As leaders we have a unique opportunity to inspire other humans beyond what they do in the day-to-day...
In 1961 JFK visited NASA. While there he asked a cleaner 'What are you doing?'
The cleaner replied, 'I'm helping put a man on the moon'.
In that moment, the cleaner was actually just sweeping the floor. But in his mind and his heart (the things that dictate human happiness and discretionary effort), he was part of something bigger that was exciting and meaningful.
In your day to day life, you might feel like this often, or rarely, or something in-between. Think of a time when you felt it - it could be today, yesterday or years ago. If you imagined you were a fly on the wall observing yourself in that moment, it no doubt would look like you were just doing an activity, like sweeping the floor. On the inside though, you FELT different. As humans, it is the meaning we ascribe to those everyday small tasks that dictates what we FEEL about doing them in the moment.
As a leader you have the power to change the way people FEEL about what they do by connecting them to something much bigger. You also have the power to keep yourself and your teams where they are, focused on sweeping the floor, by limiting those moments to something much, much smaller.
It starts with you.
You may be responsible for many things as a leader, from delivering on the bottom line to dealing with shareholders; but as a leader of humans you have an important opportunity to connect people on a human level to the meaning of their day-to-day activity. All humans are deeply affected by emotion, consciously or subconsiously. Are you inspiring the humans around you to connect to a vision that has meaning and takes them beyond the moment? Or are you limiting the meaning they take from their work by keeping it focused on the small? The choice is yours.
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