Let me ask you some questions that may be among the most important of your life and leadership. Do you believe in what you are doing?
I’m the first to understand that not all the jobs we hold, in every phase of our lives, are ones we deeply believe in and light us up with passion. However, one of the arts of life and leadership is to put the roles we hold into perspective so that they have meaning for us and draw from us our best.
The job you had at that burger joint in high school wasn’t supposed to make you feel like you had arrived in life. Yet if you saw it as a means of earning money for college or a car, if you knew you might learn some leadership skills or gain some discipline from it, perhaps this made you do the job with greater joy, with a larger measure of passion.
That first job after high school or college wasn’t all you dreamed you would ever do. You did it for experience, for money, and for the chance to serve well in hopes of eventually serving on a larger stage.
This is the way we stay motivated, focus on the lessons to be learned, and do our jobs with excellence. We identify what we believe to be true about our work. We serve as believers—in what we do, in how we do it, in the good it can do for others, in its intended imprint upon our own lives, and in its place in the trajectory of our careers.
So, let’s go back to my earlier question. Do you believe in what you do? Asked another way, what do you believe about what you do? Ask these questions of yourself. Talk to God about them. Discuss them with your spouse. Ask for the input of friends. As you do, keep this vital truth in mind: Every phase of your career has a purpose and makes a contribution to the broader architecture of your life.
Now, think of these same questions in terms of the people you lead. What are they hoping for? What do they envision for their lives? What do they hope this job will contribute to their gifts and to their careers?
You should ask yourself these questions because the answers can help you lead. Leadership is calling out the best in people. It is connecting the daily and the mundane to matters of destiny and ultimate purpose. When a man picks up a hammer in your firm, or a woman flips on her laptop or packs for a business trip, they should feel some sense of purpose beyond the immediate. It is your job to identify that purpose, to impart it, to motivate with it, and to celebrate it. It is your job to connect the immediate to the ultimate in a manner that builds a corporate culture of productive joy.
Do you believe in what you do? Do you know what you believe about what you do? Moreover, do you know what those you lead believe? Your leadership is built upon and measured by the answers to these questions.