Laying the Foundation Right

\”The loftier the building, the deeper must the foundation be laid.\” – Thomas a. Kempis

Yesterday when I restarted my journey back to blogging I penned down an article with focus on leadership in organizational culture setting. This to a greater extent was informed and influenced by the discussions I\’ve been having with my colleagues in the mentorship circles. As a follow up to this, I\’ve kept thinking through the key attributes and capabilities that make leaders shape the culture. First, they have to be in tune with a higher calling and purpose. Everybody talks about purpose but then, how do you find your purpose? How do you align it with your mission in your various pursuits including work? If running an organization, how do you ensure alignment between your mission and that of the organization you work for?

It\’s not easy to have all these answers but it\’s possible so I went on a journey to understand them further. On this journey one key thing I amassed myself into was to do a reflective exercise to map my development journey from way back in primary school. On this journey, I reflected on the influences in my life from circumstances to people; opportunities to hurdles; successes to failures and most importantly my response to and interaction with all these in the journey. It doesn\’t mean that I have always found the best way to respond to each and every circumstance but I\’ve always acted in a way that have taught me something one way or the other. Luckily, from this exercise I had a moment to consolidate these and use them to shape the trajectory into my next couple of steps. Not easy but doable. What then is it that counts in this journey?

In my last article I used the analogy of a parent raising a child. They have to be compassionate enough to help them find their way but strict enough to have the child operate within a set of rules. This is the foundation that\’s set for children. In organizations where we work, there\’s also a set of structures and guides on what\’s to be done and what\’s not to be done. In the same spirit, there is an alignment on the mission of the company which serves as a grounding principle for why the company exists and our contribution to it to keep existing as it serves the populace. In setting your foundation based on my experience, there is always a common theme across the things you do, challenges you take up and roles you desire. In most of these cases, their is a unique skillset that you have and can use to impact the lives of others. Being organizations are founded by individuals then, the soul and spirit of the organization is often times in tune with that of the founder. It is our responsibility as founders through the principle of transference to infuse our values, mission and purpose for being into the organization. Once done, considering life is a finite game but with infinite possibilities, it\’s upon us to institutionalize these to ensure that whoever joins us in this journey will be able to learn from, embody and live by these same values & principles.

In one of our discussions circles, one of the questions that we debated on was on how then we could ensure that those who join later can embody your mission or purpose as a founder yet they may have had a different inclining. It\’s not impossible. As a common principle, there\’s never a company or organization founded to cause harm in the world and in the same spirit there\’s no individual destined to cause harm and havoc in their lifetime. On this account it is then our responsibility to retrace our paths and ask ourselves how we can live our that purpose both in our vocations and in our personal lives. Example: I believe my purpose is to nurture socially responsible professionals to improve human experiences on earth. How can I do this? By sharing knowledge across the platforms where I operate. This blog being one of them. At work, I put myself at the disposal of others to tap into my capabilities and gifts. In the professional circles I do the same. As a pharmacist working in a pharmaceutical company with the mission of improving and extending lives, by living my mission help the company improve and extend lives through competent, socially responsible associates committed to doing good in their professional pursuits. This is in addition to my technical contributions. It\’s then of essence to find that purpose and channel it. How do you do this?

  1. Decide to dedicate time for self-reflection to understand your life journey until now. Take notes where possible to know what you\’ve done and why you\’ve done them. What\’s the emotional driver behind what you\’ve done? Including the terrible things you wouldn\’t want to share with anyone.
  2. Identify the common themes in this storyline and point them out for these will help you identify your purpose for being and the key influencers in your life. Outline the 2 main positive emotional drivers you\’ve had make you do things and the 2 core negative emotions that made you do things you would wish for. In most cases they are opposing forces, which is an indicator that the positives are your grounding values but when threatened, you flip to the opposite side. (Response mechanism).
  3. Embrace what you find and start being intentional about life on that path to awaken the good in you for the greater good. If you are running an organization, start working on setting up structures in terms of policies, working instructions, standard operating procedures among others infused by this value system. As an individual embrace a habit of documenting your experiences and lessons through your encounters and journey in life – can be personal or professional. Over time you\’ll be able to deduce your gift from this by learning from the same and perfecting your capabilities beyond your imagination.

The unexamined life is not worth living as espoused by Socrates. But to examine your life and not take action on the findings is to put yourself through torture. Your action is to institutionalize your values, ideals and principles for being. This way we infuse the good in our journey through life.

\”Life is a finite game. Ours is to play with an infinite mindset knowing that beyond us there will be others to continue the game.\”

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