As leaders, it’s our job to inspire and cultivate a culture where big questions linger and cause creative, reflecting thought. I had a moment earlier this week that left me ignited by a million swirling opportunities.
I had a sit-down with a few of our newest interns at Ewald Consulting. Being just over 6 months old at Ewald, I listened (and giggled) as David Ewald shared humorous stories and anecdotes in what can only be described as, “newbie training.” Most of the 45-minutes around the round-table focused on company history, until one sentence was stated that transported me back to an afternoon with Jim Ericson, the former CEO of Minnesota’s own, Master’s forum. I wrote about Jim not too long ago for Pollen.
“You want real success? Dump the strategy and focus on honor.” – Jim Ericson
Jim has always had wit and grit, weaving stories and truths together to help inspire organizations and humans to become better both in work and life.
David quieted the room as he mentioned that Ewald was taking a deep dive into the eternal abyss, (or as I’ve often referred to it as- “Finding a Mission Statement.”) David wanted Ewald’s statement to be simple, but profound. Everyone stopped taking notes and looked up when he said, “I once heard the best mission statement of all time.” (If you know David, this will only be followed up by literally THE BEST STATEMENT OF ALL TIME.) He doesn’t use words lightly.
His preliminary thoughts were followed by, “It’s not WHAT you do as a company. It’s WHY you do it.” I said out loud, “Exactly!” We were quiet, and thoughtful.
I drove home with my mind firmly on the future. What a perfect personal mission statement- it’s not what I do, it’s WHY I choose that path. It reflected so much what I’ve wanted to say. It was both simple and direct.
I’ve been struggling the past few months with a deep want to do MORE. I’m a bit of a mixed-breed in my professional world. Ghostwriter. Public Relations Professional. Marketer. Baker of company potluck treats. Hopeful room brightener.
In wanting to find perfection, I’ve often found opportunity. And to an over-zealous grow-orientated, first-strength activator- opportunity only breeds opportunity. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with possibility and want to plant every seed of possibility all at once. Time, is of the essence in my brain. As multiple-time cancer survivor, I often want everything sooner than later. I don’t know the future- I only know today.
This thought- the idea that it wasn’t what I did, whether marketing or leading strategy- helped give me peace. It’s WHY I do it. For my clients, (whether the ones I serve at Ewald,) or on my own, only the WHY matters. It truly dictates my success. Leading with my heart has never failed me- not once.
This phrase to me, simplifies my want to live out loud; letting my purpose light the way. Inspiration can come in the most ordinary of circumstances. I think I’ve got a great story for Jim, and another one for my mental Rolodex.