The Path of the Greatest Gain // High Endeavors

High Endeavor // Path of the Greatest Gain

Clarifying Your High Endeavors Creates a Clear Route toward Summit Success

We choose our high endeavors. We choose endeavors, mountains (metaphorical or real) that move us to connect our value and our actions. These mountains change us, and the more challenging the mountain, the more we have to gain. The lessons learned and applied throughout our lives occur long after we have stood on the summit. The most significant lesson we face as leaders lay not in the brute success of standing on the summit, but in the nuanced application of the lessons learned in the process of our ascent and the sustained learning continues by applying those lessons forward to all arenas of our lives. Our integrity as leaders is evident in our ability to maintain focus and direction towards our high endeavors regardless of external influence and factors.

The lessons gained from past experiences, our previous mountains, help us frame what to pursue in the future. It is that core sense of applying our values that clarifies our direction and refines our ability to choose and engage in future high endeavors. And yet, it is so easy to become derailed from our route and loose track of the very thing that drives and motivates us as individuals and as an organization. We can all be derailed by both the shiny new metal object that steals our attention and by the feeling of overwhelm and impossibility that can result in our shrinking away from our path to the summit.

Leading with Integrity

An essential component of our high endeavors is our individual and personal relationship with that endeavor. What comes with that is an understanding and acknowledgment that external definitions of success, what or how things ‘should’ be, and others or outside cultural influences offer no practical value or foundational support for you, or your organization’s, sustained success. External definition can provide momentary satisfaction and validation when facing challenges but they also can derail us from our personal and unique high endeavors by placing meaning and importance on something outside of ourselves.

So how do we maintain full engagement so that we can attain those summits and keep our High Endeavors top of mind?

Start on Route

As I discussed in an earlier post regarding starting your day with a breath and not a bang, starting our day, or our week, on target with specific and measurable goals that support our high endeavor keep us oriented and moving in the right direction. This can be as simple as fifteen minutes of free association journaling to act as a brain dump and reorient ourselves or a detailed scan of our calendar to add, remove, or adjust our schedule to work for us as a ship’s rudder toward our goals. Stay on route, while climbing a new or established route it quickly becomes apparent when you go off route: the rock quality degrades, the options for safety protection diminish, the movement becomes less fluid and less obvious: you begin to struggle both physically and mentally. The same thing occurs when we move off route from our high endeavors.

Block and Protect Your Time

Your time is precious and non-negotiable. Want to work towards your high endeavors? Protect your time at all cost and allocate it to work for you in service of your high endeavors. Be vigilant and disciplined that your time is yours and yours to decide how to use it.

Remove Distracting Tasks

Distracting tasks creep in from all directions to distract, entertain, and maintain the status quo by keeping us so busy and involved with minutiae that we don’t have the capacity to attend to the bigger picture. When these tasks get in the way our high endeavors remain in a distant future waiting for us to someday attend to them – that distant future will remain distant as long as we allow lesser tasks to dictate our time and energy. Say no, delegate, do anything you can to clear your path and remove lesser tasks from becoming a barrier.

Front of Mind

Keep you high endeavors front of mind. A simple notecard or photo on your desk, a phrase taped onto your laptop, any simple reminder that cues you to stay present that your decisions, actions, and time demand that you keep your high endeavors front of mind and necessitate decision making to maintain that immediacy.

Your High Endeavor // Your Values in Action

Want a little support in clarifying your high endeavors or connecting the dots between your high endeavors and the mission of your organization? I have a workbook that has a handful of exercises that can help with this process; email me with your thoughts / ideas and I’ll send a copy your way.