In the first column of this series I talked about shifting your culture's mindset from "j.o.b.s" to "callings" and tapping into purpose to energize, fuel, and bring out the best in your people. In part 2, I talked about shifting your culture to a healthy mindset of collaboration and competition. This week I'm talking about the most important thing you have in an employee: their personal level of accountability and nourishment. In order to innovate into 2020 (starting yesterday) we must cultivate a culture that allows for, and inspires, a greater level of accountability and nourishment than ever before. Our future literally depends on it.
While "busy" and "burnout" seem to be a crazy badge of honor our culture has bestowed upon itself, it won't cut it in the long haul. For us to make stuff that humms and to keep up with ourselves, we need to do it differently. It's not about cutting what we're doing (in fact I believe we can do more), but rather optimizing a mindset of accountability and putting a higher priority on personal nourishment so we have the energy and bandwidth to do even more amazing stuff.
Enhancing a state of accountability. When I talk about accountability, I'm referring to one's level of ownership for their lives and impact and the results they create. One's mindset that they are the author of their own life, they drive, their choices have impact, and they can choose to lead and create and happen TO their lives (no matter how difficult or crappy something may be), or they can choose to let things happen, stay in their "story", blame others, hope for things to change, or for someone else to fix it. This is not leadership. We want to shift to a mindset of accountability which boils down to awareness, ownership, and 10 questions.
First, the awareness. This can be tender viddles to own up to, however completely liberating if allowed. We're always having an impact. Our choices have impact. The results we are experiencing right now in our lives are an outcome of the decisions we've made. So the trick, when feeling powerless or frustrated or a victim to the organization or your results (or anything really) is to first notice it; to allow for the emotion of it, the disappointment, the frustration, even the powerlessness, and then to explore your role in all of it, and how you might shift the situation.
Addressing any or all of these 10 questions can be a game changer: How am I contributing to this? (Or how did I contribute to it?) What can I learn? What do I want instead? What's my request or suggestion? What do I want to make happen? How can I move this forward? Who do I need to partner with to make it happen? How will I need to show up? Where do I need to take more accountability? Where've I been coasting and where do I need to lead? These are all questions that point to a new level of leadership and accountability. Pick one, pick all, do it with love and care, and see what unfolds.
Cultivating personal nourishment. When I talk about nourishment I am talking about self-care in every sense of the word; physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and any other way that resonates for you. The whole notion of "I'll sleep when I'm dead" or as I saw on a bumper sticker yesterday "Sleeping is for sissies" is only creating burnout, frustration, and resentmen — not optimized results. As you are an instrument of change (and the only one you've got), being busy, exhausted, depleted, running on fumes, and grouchy will serve no one, let alone your creativity, mission, and impact, so buckle up. It's time to put personal nourishment at the top of the priority list.
Listen to your body. Eat well, sleep well, create time for white space, take care of your physical body, get your doctor's appointments in, surround yourself with life-giving friendships and relationships (not exhausters and drainers), take a day off, manage your calendar more intentionally, say "yes" and "no" with intention, drink less alcohol, watch less TV, guard your emotional space, be picky about who you "let in", stay connected to purpose, take time for inspiration, do things you love, honor your intuition, live. These are all in the territory of personal nourishment — create yours.
I'm one of those people who truly believe you can create what you want, you might just have to really work for it, it might look a bit different than you originally envisioned, and most importantly, you better be sure you REALLY want it in the first place (and for the right reasons). Tackling accountability and personal nourishment are essential to getting you there. Are you ready?