We live in a world full of distractions. It’s a part of life. Add in self-imposed distractions such as a smart phone and it’s even worse. There are consequences to all of these distractions. The ability to perform more meaningful and thoughtful work is nearly impossible while being distracted all of the time.
What would happen to you or your family if you could no longer work? It’s common for people to have life insurance. The thought of a sudden death at a younger age prompts many people to have some life insurance coverage. But most people don’t think about what would happen if they could no longer work. There is an assumption that one’s ability to work will continue almost indefinitely.
Over the course of my career with the Department of Defense, I have had the opportunity to work with great leaders. These are people that had what it took to be the in charge. Each one of these great leaders possessed a unique style and character type. They were all effective in their own way.
It’s good to be the boss, right? At least that is what we are taught. Work hard, get promoted, and become the boss. With being the boss comes power and increased responsibility. And of course, there are the rewards of some fancy title, maybe even a parking spot, and financial compensation – the slightly larger bonuses and an increased salary. In some industries, that increased salary is only slightly higher but still remains a perception that ‘the boss’ is well off.
Is your boss in an overall better financial position than you? Higher net worth? Less debt?
As a leader, either in your personal life or professional one you will be called upon to make numerous decisions. Having a effective decision-making process can prove invaluable. An Army instructor of mine once summed up what was expected of a leader. “The leader is the person who tells the convoy which way to go when they come to a fork in the road.” So simple. Now add in some rain, nighttime, a lot of fatigue, and an outdated map, and it becomes less simple. But even under challenging and at times unclear conditions, it is the leader who is ultimately responsible for making the decision as to which way to go.
In both my professional and personal lives, I have clearly written goals. Professionally, I am required to write down what I want to achieve over the next 12 months while at work. I am also required to review those goals at the half way point. These goals must relate to education/professional development and those that relate to my actual work. I also support broader and much larger organizational goals that allow my team to meet our expected yearly performance. Everywhere I look there are goals.
The opening credits for the movie Forrest Gump shows a feather floating through the air. The feather is aimlessly floating around giving the audience a whimsical feeling at the beginning of this movie, which is almost universally-agreed upon a pretty great movie. But back to the feather. The feather is floating around with no clear direction and certainly no sense of urgency. Just floating around up in the sky subject to the wind, the air, and the clouds.
Do you think that feather had any real goals? Probably not; it is just a feather after all. Without clearly defined goals in your personal or professional life you are much like that feather – just floating around subject to whatever is happening around you.