by Laurie McCaw, McCaw Coaching and Consulting
Six months ago, after a ten year run, I left the job of my dreams. It was one of the hardest decisions I would ever make. After all, who in their “right mind” leaves a good job in this economy? I did. So you might be wondering – why?
While I loved my work, there were a few things gnawing at me. First, I had become overly comfortable in my position. Somehow, I had lost my “edge” and my sense of purpose. Second, I felt that my vision of my authentic self had blurred out of focus. As nonprofit leaders, we are challenged everyday with bringing innovation, resources and impact to the table. As leaders and promoters of social change, we are continually being tasked to ask vital questions and deliver the proverbial “goods”. The thing was…while it’s hard to admit … I noticed that people really weren’t paying close attention to what I was saying. I mean, I knew that my work was still bringing results. Yet, I just wasn’t getting the type of traction that was necessary – for my own sense of high performance. I discovered that the further I drifted from my authentic self and what I perceived as my real purpose, the more I struggled to bring innovation and solutions into my organization. My years of experience taught me that one of the most powerful tools in attracting new business and opportunities was speaking MY purpose and sharing it with others.
And that’s when I decided a shift was needed. I asked myself the hard question: what was it going to take for me to find what the universe was calling me to do at a higher, yet to be discovered level? I needed to give myself permission to rediscover my authentic self. After pledging my life and career to bringing services to underserved populations, accepting my own mediocrity wasn’t enough. I needed to re-learn how to show up, as my authentic self, and regain my connection with self-empowerment and self-knowledge.
So, the question is…how DOES a leader continue to fuel their creativity and innovation, consistently pushing the status quo and bringing the goods? I absolutely don’t proclaim to have all the answers. However, you can take a moment to invest in yourself by looking inward and asking “how is my energy staying robust? Is it being fueled by the needs of others, or, is it a reflection of my purpose and my authentic self”? If you find your energy decreasing, it may be an important clue that you’re not in alignment with your own goals, your personal mission, your purpose, or your authentic self.
I’ve learned that purpose and alignment IS one of the answers to high performance, innovation and creativity. What defines me as a leader now and in the future is investing in myself abundantly so that I can continue to be of service in a way that brings solid intention, vision and impact.
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