In the early hours of dawn, I wrap my hands around a warm cup of coffee and enjoy a few peaceful minutes to myself. It is in these quiet moments that I am able to pause, and envision what I want to create in this day – and in the days to come. At the start of each year, I carve out a few days to create my visions and set my intentions for the coming year – in my work and in my relationships. On a morning like this, I feel reconnected to this ritual.
The primary definition of create is “to bring into existence.” As leaders, we are called to create every day in big and small ways, because creating is an essential act of leadership. Just as we must consider where we are leading our organization and teams, we must also ask what we are creating in the process.
Over the last two years, I’ve worked with many clients to help them become more intentional in the work of creating. In order to create the life and leadership we want, we must be clear on the impact we seek. What are the most important results we need to create? What is the most important work we are here to do? What is the legacy I wish to leave behind? Without intention, we limit our ability to create and instead simply support what is already in place. Reconnecting with our vision fortifies us and reinvigorates the energy required to see change through.
As leaders, it can feel daunting to put a new business model in place, or to create a future that enables different results. And, it is easy to succumb to the every day demands and tasks that fill our time, take our energy and our attention.
The secret of change is to focus your energy not in fighting the old but creating the new.
– Gymnast Dan Millman, “Way of the Peaceful Warrior”
I have a good friend and former client who recently left a corporate leadership role after 25 years inside a large institution. He has chosen a new path of running a large non-profit whose focus is on the well-being of people and communities. At the heart of this new work is creating, with intention, a new model for the organization. He is working to build higher levels of operational excellence on his team in service of greater impact in the community. All the while, he is reinventing his own leadership style. His work requires creating something new with intent toward his desired impact versus simply repeating what is already in existence.
This is the work of leaders: To reflect on what is, envision what can be, and then create it. The power of creating with intention invokes our best thinking and that in turn informs our best actions.
Consider: What is it you wish to create?