Taking Ownership of Your Work + Your Life
So far in our Leadership Quest, we’ve been building a strong foundation, defining our purpose as leaders, orienting our work around the Four Focuses of a Leader, and developing our communication skills to better guide our teams.
Our next level of the Quest involves stepping into greater ownership and accountability. We must begin to claim our sacred responsibility to bring our best everyday, pull out the best from our teams, and build systems and structures that help us achieve and measure the success we’re seeking.
Our new campus gives us a powerful moment of reset where we can recreate our regular rhythms and processes and return to our roles with a renewed mind, fresh perspective, and recommitment to living and giving our very best.
To step up into that new level of excellence and commitment, we must take on the role as the CEO of our lives.
We must take back responsibility, our sense of agency, personal accountability, and ownership and begin to steward our lives and our talents as thoughtfully, diligently, and attentively as a CEO would manage a bourgeoning company.
As a great chief executive of our lives, it will be our duty to bring an integration and order to all of the facets that help us experience a meaningful life.
If our career, family life, personal life, spiritual life, home life, and our leisure time were managed well, we could increase our fulfillment and satisfaction and have as much impact within our sphere of influence as any meaningful organization. Yet, all too often we fail to bring the same level of care and attention to stewarding our own lives as a top executive would spend stewarding their business.
However, once we reclaim ownership of our behaviors, skills, attitudes, and abilities and believe in our capacity to guide our lives in a meaningful direction, we are able tap into a deeper sense of purpose. Once we know why we exist, we can begin planning our next steps and building a better future. Focusing on the clear direction, we are launched into action and then we become able to make substantial, sustainable change.
To help us initiate that sequence towards creating a more meaningful and impactful life, here are 7 key steps to becoming the CEO of our lives:
1) Taking Ownership (reclaiming your agency): Embracing a sense of ownership and ability to steer the direction of our lives is an absolute necessity if we want to move forward with purpose.
We can no longer stay stuck in the belief that outside circumstances and other people are going to take our lives where we need them to go. We cannot be passive bystanders on the sidelines of our lives, but must become directors and drivers, guiding our experience toward the future we seek. We must begin to trust ourselves to lead and begin to advocate for ourselves and our needs, taking small, intentional steps every day toward creating our ideal future.
We must also strive to move beyond the restitution narrative where we were always reaching to return to the “way it was,” we must find a way to rise above the chaos narrative where we were at the mercy of our circumstances and everything was happening out of our control, and we must instead embrace that quest mentality where we know that through intentional, focused action we can create a better future.
Even if we cannot control every circumstance, we can take ownership for everything within our sphere. We can build great systems, manage our time well, build in margin, work on our resilience, cultivate great relationships, and work to choose a more positive perspective.
When we know that our lives are not in the hands of others, but are truly our responsibility, we regain the power to change our experience and create a life that truly fulfills us and helps us give the world our very best.
2) Defining Your Why (discovering your purpose): We’ve spent a lot of time working through our greater Why as an organization and uniting around the compelling Why behind the move to the new campus. We saw how powerful these clear statements of purpose were for driving us forward as a united team and helping us persevere through the challenges and adjustments of making such a substantial move.
We need that same driving and motivating force activated in our own lives. Our short time on earth is so precious and the sooner we can tap into our core purpose, the more fulfilled and meaningful every day will be.
To find our personal why, we can look for threads of common experiences and motivations throughout all slices of our lives. Is there something that compels us to act toward a similar end whether we’re working, playing, or taking care of our families?
An easy way to get to our why statement is to consider the impact we want to make and then explore the way we tend to make that happen.
For instance, I am deeply motivated to make others happy. I love to bring fun and excitement and a spark of joy to each day. The common way I often deliver that impact or the thread running through all that I do is that I help make others happy through reducing the chaos.
My colleague is a very supportive and nurturing person. She is driven by bringing peace and calm to others’ lives and a common theme in her life is that she helps others identify and remove barriers to that peace.
Take some time to journal through your Why and list as many things that come to mind. Use these frameworks to help you come to that common thread:
I help __(people I help)_
To ___(what I help them accomplish)
Through ___(the way I help them accomplish it)
So that ___ (what happens as a result, the impact I’ve helped to make)
To ____ (way I deliver impact)
So that ___(impact I deliver)
Keep your Why with you. Write it on a card in your wallet, keep it on a post-it in your locker and sit with it for some time. When you see a common thread that is relevant to all facets of your life and something that motivates you to arise with purpose and passion each morning, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Our Why statement gives us the foundation and core of our very existence. It helps clarify what we’re here to do and can help us make thoughtful, intentional decisions everyday as we lead and direct our lives.
3) Determining Your What (owning your special talents): Once we have that core purpose and foundation in our Why, we can continue to explore what special talents we possess that help us express and extend that Why throughout all that we do.
These special talents are our superpowers. They are the unique strengths that set us apart and give us an advantage in life. They will be the clear ways we bring our highest and best value to our organizations and teams and the gifts that help us best serve our families and friends.
To find our superpowers, we will reflect on our experiences, ask for feedback, and identify our value.
Reflect on our past experiences: think about times when we felt most confident, fulfilled, and successful. What were we doing? What came most naturally to us? Write down all that comes to mind and circle key words and repeating themes.
