When I launched Impact2Lead in the winter of 2013, it was the result of passion, experiences, relationships, successes and failures all colliding with one another. The Impact vision is simply this; “To help individuals and organizations unleash potential through impactful leadership”. That was and still is the driving force behind my obsession to make things better.
Creativity for me came easy, it seemed I could write a blog a day on transformational leadership.
Then along came the opportunity to lead an organization and put the impact model clearly on display. As the CEO of Johnson Health Center, I get to do what I preach each and every day and I enjoy it. I like to see the fruits of our labor, all the efforts of people coming together and stretching beyond what they think is possible. It is rewarding to hear staff proclaim that “we” can do this.
However one thing I have learned along my own journey in this demanding leadership role is you have to be extra disciplined to not lose your creative focus.
The very focus that you need to transform a culture is easy to lose in the day-to-day grind of running a company. You have ultimate responsibility for customers, employees, business deliverables, compliance…the list goes on.
For me, I found myself putting my creative focus on hold. It became harder and harder to think through the clutter in my brain. It became easier to postpone readings of my favorite leadership gurus, easier for me to say I will write something when it hits me, and easier to plow through numerous emails on weekends – many of which simply needed deleting.
In the last couple of weeks, I have reconnected with my inspiration. I have stopped for a second to breathe and think. I have looked back at this past year and marveled at the progress made at Johnson Health Center. I have come to realize in order to maintain a strong and inspirational position of leadership, you have to take time out and spend quality time with yourself – to recharge the creative focus.
On my way back from a one-day leadership workshop I led recently, my wife drove while I outlined the chapters in my first book I hope to write in the coming months. I have talked about this for the better part of a year now so handing her the keys and sitting in the passenger seat for a change was remarkably eye-opening. The ideas began to flow and wonderful ah-ha moments began to hit like old times.
Whether you are running a company, managing a department or leading your family, you will not be as successful if you don’t step away on a regular basis and catch your breath. I encourage you to try the following:
Each week, take one complete day off from your primary work and spend it your way if possible (I usually pick a Saturday or Sunday – your family will appreciate this).
If your place of employment allows it, work from home one or two days a month to clean up clutter without interruption.
Get away at least once a month where you can enjoy quality, quiet time to maintain your creative focus (may be simply going to the park or having someone drive you on a long ride).
Write down the ideas you have and look at them when things are quiet. Go back and review ideas/thoughts you had years ago – it is amazing what comes back to you and how that ignites inspiration.
It was 5:00 on a Friday afternoon when one of our front line employees stopped into my office. She asked me if I had ever felt I was meant for more (I could write an entire book on this one). I replied without hesitation a resounding yes. She said she had been feeling that herself and almost apologetically said she was not sure she could accomplish that where she is now. I was very inspired to hear this, especially coming off my recent refocusing revelation. The conversation lasted ten minutes but during this time, she spoke on being motivated by the transformed culture and where she could see the organization headed in the future – she just was unsure of her place. I asked her to think on what she wanted to do and the very fact she has the motivation herself to contribute more just cannot be taught.
She left my office and said she had a lot of good things to ponder over the weekend. This is the case of inspiration going both ways.
This exchange was a reminder to me that I cannot take time away from inspiring the very people who are responsible for our success. After all, the impact model is all about helping others unleash potential.
For all you leaders out there, take time to be creative. Reconnect with inspiration and remember, it does go both ways.