On Purpose

We live in a divided world. The obvious unpacking of this statement surrounds divisive politics or schisms between worldviews. But, our experiences are divided even at a metaphysical level.

In other words, a great distance emerges between our thoughts and actions. With a new year just around the corner, consider the distance between your new year’s resolutions and the accomplishment of those actions. The brain continually reminds the body about how important it is to improve dietary habits and to be active. The body doesn’t listen. Or, if it does listen, it doesn’t listen very long.

When we learn new things, we must practice them. Without that daily repetition, the knowledge remains dormant. Do you remember the languages you learned in high school or college? When was the last time you spoke in those languages? In all likelihood, the people that continue to speak the language are the ones immersed in the language, either through relationship, job function, or location. Without that repetition, the words, phrases, and rules of conjugation recede to the background of your memory.

The Habits of Work

These principles govern our work lives as well. Most organizations hold to a mission, vision, and values. But how many organizations build these principles into their daily actions? Much like our ability to speak Spanish falters the further we move away from using it every day. The further away from intentional actions around mission, vision, and values, the more the ideas falter in the actions of your employees.

This is why “on purpose,” is so important. Living your mission, vision, and values requires daily intentionality. The development of methods and organizational check-ins that allow a team to “practice” its mission, vision, and values daily is of vital importance.

Implementing these rhythms might feel strange at first. When we do things “on purpose,” the first few times can feel strange and awkward. Think about how you feel once you begin a running regimen. But, with consistency, these practices become needed and desired, just like your body crazing a good run once it becomes a habit.

Be “on purpose,” with your mission, vision, and values in your daily work. It’s the only way to translate your ideas into action, from your brain to your heart.

Photo Credit: Alex Wong

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