Recently, a sermonic challenge – “Chase Less After ‘More’ and More After ‘Less’” piqued my interest. I began to think about what this challenge means professionally in a world where career success is often measured by the number of zeroes after the comma, the name of the high-profile organization where one works, the number of people one has under management, the size and influence of one’s social network, the title of one’s job, the geographic location of one’s residence and more? Is the expectation to lower professional aspirations to meet the challenge? I don’t believe so. Rather, it’s a challenge to crystallize your life purpose and then bring into line behaviors and actions to support that purpose. Without focus, it’s easy to spread yourself thin trying to do many things with very little impact, rather than gaining a “laser-like” focus, mastering a few things and having significant impact in living unto your purpose.
Early in the year, you probably set professional goals and envisioned what success would look like at end of year. As you look back, answer these questions: Did you spend your time, talent and resources in the select few areas that resulted in significant results toward your professional goals? Did you spend an inordinate amount of time and resources on activities that yielded limited results toward accomplishing your professional goals? What could you have done more of, better or differently?
When considering the “Chase More After Less” concept, Pareto’s 80/20 Rule comes to mind – 20% of focused efforts on the right things yield 80% of your results. Knowing where to direct your efforts begins with crystalizing your purpose in life, defining career success in a way that is meaningful to you and staying focused along the way. I was born to help others. Applied to my career, I help others make sense of their professions, using my gift of administrative leadership to facilitate self-discovery, awareness and meaningful change. My purpose drives what I will or will not do, and how I allocate my time, talent and resources. When my efforts are off-purpose, I engage in numerous seemingly meaningful initiatives – and they are worthwhile causes, yet the end result is spending 80% of my available time on activities that yield 20% desired results in supporting my life purpose. Conversely, when I stay purpose-focused, the end results are greater achievement of goals, and a higher degree of personal satisfaction, renewed energy and peace of mind.
As you plan your professional goals this next year, I encourage you to zoom in on your purpose. Your purpose is the rudder that drives action. In Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, he states, “Without a purpose, life is motion without meaning, activity without direction, and events without reason.” Your purpose is the yardstick that helps you make decisions – set goals, determine what to do or not do, decide where to spend your time, drive the need for change and more. With a clear purpose, you can define what success looks like for you – not in comparison to others, but as related to your raison d’être – your “reason for being” in your profession. With that focus, you will “Chase Less After ‘More’ and More After ‘Less’” as your purpose drives your decisions.