Leading with Meaning: Five 30-Day Challenge Ideas

Mina Simhai and Catherine Flavin

Download the    30-Day Skill Building Challenge Worksheet    to deliberately practice.

Download the 30-Day Skill Building Challenge Worksheet to deliberately practice.

We focused on meaning because one of the fundamental pieces of LeaderMom counsel from our panel is around doing what really matters, professionally and personally. And we advocate disciplined practices to determine that. If you watched the webinar, great! And know that understanding the power of meaning is not enough. The next step is to deliberately practice that skill until it becomes a habit. Here are 5 ideas for how to increase your focus on meaning with micro-investments of time and energy. To increase the likelihood that you will do them, consider linking your thirty day challenge to an existing habit -- e.g., morning tea or coffee, brushing your teeth, showering, pulling into the train station, riding the subway, planking, whatever. This means no additional time in your day. Of course, let us know if you come up with something better, and feel very free to adapt these.

  1. Add a prospective question as you review your task list and calendar. "What activity or connection today will be most meaningful today?" or "What will give me the greatest sense of purpose?"

  2. Add a reflective question to the end of your whole day: "What turned out to be the 2 or 3 meaningful moments today at work and at home?"

  3. At dinner, notice the way you describe your work day to your spouse/partner/kids/friends. Do you focus on what matters or on the hassles? Ask for feedback from others too.

  4. Once in each meeting you convene or attend -- e.g., a story at the start, at moments of boredom, to summarize at the close -- ask a question that brings you and others back to meaning. "Why does this meeting matter?" or "What was the most meaningful part of this meeting?"

  5.  Use these questions to identify how you can job craft at home and then 30-day challenge to actually execute your ideas.

    • Identify the top 3-5 things that are most meaningful to you when it comes to your family.

    • Now identify the 3-5 things at home that take up most of your energy in a typical week.

    • Identify where the meaning-to-energy alignment is strong and where there are misalignments.

    • Each day, complete this sentence: "To be 3% more aligned on meaning and where my energy goes at home, today I will _______"

With 2 to 10 minutes, after 30-days, you will have the beginnings of a new neural pathway. You might find yourself protecting good habits, delegating to others, letting go of energy-sucks, or putting new habits in place. Keep track of what you end up doing and the benefits on the 30-day challenge worksheet. By writing a few notes down, it helps to reinforce the gains. And it convinces your brain is okay to change and then expedites the process of developing new habits that supports happiness and engagement at work.

Kaitlin Hershey