The ancient Greeks had a word called praxis which is the root of our modern day English words, practical and practice. Aristotle described the end goal of praxis as action. When he wrote about praxis, one of his points was that if you want to be a certain way, start acting that way.
The idea of praxis came to mind when I was in a class last weekend and the teacher suggested at the beginning that everyone hold the intention of being gentle with themselves. At a break, I was talking with another student who commented how differently she approached the learning with the concept of being gentle with herself in mind.
That simple concept of holding a state of being in mind while you go about your daily actions can change the results you create as a leader.
For instance, I remember a conversation I had several years ago with the members of a local chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization. By definition, members of YPO are high achievers who have a successful track record of getting results. In my session with them, I walked them through the Life GPS® process of personal strategic planning. Two of the three main questions in the Life GPS® involve how you show up when you’re at your best and the outcomes you’d expect to see at home, work and in the community if you were regularly showing up at your best.
When I asked the group to talk about what surprised them in mapping out their Life GPS®, one of the CEO’s said he was surprised by what he came up with for the outcomes he expected at work. He explained that one of his best state characteristics was being supportive. He told us that he was very supportive of his own children but had never really thought about how he could act on that characteristic with his team at work. “I’ve always thought that we pay them to do their jobs and they should do them, he said, but if I think about what it would look like if I was more supportive of them, we’d get much different outcomes.”
Holding the picture of a simple intention in your mind can make a world of difference in your outcomes.
What word do you want to hold front and center in your mind as your praxis this week? What outcomes would you expect to see from acting on that word?