Hi, I’m Paul, and I want to welcome to our journey in the Core Leaders Network! When we’ve completed our time together, I know you’ll have a deeper understanding of who you are and how you respond to things. You’ll have a greater sense of personal well-being feels like and a greater understanding of how important you are to the world around you – both as a leader and as a person. In other words, you will be a “Core Leader!”
Let’s start by defining some terms we will use often in the Core Leaders journey:
A “Core Leader” has a deep understanding of his/her own personal value and the value of others and uses that understanding, not only to positively lead in the workplace, but to benefit other people and to benefit the culture around them.
Your “core” is your innermost place – your “gut.” It is the place from which your emotions and reactions emanate. The quality of your decision making both professional and personal – is based on your core health. Just as your physical center of gravity and all body movements begin with your physical core muscles (i.e. midsection muscles), a healthy emotional core will result in healthy reactions and quality decision making.
Well-being is a sense of contentment and fulfillment that is not determined by external circumstances. A Core Leader maintains a sense of well-being in the middle of both good and challenging circumstances.
Transformation is a change in a person, group of people, or organization that cannot easily be reversed or go back to the way things were before the transformation took place.
SPHERE OF INFLUENCE
In the context of the Core Leaders Network, a “sphere of influence” is any space, organization, or group in which a leader may have an impact on its direction and outcomes.
Let’s combine two ideas to define the “Core Cohort” in the context of the Core Leaders Network. The first is an ancient Roman military unit, was called a “cohort.” The second is a group of people who are banded together. So, think of your Core Cohort as a group of people who are intentionally banding together in the common pursuit of conquering. What are we conquering together? Any obstacle that stands in the way of each of us being the best and most effective version of ourselves that we can be.
CORE LEADERS NETWORK
The Core Leaders Network is a group of leaders pursuing well-being and personal transformation so that each of us makes an impact on our spheres of influence. Together, we can bring positive transformation to our business, our city and our region.
On many occasions, I’ve seen the power of like-minded people working together in a cohort like the one you’re just beginning. In one the earliest cohorts I facilitated, one man began to share how the difficulties in his marriage were affecting his ability to lead the business he’d started. He asked for input from the others on the situation. It was beautiful to watch these powerful people experience freedom in sharing their own struggles with one another.
As leaders, we often feel the need to “be strong” for others. My desire is that the Core Cohort will be your place to share freely what you may not be able to share anywhere else. Transparency from one person gives permission for others to be transparent. Your pursuit of honesty and personal well-being will inspire me and others to do the same. Together, we’ll create an environment of transformation for others. As we pursue transformation together, it will have a significant impact on our families, businesses, and our broader community.
So, let’s get to work on our own personal transformation so we can transform the world around us!
Let’s start our time together by thinking about what happiness looks like for a leader. Life is tough, and the pressure is real. Can we be “happy” in the middle of it all? Are we even supposed to be happy? How much impact should the demands of leadership and the consequences of failing to meet those demands, determine our feelings of happiness on a regular basis? Let’s use this example from my own life:
It was Saturday. Payroll was due on Monday, and I was $12,000 short to cover it. I knew the company mail was normally delivered about 11 a.m. on Saturdays. So, late that morning I drove to the office praying the mail would include enough checks from the $65,000 of receivables on our books to cover the shortfall. With shaking hands, I sat in the empty office opening envelope after envelope. $2000 here, $500 there. I was tallying the totals in my mind. There were a few envelopes left. Would I make it? $1000 from a client who owed $5000. My heart sank. I knew the other two envelopes couldn’t possibly contain enough money to bridge the gap. My weekend was now ruined as I would spend the next two days dreading the Monday phone call I’d have to make to my partners to ask each to kick in cash to cover payroll… again.
Happiness seems hard to reach at times, and even when reached, it’s fleeting. After all, there is always another payroll in a week or two. Meeting a monthly quota means nothing when the next month begins. Having a good financial year is in the rearview mirror once the next fiscal season commences. So, how do we find happiness? Should happiness even be our goal, or is “Life a bitch and then you die?”
“Permanent happiness is the goal of our lives—a goal that we can never reach,” wrote Nancy Collier, LCSW in a recent article in Psychology Today. “What we can reach, however, is a state of well-being, a deep sense of lasting contentment that can include and survive both happiness and ‘not happiness!’” In other words, being happy is not our ultimate goal because permanent happiness is impossible to attain. A state of well-being that can survive the good days and the bad is a goal worth fighting for. Don’t you think?
A good definition of well-being is the Hebrew word “shalom.” Shalom is commonly understood to mean “peace,” or to be without war. But to the ancient Hebrew person, shalom was much more. It meant “to be safe in mind, body, or estate.” It spoke to a wholeness or complete fulfillment in one’s life.
How do we get to a state of Shalom, or well-being in our lives. I believe a state of well-being is achieved when a person really begins to get honest about who they are. It’s stopping to take a look inside ourselves to find the hurdles keeping us from a sense of well-being and learning tools to overcome the root causes of those hurdles. Well-being requires one to ask, “Why do things push my buttons?” and then to go deeper to identify “Why do I have those buttons in the first place, and how do I get rid of them?”
Happiness, you see, is based on external factors. These factors are beyond our control. The pursuit of happiness can drive us to do things that can be very unhealthy, causing a never-ending spiral of self destructive behavior – all in the pursuit of achieving happiness. Once we’re in this spiral, then we do things to try and help us forget we’re unhappy, which ultimately drive us farther from our goal of being in a healthy state of well-being.
Thus begins our journey together. Let’s go on this path to discover well-being, even on the days when there aren’t enough checks in the mail to meet payroll.
Each week in the Core Curriculum, you’ll find a Review – a brief set of review questions from the session, Discussion – some questions we will discuss in our 1-on-1’s and in the cohort meetings, and Action Steps – some thought-starters to help us dig deeper into the topics of the session. You’ll also have a Core Journal at the end of the session to write some thoughts. Your journal content will be sent to you and to me so that we can track together. What you share in your Core Journal will be available to you and me only.
Let’s start here:
Follow this diagram, and ask yourself, “Am I Happy?”
The diagram asks if you’re happy. You can see that if the answer is “yes,” then the diagram encourages you to “keep doing what you’re doing.” If the answer is “no,” then the next question is “Do you want to be happy?” If you say “no, I don’t want to be happy” then the diagram, again, encourages you to “keep doing what you’re doing.“
I assume by the fact that you’ve signed up for this program, that you aren’t in the “doesn’t want to be happy” category. Likely you’re in the “Yes, I want to be happy” category. Now, the twist for us is that we just learned that happiness isn’t really our goal. But, since you’re walking this journey with me, I can assume you want your life to be better. So, the diagram says, to make that happen we have to “change something.”
Let’s do that. Let’s take this journey and see what opportunities are available to improve you true Core Well-Being to come. Each lesson will have “Discussion Questions” and “Action Steps.” Please consider these questions for discussion in our Cohort Meetings and our 1-on-1’s:
Think about what “happiness” means for you in terms of well-being, or contentment. Are you at a place in life where you can be OK on the good days and the not-so-good ones?
Think about a day when you were unhappy. Maybe the things that make you happy were simply not available or maybe you had a family member who was ill or an angry client. Journal about your response in that moment. Did you respond well or not? What things occur on a regular basis that upset your well-being and make it difficult for you to be “happy.” How do those things make you feel? I’ll ask you about your feelings a lot because those feelings are telling us what’s happening in your core. If your reaction didn’t make you feel good, think about how you can react differently in the future.