Hi Marilyn O’Hearne here with weekly wisdom, today talking about the danger of focusing on fires. In our rapidly changing complex VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) we run into fires all the time. I was reminded of this in a conversation with a leadership coaching client this past week. That’s how the leader is spending a lot of their time, focusing on putting out fires. It is hard to move forward when we are just focusing on fires.
The danger is that if we are primarily focusing on fires then we are not taking the time to focus on vision, which is what pulls us forward, that motivates and energizes people. As you know, employees stay in organizations that have a strong vision that’s clearly communicated and acted on, and they know their part in contributing to that vision. That is why people stay with companies and organizations and in their jobs. That is more important than the money. It is the vision and the value they know they are providing towards that inspiring vision that matters most. This carries over to leadership in the community and family as well.
I have had had some circumstances (“fires”) in my life pop up that could pull me away from my vision and if I stay focused on them then I can get discouraged. Maybe you can relate to this too. You heard about my “why” and and how closely my vision aligns with that of EthicalCoach. My opportunity to go to Ethiopia with them for the NGO Leadership Coaching Summit was amazing and so exciting. And right before I left I had a little health concern and the unrest in Ethiopia that had been only around the the borders moved to the capital where we were going to be working. I could not let that “fire” be my focus and get discouraged and worried.
Instead I kept my focus on what we were there for (the vision): to contribute to capacity building, to unlock potential so that all can live in prosperity and peace. That is my vision and it really helped me in my pre trip departure to focus on that vision rather than concerns about safety or health (“fires”).
And another example from my personal life is my grandson, whose birthday we celebrate in October. He was diagnosed with a rare heart defect and had to have open heart surgery at three months and his recovery continues. That was pretty overwhelming news to our family and we could have kept the focus there. I loved what the pediatric cardiologist said, that his job was to help Theo stay healthy and be his Theo self. To reach his full potential. And from his decades of experience the children where the family was weeping and wailing at the hospital bedside, focusing on the “fire”, the children did not fare as well as the families who were positively focusing on the child’s future. We have focused positively on his present and future; the vision of a healthy, active boy.
You have a choice: of focusing on putting out fires which can be discouraging and overwhelming or focusing on an energizing vision. Which do you choose? How will you carve out time for focusing on and communicating your vision?
Coaching and Coaching Supervision can help you stay focused and energized by your vision, rather than the exhaustion of focusing on fires.
To our potential, prosperity and peace-we are in this together!
Thanks and see you next week,
Marilyn O’Hearne, MSW, MCC, LLC
CQ Master Certified Coach, International Coach Federation