How to Stop Stumbling Aimlessly and Pull Purposefully
We don’t wake up thinking, “I want to live an inconsequential life.” But we don’t wake up thinking, “I want to live a meaningful life,” either.
We simply wake up stumbling aimlessly from one thing to the next.
The most important idea of the day usually isn’t thought at all.
I bet you didn’t ask yourself, “What’s my aim?” when you got up this morning.
In a world dominated by turbulence, aimlessly doing the next thing masquerades as purposeful leadership.
Aimless leaders are too stressed with to-dos to worry about aim. However, “What’s my aim?” isn’t answered with a to-do list.
The longer your to-do list, the less purposeful your leadership.
Aimless leading is easier than purposeful leading. “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Zig Ziglar
We spotted an ant on the deck pulling purposefully!
Aim amplifies meaning and multiplies impact.
#1. Aim begins with who you are, not what you do.
Five things clarify aim.
- Talent. What natural inclinations make pulling hard fun?
- Strength. What do you do well?
- Energy. What gives you energy?
- Value. What provides value to your team and organization?
- Opportunity. What contribution matters now?
Clarify aim by reflecting on your ability to contribute.
#2. Aim requires perspective.
Near-term challenges typically obscure long-term goals. But during turbulence a medium-term perspective serves well.
Leading for the medium-term is addressing short-term responsibilities with long-term perspective. For example, how do you address pressing needs in a way that develops the team?
#3. Aim turns toward the future.
Problem solvers are dominated by things that have already happened. But leaders with aim fix their eyes toward the future.
Leading is more about creating the future than fixing the past.
How do you determine your aim?
What’s your aim?
Great and timely post – Thank you!
This last year’s focus was primarily on keeping the ship afloat amidst the pandemic. It has been much more based on “managing” and not nearly enough on leading. I take ownership of this and it is not an excuse, just a reflection on what has been.
The idea of medium-term plans is an excellent idea to help us first and foremost clarify (re-clarify) our vision, and to identify the targets to get us back on track for our long-range goals.
Your post reminds me of the great Yogi Berra, “We are lost, but we are making great time.”
Thank you for the great thoughts and for reminding us to look at our compass from time to time.
#1. Aim begins with who you are, not what you do. #2. Aim requires perspective. #3. Aim turns toward the future. I know all these three for me and most all the time I have them in mind. My challenges are with those that want to make me something I am not and turn me towards something that is not a good perspective on issues or a needed valued direction for future success. It is a constant battle where I have to find means to “convince” in many ways that my “aim” is the right aim in all I do. I’m good at convincing it’s that taking time out to do so takes away from getting the job done. Why do I have to convince? Biases that are not correct or informed or are based on the past when the present and future is so different. That is the simplest way to say it.
To help me focus on aiming toward the future, I literally had signs made with Lou Hotlz’s well-known “What’s Important Now?” slogan that were posted in my personal office and in a couple of other places within my area of responsibility. In my “retirement,” one of them is now beside my bathroom mirror and another in my home office. For me, the signs have provided a little nudge to keep me on track. Of course nowadays, sometimes “what’s important now,” first thing in the morning, is often that first cup of coffee!
How do you determine your aim? Depends on the target, lets say the audience may determine the path of the conversation for their future and your future tends to be an interesting topic since we have no idea what the future has in store for us. We learn to take everything in stride through life, so continue the path that works.
What’s your aim? About 40 yards last time I checked, for Archery…. LOL, Seriously “The sky is the limit” is an old Cliche, so lets go that route, limits are just that. So refrain from the limits and shot for the sky. Plan for tomorrow live for today. The future is planned by the Calendar so use that as needed, seems a controlling factor in our lives the almighty schedule.
“Talent. What natural inclinations make pulling hard fun?
Strength. What do you do well?
Energy. What gives you energy?
Value. What provides value to your team and organization?
Opportunity. What contribution matters now?”
Great questions, and that is why I went back to school. I have talent in many areas that I learned (not necessarily natural) because I was pulling hard for others –children and ex-husband– but until now I have not focused on MY natural inclinations. Sure I had been always the leader but when I expanded my scope of work and moved to a different state to align with my natural inclination for multiple targeted, purposeful, and meaningful work, then I found the strength, energy, value, and opportunity to be myself while contributing.