A while back, I had the pleasure of hearing Bill Taylor of FastCompany Magazine speak and moderate a leadership summit. Bill suggests that we each should have a sentence—that one sentence that describes your reason to exist. I have always thought of that as my vision or purpose or “BHAG” (big hairy audacious goal) or north star, or my guiding star or my “yonder star.”
Just Out of Reach
At any rate, that sentence states a vision that is going to always
be out in front. It’s not really achievable, some would say. Or perhaps it’s that the sentence describes work that will never be completed; even if you have success along the way. Such is the case for me. I had settled on my sentence years before hearing Bill speak, but his presentation gave me a reason to re-analyze my sentence to see if it met his criteria. In my eyes, it does.
“I am creating a better world one leader at a time.”
Certainly, that is a very large undertaking! I harbor no illusions that my work will one day be done. Obviously I am not the right coach for every leader. Of course, there is also an unending supply of leaders as well. So the work will go on long after I am gone.
The Best Job
I sometimes will confide to friends that I have the best job on the face of the earth. And jokingly, I will sometimes ask people to, “Keep that a secret. I have enough competition as it is!” Often I feel it is unfathomable that I actually get paid to do what I do. Frankly, there is enough work in this area for legions of business coaches and mentors. So I’m obviously not serious about keeping it a secret.
Clearly, I find mentoring to be highly rewarding work. I’m willing to spend lots of time not only doing the work but continually striving to be better. That too, continuous improvement, is a never-ending job. And that’s fine with me because I love the continuing education required for my certifications. At this time, certification as a coach isn’t really required to do the work. However, it is a way for me to continue, in a semi-formal manner, to sharpen the saw. So I spend many days out of each year meeting the requirements.
Some large companies do require certifications. More may do so in the future. They are trying to ensure that when they hire a coach for their leaders, the coach at least meets some minimum standard of proficiency. For me, though, the end goal isn’t the certification. It is mastering my profession.
What’s Your Sentence?
My wife often asks, “What makes your heart sing?” I like that a lot. And she is a very accomplished singer. So of course, it rings true to her.
For my part, I will sometimes ask leaders, “What gets you up and out of the house in the morning?” What are you doing when time goes by so quickly that you totally lose track? When are you so focused that there seems to be no other human being in the world?
Here’s a thought: see if you can identify what makes YOUR heart sing. Then compose that one sentence that will be your guiding light going forward. Share it with everyone you can. Use it to set priorities for what you do with your time. Most of all, make sure it is your sentence and not something you think you’re supposed to do or be.