can either note some ideas about what your business will look like:

· In 12 months,

· In three years,

· and then five years.

Others like to jump into the five-year vision, from which later back-planning to three years and then what needs to be done in the next 12 months.

Vision Example: Jacinta

In five years, my business has a reputation for creating exceptionally beautiful print design that showcases creative arts and ideas.

Woman looks pensively through window at cafe
Woman looks pensively through window at cafe

My role is the Lead Designer and business owner. I seek new techniques and use innovative and sustainable methods.

The business is known as the place to go to get the very best design and print work.

Your Turn: Vision

In 12 months, my business will…

In three years, my business will…

In five years, my business…

My role is…

The business is known as the …

Summing up

Ursula Le Guin famously spent a lot of time lying in bed and thinking every day. It was an important part of her daily routine. She was envisioning her characters and situations. We all need time to think our own thoughts. Reverie. daydreaming. To imagine.

At this late stage of capitalism, what we have always been told to do, doesn’t work anymore. At least, it doesn’t have to.

We live in a knowledge world and we can be our own bosses. I hope this exercise has helped you be a good boss to yourself.

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Written by

Writes about strategy, storytelling, messaging, and communication…Prone to bouts of fiction.

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