Last fall, M.M. partnered with Harris Poll to conduct a survey aimed at figuring out where professional women stood almost 19 months into the pandemic. And this result really stuck with us: Over 92% of women surveyed reported that the pandemic taught them that time is too precious to waste on things, people, and careers that do not serve them.
It’s not that this came as a huge surprise—“The Great Resignation” has been steadily brewing for years. “Collectively, we are giving ourselves permission to put ourselves first and pay attention to what our heart says, as much as our ego or our brain,” says Kacey Cardin, an executive and leadership coach, as well as a facilitator at Chief. “The pandemic made us all look at mortality and face some of those big conversations, and as a result, I’ve seen people lean more into authenticity, heart, and soul-level purpose.”
So how can we use this moment to find more meaning and satisfaction in our professional lives? According to Kacey, a purposeful career starts with a “personal vision statement.”
Kacey Cardin is hosting a week-long women’s retreat in Costa Rica from May 29-June 4, focused on transformation, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Learn more and sign up here, plus get $200 off if you sign up before April 15.
Live Your Vision
Like most goals, your personal vision statement will be most effective if it’s specific and measurable. “Break it down and create some milestones that will let you know if you’re on the right track,” suggests Kacey. “Every single day, ask yourself, ‘Are my thoughts, words, and actions moving me closer to the vision I’m committed to? And if not, what do I need to shift? Who do I need to be?’ An example that I’m working on right now is a women’s retreat I’m leading in Costa Rica this summer. My vision is for all leaders to feel authentically expressed, joyful, safe, and celebrated—and the way I’m bringing that vision to life is by creating transformational retreats for women to experience self-love, a life fueled by desire, soul goals, and full self-expression. My specific, measurable milestones include having 8 women registered by April 8th and 16 women registered by May 18th. Every day, I am mindful that my thoughts, words, and actions are moving me closer to hitting those milestones.”
Ask yourself: What is your vision for the world? What are some measurable ways to bring it to life? And how will you know you’re on the right track (milestones/by whens)?
Create an Environment Where Everyone Can Thrive
While creating your personal vision statement is a great starting point, employees can only find that sense of purpose if company leaders create an environment where everyone can thrive. “And as a leader, you need to be clear on what your employees want more of and what really matters to them,” says Kacey. “People show up for things to which they feel emotionally connected. Too many workplaces create a culture of ‘keep your head down and don’t rock the boat.’ That atmosphere kills creativity and innovation. If people don’t feel safe, they don’t take risks, and they don’t give you their best. It’s great feedback as a leader if you ask people what they need, and they say, ‘I don’t know.’ That tells you that you haven’t yet earned their trust or created a safe space for them to communicate their needs.”
“You may assume, ‘Oh, people want ping pong tables and open office spaces,’ only to discover (after spending a lot of money on an office revamp) that what people actually want is flexible hours and purpose-driven work. It’s vital to ask frequently whether people are getting what they need and how their needs have shifted. As a coach, I constantly ask people, ‘What do you need?’ And I am always shocked at the amount of people who say, ‘Nobody’s ever asked me that before.’”
Kacey says that well-being at work often boils down to one important question: “Are people allowed to be human? Do they feel safe making mistakes? Do they have sunlight and water and adequate breaks built into their days? This may sound silly, but it can even extend to things like whether the temperature is comfortable for people in the building. At the end of the day, we’re all human and basically want the same things: to be accepted, to belong, and to do work that matters. We want purpose.”