Ask for feedback: seek the opinions of others on your team or in your family and ask them what you are particularly good at. Those who work and live so closely to us are privileged with an unbiased, outside perspective and can often see and name our strengths and superpowers much more easily than we can.
Identify your most valuable skills: What do we do that drives the most value for our patients, our team, and our organization? What are the key ways we are able to contribute most in our families?
Find the top 3-5 superpowers that most resonate with you and work to activate them every day. Spend time working to grow and develop these skills as often as you can. Whenever we get to utilize these superpowers, we will experience the highest levels of fulfillment, satisfaction, and sense of purpose in our lives.
**Putting it together: Add in your superpowers to your Why statement to create a clear picture of what makes you tick.
Continuing the example above, my superpowers are creating systems, structures, and frameworks to help others reduce the chaos in their lives and experience more joy and happiness in their lives.
At work I do this through consulting and coaching leaders and providing tools for working through challenges and growing through change. At home, you can find me making lists, planning exciting trips, and re-organizing our pantry to help us have more fun cooking.
My Why: to reduce chaos so that others can be happy
My What: creating strategies to help people solve problems
My Colleagues’ Why: to help bring a sense of order to people’s lives so they can experience more peace
My Colleagues’ What: objectively listening and guiding people to remove barriers
4) Determining Your How (finding your focus): Now that we know our core purpose and the superpowers we possess that can help us bring our highest and best value to the world, we need to work to realign our roles to allow us more ability to express and share those gifts.
In your Leader-to-Leader 1:1s, work with your leader to review your Why and your What. Let them see what drives you and where you are at your best and then discuss how you can most effectively steward your talents at work. Are you able to make small adjustments to your role that would allow you to give more of your greatest gifts?
Revisit your burning ideas section in your FY2023 Planner to see repeating themes around where you’re not able to give your best and really express your gifts. With some intentional coaching and discussion, you may find that you and a colleague have complementary gifts and with slight adjustments, you can both begin to live more fully into your superpowers.
Remember, these special talents are going to allow you to give even more to your team, your patients, and the organization as a whole. All of us owning our strengths and helping to bring them to bear will allow us to radically improve patient care, increase efficiency in our operations, build stronger teams, and increase our bottom line.
An entire Trinity Health living in their greatest superpowers would be unstoppable and building that organization is in reach if we all steward our gifts well and work every day to share them.
5) Determining Your When (making your plan): After we’ve worked to refine our roles and create more opportunities to shine, we must make a concrete plan and schedule the time to bring those gifts to bear.
If you are a deeply compassionate leader with a gift for listening and coaching, have you scheduled time for regular 1:1s to support and guide your direct reports?
If you are a master at systems and spreadsheets do you have adequate time blocked for uninterrupted study of a key budget or process?
Use your FY2023 Planner to create these key blocks of time and stop to send any meeting requests or track down key information or reports you’ll need to take the next step.
Remember, your calendar isn’t the CEO of your life, you are! We’re not at the mercy of a chaotic schedule and we do have the power and responsibility to reclaim control of our time.
It’s so important that we take ownership of our days and build in more time for our superpower. Again, increasing the time we can spend giving our highest values and gifts will be so fulfilling for us and it will allow our organization to thrive.
6) Determining Your What’s Next (knowing where you are headed): As a great CEO, we must cast a vision of where we’re heading and the future we’re creating. We must see the summit before us so we can make a solid plan to get us to the peak.
As the CEO of our lives, this looks like developing key goals for our future and charting a plan for growth. Who do we want to be in 5, 10, 20 years? How will we continue to develop and hone our superpowers to leave an even bigger mark on this earth?
Craft a personal development plan and take ownership of making your personal growth and improvement happen. Take action toward building your skills, knowledge, and abilities, and continue to build and grow your superpower. Intentionally create the life you really want to live and stay inspired knowing that the best is yet to come.
7) Building Your Resilience (resting, recharging, and re-engaging): As always, we must continue to keep our resilience reserves strong. We cannot create any of this change and impact in the world if we’re so emptied out we have nothing left to give.
Work to build in resilience routines and habits into your everyday rhythm and take a regular cadence of breaks and time away from the noise to re-center and reorient yourself with the life you long to create.
Read inspiring books that can re-ignite your passion, make time for deep conversations with a friend, get your body moving, and spend time outside in nature to reconnect to what matters most.
Engage in fun hobbies that spark joy and dive into your personal development plan to recharge your passion for your work and build up your superpowers.
Every bit of time invested in building your reserves will help you build that capacity for overflow and allow you to give even more to your work and those you love.
We have the power and capacity to do amazing things and we all have unique skills, gifts, and abilities that are so needed. If we step into a greater sense of ownership of those skills and abilities and commit to taking the reins on the life we’re building we can create so much more impact and meaning than we could have ever dreamed.
We must only create an intentional plan and work to set a clear vision for what’s ahead. When we’ve built a life around our deep passion and greatest strengths we will deliver excellence everyday.
Our teams and families are waiting for us to step into this greater sense of purpose and power. Let’s dive in to these seven key habits and sign on as the role of CEO of Our Lives today!