Ever thought about what is most important in your world? In business, leaders often don’t spend too much time thinking about what is truly important. We talk about ‘Killer Strategies’ and ‘BHAG’s (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). We talk about shareholder value generation, productivity, customer satisfaction and cost control. I know because I talk about it on a regular basis.
What we don’t often talk or obsess about though is what is the long game we are playing? How are we going to create something that lasts beyond us. We don’t spend time thinking about the value we need to create for our people – how their lives are going to be better for the long term.
As individual high performers we rarely think about what kind of legacy we are going to leave. How we are going to make the lives of the people that care about us (our families and friends) full of love.
Last month I was on a speaking trip. The first stop was in Calgary, where I spoke to an amazing group of people that spend their work lives supporting high performing business leaders across Canada. My next stop was in Edmonton – a mere 45-minute commuter flight North.
The flight left Calgary on time.
As we were on final approach into Edmonton the plane was being tossed around like a child’s toy – I have been a pilot for over 40 years and have flown over a million miles commercially and I have never experienced turbulence like that. One of the flight attendants ran up the aisle and past where I was sitting and threw herself into her jump seat at the front of the plane. She looked scared. As a pilot, I was not worried as I know airplanes are built to withstand more G-Forces than people are.
I had my headphones on and was listening to some music (rare for me as I am normally listening to a book). The song that was on was “Somewhere over the rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. Then, without warning, our plane was hit by lightning! The entire interior lit up like the sun and the boom… was deafening (even through my noise cancelling headphones). The flight attendant screamed. Everyone else on the plane screamed at the same time. Weirdly, I sat there completely calm and at peace. Maybe it was the irony of the song I was listening to. Perhaps it was all my time in a cockpit. But one thing I did consciously realize was that I was at peace.
We aborted the landing and after circling the Edmonton airport for another hour, we headed back to Calgary to wait out the thunderstorm and get a new airplane. On our way back, I couldn’t help notice how people were. Some sat in silence. Some were crying. A gentleman across from me rocked back and forth and prayed out load for an hour and a half.
I was at peace. I started think about why that was. The best that I could come up with was that I have lived my life by my values set and my why. I have loved everyone in ‘my world’ without judgement (even though I slip here every once and while by jumping to judgement until my brilliant wife gently reminds that I am doing it).
What if you hit by lightning tomorrow? (Hopefully not literally). Are living authentically within who you are, what you believe in and within your purpose? Are you creating something bigger than yourself in your personal and professional life? If you are answering “Yes”, would those that care about you the most agree with that? What blind spots do you have that, if corrected, would bring you more love, happiness, health, success (however you define that) and peace?
Don’t wait until you have a life changing event (we will all face a life changing event someday) to be what I call “100%”.
100% aligned with the best version of yourself.