A Time for Reflection and a Call to Action

Tony Kern, Ed.D

By Tony Kern, Ed.D
Chief Executive Officer, Convergent Performance

Posted on December 6, 2022
hand holding a lightbulb

As we approach the traditional holiday season, many do so with mixed emotions. The season means something different to us all, but most of us share some common experiences. There is excitement of celebrating faith-based traditions, decorating our homes and seeing family and friends, coupled with the stress of gift selection, family reunions and parties.

But as we progress through these events, there comes something deeper: the realization that another year is about to pass. It is a time for reflection—if we can find it.

The purpose of this short article is to encourage you to make the time and to use it wisely. Used intentionally, these moments can have a positive impact on our personal and professional growth and the downstream organizational effects that come with them.

As we prepare to flip the calendar from 2022 to 2023, will we do so with something other than a few new gifts and a list of New Year’s resolutions? How can we best use this moment to make a lasting and positive change in our personal lives and organizations?

Motivation, Inspiration, and Purpose
Motivation and inspiration are often used interchangeably, but they mean very different things. Motivation is a temporary emotion, useful to get the ball rolling on a new goal or to conquer a new challenge. We need to be motivated to change and improve, but we also need something more.

Inspiration comes from the Latin term inspirare, which literally means to “blow into, or breathe upon.” In Middle English, it also meant to “put life or spirit into the human body or impart reason to a human soul.” To put it simply, motivation gets us going, and inspiration keeps us going.

The first is easy—the second, not so much. But the two are closely linked, and there are some valuable lessons for successful change in these connections. Let’s look at a few of these.

Find changes to make that are important to you. Too often, we are motivated to change by someone else’s desires or the expectations of the world. There is nothing really wrong with trying to please someone else (boss, spouse, society, etc.), but your chances of long-term success are limited to the duration of external motivation. If your desired change is not inspired from within, it becomes simply work, not passion-driven resolve. The best way to know if you are being true to yourself, is to understand your purpose.

Anchor to your purpose. Unfortunately, most people go through life without a known purpose. We grind away at our lives and jobs without passion or knowing why we are doing it. Many go about trying to find their purpose and never realize that it is an act of creation, not discovery. In our Armored Knight Psychological Strength Building program, we outline a simple four-step process for creating and living your life purpose statement.

  • Step 1: Identify your values. Start by considering who you are and who you want to be. Write down what’s most important to you and what you’re most passionate about. Consider who you most admire and why, what you value and how your life is connected to those ideals. Don’t overthink it, just jot a few ideas down.
  • Step 2: Set goals. Take some time to reflect and write down your biggest personal and professional goals. What does the “best” version of your life look like? Where would you like to be in your life and career in 5, 10 or 20 years? Are your personal and professional goals consistent with the values you wrote down in Step 1?
  • Step 3: Consider what your legacy will be. Think about the mark you want to leave on the world and how your skill set can allow you to do that. How, specifically, would you like the world to be different when you leave it? What do you hope to create, change or maintain that will be lasting? Who do you want to support with your unique skills and abilities and how?
  • Step 4: Frame things clearly. Look for common threads from the first three steps and tie them together into an action statement like this:
    “I will [action] for [audience] by [skills] to [desired result].”

Here is an example from a lawyer friend who lives to sustain the rural culture of family farms. “I will make, challenge, and change the laws for under-represented rural communities to preserve their land, lifestyles, and culture.” Being a rancher myself, I really like that one.

Put simply, change is easier with purpose known. Perhaps your passion and purpose is aviation safety, or mentorship, or any one of a hundred things aviation professionals might aspire to.

As we approach the holiday season, let’s do so with an eye on a positive future. Build a plan to sustain your momentum after the motivation fades. Stay inspired through the rough spots and setbacks. Create your purpose and live it.

Happy Holidays!

Convergent Performance Convergent Performance
Convergent Performance is uniquely dedicated to reducing human error in high risk environments.

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