Life often feels like we’re just swimming in the shallows—moving from one thing to the next based on obligations or habits. You might find yourself in meetings or in conversations with people thinking to yourself, “Why am I here?”
Here’s the answer: you’re there because you’re letting yourself be just another noodle in the noodle soup rather than the cook.
As leaders, it’s all too easy to spend a day lost in the details. We’re roped into conversations, managing crises, embroiled in conflicts, and reacting to urgent—but not necessarily important, productive, or affirming—activities.
This is true at work, at home, and especially during times of added stress like the holidays.
Deep down, you know that your very best days are the ones where you feel like, instead of just spinning on the hamster wheel or talking in circles all day long, you really did something: you made a difference, you acted according to your values, and you felt you completed something meaningful. That’s what energizes us!
While not every day can be quite so profound, it’s good to take stock now and then of what’s currently filling your time and what changes you could make heading into a new year to ensure you’re serving your greater purpose more days than not.
Here are some questions to reflect on:
- Think of the last day when you felt truly fulfilled and energized at work. What happened that day that made you feel that way? Alternately, think of a day recently when you felt drained. What did your day consist of that led to that feeling?
- What are the conversations or projects you get sucked into that become draining or that drag you in a direction you don’t find fruitful?
- What conversations aren’t being had that could be enlightening for everybody involved if you were to have them?
- What long-term habits keep you engaged with people who no longer fit or serve your greater purpose? Alternatively, what new habits could you add to your daily routine to add more meaning?
- What fears or insecurities keep you from being with people or working on projects that feel more nourishing to your growth?
At the end of the day, when you find yourself being “just another noodle in the noodle soup,” ask yourself: What changes do I need to make sure I’m leading a life of purpose and meaning?
A new year is about to begin. Let’s kick it off by purposefully having the right conversations, working on the right projects, and engaging with the right people, so 2023 can be that much more meaningful.