Monday, March 16, 2009

Burden? Or Purpose?

I was driving the other day, feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. Typical "woe is me" stuff. You know, feeling as though everything depended on me, and wondering whether this burden would ever end. Poor me.

Out of nowhere, something flashed into my mind. What if this isn't my burden?

What if it is my purpose?

What if every experience I've had, every part of my current life, every person who looks to me for assistance and guidance is here because that is the way things are supposed to be for me? I began to understand that I am here to be part of something, not to get away from everything.

This revelation was fascinating to me, since I've been in leadership positions for nearly my entire career. I never thought of this as a burden, although for years I've felt tremendous pressure to be successful at helping my teams and my companies achieve great things. Recently, I recognized that I actually was considering this a burden - something I had to endure.

The subtle shift in my frame of reference was a like a jolt of energy. I understood I'm here for a reason (or perhaps I was remembering something I once knew). That reason is to help others accomplish great things, and even many "good enough" things. I was given certain strengths - gifts, if you will - and it's up to me to use them.

That is at the core of what leaders ought to be doing.

Do you think of your team and your customers as burdens? Or are they an opportunity to explore and utilize your strengths?

Are they a source of growth for you? Or an energy drain?

They can be any one of these. It's your choice.