I talk about receptive and expressive intelligence, which I call CQ™. This also means having an inner CQ™ dialogue with yourself. What are you working/playing towards? I constantly have to remind myself of these questions.
This has been one of the busiest periods in my life but I adore my work because, to me, it is a form of play, I know, however, some people see my drive as rather strange.
I recently left a late conference with a particularly energetic client and they were shocked that I still had a 7PM meeting, and then a dinner one after that. They asked me, half-joking, “How do you keep going?”
I gave that question some thought and realized: I keep going because I want to. I am much too stubborn to do otherwise.
I assume most of us are hungry for play, but with many of us there is a greater pull to identify what we really love to do. In my case, creating is really playing in the end. If you are unsure how to frame an inner dialogue about your own self drive, that’s okay. Perhaps the following will help you convince your inner slacker that she’ll find greater joy if you both just keep going. However, these will only be helpful once you know what work you do that is really your play:
- Understand Your Motivation: Why are you driving hard? Why are you stuck? What is your vision? Where is your ego within this vision? If you don’t know, perhaps consider doing one of the oldest coaching techniques around – create your own vision board. It might sound ‘woo woo,’ but why not try it? I was surprised the first time I did this, as it was very difficult. It isn’t easy to choose which picture out of a magazine makes sense to your inner workings. Also, open your heart. Another rather ‘quirky’ statement but with ancient foundations. When I am only driving from my head I exhaust myself quickly. When I remember to drive from my gut and heart, it becomes effortless. I’ve worked with several coaches on this over the years because it is so easy to forget. My first coach was my beloved Nanny in Zimbabwe. She would constantly poke me in the ribs when I spoke from my head and told me I sounded ridiculous. This soon prompted more truthful statements.
- Delegation: Do you delegate well? Do you have good talent to delegate to? If you’re as gifted as I am to have such a multi-talented, proactive team, than you know how important delegation is. Handing over tasks to others frees up more time for you to do the work you most love. If you turn this into a learning experience for them, behave graciously, and let them know your clear expectations of the task, show an example of similar work if necessary and that their work is appreciated than delegation can become a positive for both of you.
- Inspiring Your Team: Nobody wants to work as part of an unmotivated team and lots of ink has been spilled on how to cleanse people of their lethargy. Instead of putting out fires, stop the problem before it starts by leading from the front. Be working, and visible, and your employees will see it. Let them know that their work is contributing to a cause their direct report or CEO earnestly believes in. They’ll appreciate playing their own part to build something worthwhile.
- Momentum: It’s so much easier to maintain some momentum instead of overcoming inertia. (Anyone who’s tried to train for a marathon can attest to that). Once you have your goal in sight, just remember that you’ll probably reach it faster if you keep at it and remain productive. Stopping prematurely only ensures you’ll waste extra time getting back up to speed.
- Purpose: Working towards something instills us with a powerful vitality. That is only truer as we shake off our brain’s whispers for a break. Remember that all your work is feeding that sense of purpose, whether it takes place during 9 to 5, burning the midnight oil, or that five minutes it took to correct something in the elevator or rest room. It’s all part of the same eventual accomplishment.
- Truthful Energy: Ultimately, what we all need is greater happiness, but we keep checking the same depleted sources. I urge you not to burn yourself out. Find the balance required for a healthy and happier state of mind. I never forget my family or friends and have made a rule not to work with – let alone wine and dine with – any clients I don’t resonate with. It isn’t worth it. If you have found your balance don’t sell yourself short for the brief, insubstantial pleasure of your soft bed or favorite meal. It is nothing compared to the supreme joy of having created something you believe in, even if it is still a work, or play, in progress.
I hope you find this of some use.