“I want to live a life of meaning. I don’t want to come to the end of my life and realize that I invested in all the wrong things…gave my life to the trivial many instead of the vital few.”
Greg McKeown’s best selling book “Essentialism” is, in a word, essential. Who do you know that isn’t struggling with how to determine the essential list of things to lend their focus? Most leaders I knew were having a hard time managing their priorities even before there was:
- Social media
- The internet
- Smart phones
The barrage of inputs is only making things worse. It is almost impossible to untether and focus. We used to feel really good if we could get leaders to just block a day, portion of a day, or a couple of hours per week to get some clear bandwidth. Get them to commit to a little bit of focus time to think strategically, work on their business (instead of in it) and make their highest contribution.
Turns out we were setting the bar really high. Some of today's thought leaders on focus are asking leaders to start with finding just 15 minutes a day for some focus time before they start their day.
It's kind of like Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University" first step of saving $1,000 for a rainy day fund that you will not touch. That fund doesn’t really address the financial issues people are facing, but if they can at least find some small measure of success, some sense of accomplishment in the right direction, all the other steps will become realizable.
Maybe 15 minutes a day of solitude is the necessary first step toward real freedom.
Greg has three beautiful questions that help you arrive at the small intersection of all the things you should be doing. He asks leaders to answer:
- What do I feel deeply inspired by?
- What am I practically talented at?
- What meets a significant need in the world right now?
The areas where all three of the answers to these questions collide is a strong clue into you finding clarity and purpose for your life. Any answer that shows up in each of these three questions will be a pretty great place to be spending your time.
The great thing about spending time in this space is that it provides fuel for all the others. The energy and momentum of working in the areas of your highest contribution (where talents and passion collide), is actually additive to your bandwidth instead of dilutive. It not only invigorates you and makes a difference, but also produces more of the necessary joules to get everything else done.
Why wouldn’t you forsake everything else to purchase the field where this great treasure is buried?
What else could produce a bigger return on your investment for you and for everyone else? It is the source of your highest Kingdom contribution.
Maybe your purpose involves adoption issues, human trafficking, or fending for others that are marginalized in our cities. Maybe you are drawn to the leadership focus of helping others find greater success. Whatever you were created for is essential and needed by the rest of us.
“Don't cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you've got.”
You could probably discern what my calling is at this point; it is helping individuals and organizations find the irreplaceable role they were created to play in the larger story of God. I get to live in that space every day and enjoy the clarity, freedom, and momentum that businesses and individuals find.
- Why do you exist?
- What is the purpose of your life, your family, or the business you lead?
- Are you clear on your highest contribution? (Our Lifeplan retreat is where I got clarity on this and it can help you as well.)
- Want to know more about how powerful this can be for your business? Let me know. It is my favorite thing to talk about!