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5 authentic actions to guide the significance of your life and career

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Lead Change is a leadership media destination with a unique editorial focus on driving change within organizations, teams, and individuals. Lead Change, a division of Weaving Influence, publishes twice monthly with SmartBrief. Today's post is by Mike Horne.

Remote work is here to stay. Over a year ago, more than half of US workers wanted a mix of home and office work, while UK employers expected a doubling of at-home workers in the post-pandemic environment. 

The growing pattern of remote work is similar in China -- Microsoft projected a 60-40 split between on-site and remote work within 10 years. Around the world, the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to blur the boundaries between life and career. 

Last year, Google’s chief innovation evangelist, Dr. Frederik G. Pferdt, said: “The pandemic has been a catalyst for transformation, giving people worldwide a chance to unleash their creativity and experiment with new ways to live, learn, work, and play.” Yet, inequities in work-from-home arrangements persist, contributing to an additional rationale for aligning your purpose and career. 

Decades of positive psychology research establishes the relationship between success, happiness and authenticity. People who successfully direct their career and purpose — and live an authentic life — engage in five practices throughout their careers that fuel their success.

Develop self-awareness

Self-aware people know who they are and how they relate to others. When a person is self-aware, their actions, emotions and thoughts are aligned. Self-aware people are easy to identify. They listen more than they talk, and they ask for feedback. They are curious, humble and treat themselves well. 

We recognize them as people who walk their talk. At times, we become so caught up in family and work that we neglect introspection and reflection time. When attitudes, behaviors and cognitions are aligned, confidence to express ideas increases. Self-aware leaders understand their motivations and are open to learning.

Let purpose thrive

Prosperous people engage in meaningful development by exploring the question of purpose. Purpose directs all of life’s significant activities. All are born with gifts that can be developed into talents applied in a range of human enterprises, including designing, coaching, teaching and mentoring. Purpose provides a compass in life, what some refer to as “true north.” 

Purpose provides meaning and drives action. Among authentic leaders, purpose emerges from activities that contribute to happiness. We achieve our purpose when the things we love become the things we do. A meaningful purpose connects you to others that demonstrate your unique strengths.

Be open and approachable 

People who are approachable have successful careers, likely a result of being likable and open to others. When we say hello and welcome others, we create what all of us want from others and in life: open communication, trust, progress, community and fun! 

Authentic leaders value diversity and work to create inclusion, belonging and equity. They make others feel comfortable and are intentionally open with their body posture. They make eye contact and smile. Self-aware leaders don’t find new ideas or people intimidating or scary. Instead, they demonstrate openness. 

When you meet someone who expresses genuine interest, you’re likely encountering a person generating success.

Establish connections

Directing and growing the significance of a career requires the development of meaningful connections. Connecting with others ties us to a higher purpose and, in turn, increases self-esteem. When we connect with others, we recognize the inherent worth of the individual and honor their dignity. That brings us closer to creating relationships based on trust, where all feel safe to express opinions and contribute to progress and goal attainment. 

Healthy habits help to build resilience that can nurture close relationships with others. People cannot be authentic on their own because authenticity is defined by how others see us. Authentic leaders develop relationships that invite and include others to contribute meaningfully.

Stop worrying 

A key to developing an authentic life and career is acknowledging our strengths and shortcomings while working on self-acceptance. When we possess a positive outlook and surround ourselves with other positive people, we increase our capacity to involve others in action.

Developing career and life significance is based on understanding others and not holding back on taking initiative. We risk leading a meaningful and purposeful life when we worry. Worrying can derail progress, making it necessary to understand the concerns that limit growth, development and success. Authenticity cannot be a cover-up to hearing feedback and channeling it to improvement strategies. 

When we worry less, we open the doors for change, development, and growth. 

There’s a quote published by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. of unknown origin:  “20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” Leading an authentic life requires that we guide the significance of our careers today. 

How are you directing your significance?

 

Mike Horne is a visionary advisor, leader and partner to those working on complex people, group, and organizational challenges. He opens doors for people to be and do their best. As a changemaker, Horne works with a deep sense of confidence and dedication. He is the author of “Integrity by Design: Working and Living Authentically” and the host of the Authentic Change Podcast.

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