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Five Steps towards a Meaningful and Rewarding Life

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If the most important thing you need to know before embarking on a journey is your destination, you should think similarly about the most important journey of all; life. When it comes to living, there could hardly be a person who wouldn’t want to live meaningfully, fulfilling all of life’s roles with excellence.

However, to the contrary, most people and organizations take this critical journey for granted. They live from crisis to crisis, floundering like rudderless ships in turbulent waters, putting their prospects of existence and success at stake. Despite the pressures of real life, the stress of making ends meet, and the struggles to keep pace with a world that refuses to slow down, people continue to have dreams and aspirations. Sadly, many people end up wondering if their dreams would ever move from the realm of fantasy to reality.

Reflect upon the following questions and answer honestly:

  • Do you have a clear vision for yourself, your family, career / business, and your intellectual, spiritual, and health development for at least the next 25 years? If yes, then is it based on a strong, sustainable foundation?

  • Do you look forward to going to work each morning with a sense of purpose and enthusiasm?

  • As a business leader, do you think you inspire your employees to an extent that they are keen to come to work each morning?

  • If you are the head of an organization, do you have a vision that can sustain itself three generations down the road?

  • If you’re a parent, have you established worthy visions for your children and devised the strategy for them to pursue these visions?

  • If you were diagnosed with a terminal disease and had only 3 months to live, would you still be doing what you’re doing right now?

 

If your answer to any of the above questions is “No”, then you need to rethink your personal and organizational perspective.

Recently I met a very successful CEO in Dubai to finalize a Timelenders training for his group. During the meeting, I assessed that the gentleman was going through multiple stresses including health issues and strained family relationships. These were in addition to managing his multi-million dirham business venture. On the face of it, he appeared quite worry free in his palatial, lavishly decorated office in one of the most expensive locations in Dubai, driving a flashy car, and living in a luxurious apartment. His employees benchmarked their own achievements against his, striving to attain similar social and professional stature.

Prior to starting a training, I always make sure that I and the other party understood the reasons behind it. Similarly, I discussed the challenges this certain CEO’s team was facing and the specific issues he wished to address. In my third meeting, it dawned upon me that things were not as terrific as they appeared. The CEO was not only facing financial challenges, his personal relationships were in a quagmire too. Upon enquiring further, it was revealed that the CEO was in the habit of making spur of the moment decisions based on sheer ‘instinct’ rather than long term strategic visions to guide his personal or professional affairs.

Throughout my training and consulting career, I have met numerous CXOs and corporate professionals with similar challenges. The one thing they all have in common is that none of them admit these serious work-life balance issues that need to be rectified before it’s too late.

Although a more detailed approach towards a solution is necessary, following are a few simple ways through which you can still manage to add meaning and some degree of contentment to your life.

1. List Your Roles In Life


Understanding the design of life as our Creator intended and our place within it is the most important role of all. Apart from that, all of our roles can be divided into two main categories; mandated or elective. Mandated roles are those that your ideology doesn’t allow to drop under any circumstances. These include the role of father, son, or brother. Elective roles are those that your ideology permits you to drop under certain conditions. These would include the role of employee or a friend.

Categorizing your roles into these main groups is the first step towards creating balance in your life and making it more rewarding.

2. Envision Each Role Separately


After categorizing your roles, the second step is to identify the vision behind each of your roles. The vision that you associate with each role needs to be comprehensive, covering the areas of physical, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional development.

When asked to write these visions during Timelenders workshops, more than 90% of the participants focus on their professional career or financial goals, disregarding the fact that life isn’t just about career and wealth. There are other roles that need to be taken care of too. Failing to envision them or missing any of the four critical perspectives of the vision can put that role in such serious trouble that it cannot be resolved with money.

3. Have a Clear Purpose Behind Visions


To have a vision is to visualize the future of each of your roles. However, simply visualizing the role is not enough. There must be a worthwhile and significant purpose behind your vision. If your vision is ‘what’, then the purpose behind that vision is the ‘why’.

‘I envision my son to be healthy, happy, intellectually well developed, emotionally balanced, spiritually connected to the Creator, a contributor to the well being of humanity, and a role model for his fellow human beings’. This could be a vision statement of a father for his son. The purpose of the vision will elaborate why you want all of this for your son. Why do you want him to be a great contributor to humanity? Why do you want him to be spiritually connected to the Creator?

A clear purpose provides a sound foundation and a strong justification for the vision and is the main motivating force behind it. In my experience, people with vague or weak purposes of vision or no purpose at all are the first ones to go into depression when adversity hits. I strongly recommend starting with the ‘why’. Why are you working in a company where you’re working? Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? Why do you want to increase your sales? Why do you want to join a certain company? Why do you want to get the immigration of a certain country?

Do you have sound and unchallengeable purposes behind your visions? Think about it.

4. Share Your Visions With the Stakeholders


Once you have finished articulating your visions and purposes, the next most important step is to share them with the respective stakeholders. For instance, if you are developing a vision for your son, you must share it with your spouse who has a critical share in this development. You also need to share the vision with your son as he grows up. Sharing doesn’t only mean sharing it verbally but also through your character and actions. Your character and your actions need to be aligned with what you’re sharing verbally with others.

If you’re a business leader and have created a powerful vision for your organization, develop a road map for sharing it with senior, middle, and junior management. If you wish to unleash the true potential of your team members, you need to be aware of their personal visions and connect them to the organizational ones. Organizations that successfully develop this connection are the ones where people come to work with a zeal and enthusiasm to pursue and contribute to a greater purpose. Visions should be the driving force behind your work force rather than a paycheck.

5. Develop a Roadmap for Visions


When you’re done with establishing your visions and their purpose and have started sharing them, you need to start working on Intermediate Visions or IVs. Intermediate visions are derived from the ultimate vision but are shorter visions targeted towards a certain time period. This is opposed to the ultimate vision that is independent of any time constraint and is timeless and valid upon any period of time. Ultimate vision transcends your life in such a manner that it remains behind as your legacy even if you are no longer alive. This is why your vision needs to be valuable with an enduring purpose.

Remember, some people continue to live on even after they are dead whilst others are good as dead, with fruitless and unproductive existences, even though they are alive. Creating visions is an opportunity to leave a legacy behind you. Intermediate visions allow you to have measurable targets for the next few years of your life starting with the current year and are connected to the greater ultimate vision. Since this allows the day-to-day decision making to be aligned with the greater vision, the chances of random, on the spur of the moment decision making are gone.

If you seriously want to make your life meaningful and rewarding both in this world and beyond, then follow the tested principles described above. Envisioning and creating visions is a painstaking task but a sure shot first step towards a fruitful, purposeful, and gratifying life. A life most people wish they had but don’t know how to take the first step towards.

Remember, if you develop the powerful mechanism to focus and concentrate in life through your visions, even the loudest noises of the world won’t distract you. In the words of Napoleon Hill, ‘The world steps aside for a man who knows where he is going’.

The world is a critical race of not how much money you can make but a race of living this life for a greater purpose. Since no one is aware of when their finish line will suddenly arrive, we need to act quickly to be prepared to meet it.

I look forward to your comments as usual. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.


 


Yameenuddin Ahmed has been associated with Timelenders since 2004 as one of its key leaders in the area of life transforming trainings, coaching, and counseling. To date, Ahmed has helped thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations in developing worthy and powerful visions and in bringing order, enhancing character, and improving performance in personal and professional living. (Read more)


 

 


 

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