Presence Over Production
I am learning to value presence over production; I am learning that who I am should take precedence over what I do. Focusing on what I do is far easier that focusing on the type of person I am. I can control my actions and easily measure completed tasks. I call a day successful based on how much I got done. Good days and bad days can be graded on a sliding scale of unproductive to productive. This helps me measure how successful I am at work. How many tasks did I complete on behalf of my organization? But these types of evaluations are not an accurate way to value the contributions we make in life. Who we are is so much more important than what we accomplish. This is true in personal and professional life and especially true for those with leadership responsibilities. Our lives lose meaning when driven by simple productivity.
Many of us confuse the relationship of presence and production. Who you are should drive what you do; not the other way around. You, as a leader, stay on task when you are driven by vision. When tasks and due dates begin to shape your calendar then you have lost your way. Your imagination has been captured in minutia and your vision will follow. You will create busy work for others and sap the life out of your organization. The only sense of importance will be stolen from the tasks you complete and your field of vision will decrease with each passing day. You will become blind to your own purpose and fade away.
Our work is meaningful when we are driven by who we are.
The ability to self-identify is the first step of meaningful work. There is no task that can give your life meaning. A meaningful life creates meaningful tasks. Defining a series of virtues will give shape to your work. They are the foundational elements for your vision and the fuel for your leadership engine. Knowing what you value will help you determine what is, and is not, important. Saying yes and no become easy when you know who you are.
Change the way you work by focusing on your presence.
Reinforce who you are in meetings, in emails, and over the phone. Be wholly present with those around you. This is how you inspire and lead others. Few people admire your ability to complete a task list; heroes are not defined in this way. Visionaries are contagious people who spread their own set of values because they knew who they were and acted like it.