You can’t impassion others about their work unless and until you’re impassioned about yours. Creating leadership energy is an inside job. The spark that ignites the leadership energy you bring to your team or organization comes from within you. But you can’t give energy if you don’t have it. And it’s hard to fake what you don’t feel. That will cause you to resent your job and eventually the people associated with it. It also sends everyone’s increasingly sensitive “Phony Meters” over the red line. All of this drains even more of your energy and makes your work truly work.
Have You Got Work, or Has Your Work Got You?
If you’re going to be an effective energy leader, then your work can’t be work. You need a job that isn’t a job, it’s a joy. When you love what you’re doing, you never have to go to work again. If I didn’t love the personal and organization improvement field, I wouldn’t study, note, and file hundreds of books and magazines each year. I won’t produce the dozens of columns and articles I’ve written. If it were truly work, you couldn’t pay me enough to disrupt our family life and invest the huge amount of time and fussy detailed work involved in writing books. If I didn’t love designing and delivering improvement workshops or speaking at meetings and conventions, travelling to, and standing in front of, yet another group would be true drudgery.
I am often asked how I develop the discipline to research, prepare, write etc. What discipline? That’s assuming I have to force myself to do this work. On the contrary, my problem is disciplining myself to not let my work completely take over my life. That’s because my work is highly aligned with my life purpose, vision, and values. So I am not working today, I am using this day to move one step closer to fulfilling a major part of why I exist.
You need to either find the work you love, or learn to love the work you have. Get passionate or get out. This is where many “wanna-be leaders” succumb to the Victimitis Virus. “How can I do my life work when I am working flat out just to pay the bills now?”, they sniffle. Well, if you’re current job isn’t energizing you so you can energize and lead others, you have four choices
- Do nothing but wish for your fairy job mother to magically appear and straighten out your life;
- Get out of management so you stop dragging others down to your low energy level;
- Figure out what your personal vision, values, and purpose are and transform your current job into your life work;
- Figure out what your ideal job is and go find or create it.
The good news is you can find or create your ideal job. The bad news is, if you haven’t done much thinking in this area already, it takes a lot of hard, agonizing work to figure out where you want to go and why. Then the real time consuming and most difficult effort is transforming yourself into that person, developing the skills you need, capitalizing on and creating your opportunities to move forward.