I seem to be wondering and wandering a bit, but then again, who isn't? Are we not all on a path of some sort? Do you know the end? Do we know the next minute? Of course not. To know that we would need to be omniscient and all knowing. God. To think that we are in control of that is just arrogance or ignorance.
Recently I have been rethinking life and things that are filling up life. I have been thinking about things that add up to life, and whether those things comprise a life, or a lifetime. If this were a true life resume, what would it say? What purpose have I fulfilled, and what purpose is yet to be fulfilled?
Over the course of my career as a corporate writer, communicator and corporate planner, I spent the majority of my time expressing purpose or translating purpose so that others could see it too. My first conscious pass with purpose was with an organization that called it "raison d'etre".
To work with purpose, for purpose has been my personal mantra. Some organizations might even use this description, but trust me, I said it way back in 2000 in a crowded room of my peers. I was inspired to create my own vision of what my work should be about.
I described a "place" where every person is the CEO of his or her own life. CEO stands for creative, entrepreneurial and optimistic in my world. I said that in this place, there would be no "no", only "how". It said that vision does not necessarily come from the promoted, but from the inspired.
I looked to Erik Weihenmeyer who climbed Mount Everest. He is a blind man whose vision inspired others to support and join him. I said "we" would work with purpose, for purpose. After all the words had fallen from my finger tips, I titled the presentation "Lynear Thinking". That moment, my personal philosophy on work and life had become the guide for my own trek up the mountain.
I set out a path to be the `best` writer I could be so I worked really hard at it, and I won awards. People seemed to like the work. Then I wanted to became the best corporate planner I could be. I studied, learned and worked to be really good at helping executives climb the corporate hill of what`s next. I have moved about 200 board members and executives up a hill and gotten them to the end every single time, with a business plan in hand and written countless words about what it all means.
I later expanded on this rendition of "Lynear Thinking" at a Queen`s School of Business Leadership course. There I learned that being good, in fact great, at something is not enough. I am not enough by myself. That it takes a team - a community if you will - to climb mountains. I committed to finding out what makes a good leader and to be the best leader I could be. And then I worked at that. I took the courses. I read the books. I watched the masters, or at least who I thought they were.
But mostly I listened, watched and paid attention to how people responded to the way they were being treated. I was inspired by people who led and lived with integrity, passion and compassion. Some were my CEO`s and mentors at work, others were my teachers - my family, my co-workers, people who were my employees and my friends. Collectively they taught me that leaders stand up when others will not. Leaders speak out when others are afraid. Leaders take the high road, even if it hurts. But leaders learn to land.
I climbed up the corporate mountain, all the way to the top, moving from camp to camp, until I reached the promised land. I had the office and the name plate to prove it. I wanted to be `that`leader whom I had learned about.
On the way up the mountain, the air becomes thinner. I realized that glory was not found in the act of standing at the pinnacle of this mountain, but in the art of stepping off when it was right to do so and learning to land in tact.
I landed in tact. In fact, I landed more in tact than when I stepped off, because when I took the step for the right reasons, I took the high road.
I am not alone. I meet people every day who were choking in thin air and who left in search of a better mountain to climb. Some say they miss the pay cheque, but not the lines in their foreheads. They smile, effortlessly, even if they are terrified, because they have good air quality.
I admire these people, because I believe their mountain top will be a better one. They are the leaders that spoke out and up, and who took the high road, and learned to land.
I would say that that my purpose, to be the CEO of my life, has proven to be the resume of my experience and the way ahead. I took the road less travelled most times, but I can breathe, and I can smile.