Many people have a “survive the week” mentality. They drag themselves into work each morning with the goal of surviving the day. Work is drudgery to be endured between weekends. They leave work each day exhausted, not from having worked hard, but from the tedium and boredom of just surviving the day.
I remember a time in my life when work was not tedious or boring. Earlier in my career, I took a HUGE risk to accomplish something much bigger than I thought was possible. I was driven by a passionate desire to make a significant difference. It required a tremendous amount of time and energy, and I found myself exhausted at the end of each day. But this exhaustion was different than survival-mode exhaustion: it was the exhaustion of growth not drudgery.
What is the difference between growth and drudgery? VISION. People who are stuck in a “survive the week” mentality don’t see the big picture. They stumble through the week with low energy and a haphazard approach to their work. However, people with vision for long-term impact (or Leadership Legacy) approach their work with purpose, passion and energy.
A friend of mine demonstrates an extreme example of the power of vision. After reading that Toyota has a 500-year plan for their company, he decided to write a 500-year plan for his life. No, he isn’t planning to live for 500 years, but he is thinking about his influence on future generations. At work, he intentionally develops colleagues to be diligent, innovative and creative thinkers, who will in turn, develop the next generation of leaders. In his family life, he intentionally instills the character, integrity and values into his children that they will build into their children’s lives for generations.
For most people, a 500-year vision statement is too ambitious. However, thinking about your impact over the next year, five years or twenty years can transform your approach to work.
As you think about the rest of your week, consider your long-term impact. Perhaps you can help a colleague learn a new skill. Or you could solve a long-standing problem that has hindered your organization’s effectiveness. Or you could improve a process or product that you deliver.
Harness the power of vision to accomplish something bigger than yourself. Perhaps next weekend, you will wake up on Saturday morning knowing you did more than survive the week – you made the world a better place.