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Let’s face it, life is busy. Deadlines, commitments, responsibilities… and the list goes on. There are rarely enough hours in a day to get ‘it’ all done (whatever ‘it’ is), let alone step away from all the craziness for some fresh perspective. But when I make time for it… wow!

I recently started reading the book Harvard Business Review’s 10 Must Reads on Managing Oneself. The first chapter in the book is an article by Clayton M. Christensen titled “How Will You Measure Your Life”. First, if you don’t already own this book I recommend heading straight to Amazon and getting yourself a copy – it’s amazing.

I paused many times throughout this chapter to simply reflect because the concepts, lessons and perspective gained were so profound. A few of my favorite points were…

  • Being a great leader affects so much more than helping people perform at their best to achieve your company’s objectives. Being a great leader means the people who work with you and for you are positively impacted by you so when they leave the office, they are excited, rejuvenated and in a position to achieve their greatest life ambitions away from work as well. It means that because of their interaction with you, their personal life is better. You’ve built them up in a way that allows them to be a better parent, spouse, volunteer, etc. Wow. That extends well beyond what many think a leader’s role is.
  • Christensen shares one of his greatest learnings; “It’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than 98% of the time”. Through life experiences, he knows that the phrase ‘just this once’ almost always turns into ‘more than once’ and he won’t compromise his values… not even a bit.

These are just two examples of what I took away – there are many more great insights. All week I’ve been thinking about what I read on leadership, life purpose, values and other great principles. All from one author. One book. One chapter. A lot of the concepts weren’t new to me, but Christensen’s approach allowed me to think of them in a new way, providing a fresh context to get me thinking. The rest of this book is proving to be just as thought-provoking.

How do you bring fresh perspective and new context in to your life? Perhaps you read, or maybe watch some of the great TED talks that are out there. It could even be a conversation over a coffee with a mentor or friend that will challenge your thinking. Whatever your preferred approach, just make sure you do it. Carve out time to think differently. Challenge the status quo. Because after all, life is about continually growing, evolving, becoming better, and then taking action so when your days are over, you can say with confidence “I truly became my best self and gave everything I could. I know beyond a shadow of doubt that I achieved my life’s purpose”.