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The Leadership Framework for More Fulfilling Careers

clarity empowerment leadership opportunity realization self understanding Jul 28, 2022

Houston, we have a noise problem. And it’s eroding our happiness.

The familiar unpleasantries of beeping, blooping, dinging, donging in your pocket, on your watch, and interrupting your kids while they fling birds at frogs at another attempted dinner outing with friends. Unfortunately, this applies to your full-grown kids too. But that’ll buff out in therapy later. 

You're inundated with noise—and your autopilot initiates self-defense for your exhausted headspace. Delete. Archive. Mute. Toggle yes. Swipe left. Ya, ya, you will agree to the terms. 

The bombardment of noise has triggered your serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters into a flatlined comatose. Your happiness is on the battlefield, but you have no allies airdropping billions in support.

Consider the monotonous hellscape of an 'optimized for engagement' digital life or mindlessly chumming along another 52-minute wait in the Chipotle line. Have we gone too far? Have we allowed noise to disrupt every area of our lives? 

Where have all the humans gone?

Have our expectations for quality become so diminished that we can drift through life under the veil of curated technology without anyone noticing—and without taking a moment to be truly happy

Let’s address happiness and how we use the ThinkWarwick CORE framework to help executives and their teams find it. 

 

Clarity: Define Clear Intentions

Remember when you'd be asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? At what age did we stop asking questions like that? And when did it become so damn problematic to answer?

Is it when you declare your major? Get your first promotion? Are you too deep in your career to consider alternatives? Is there a sunk cost of career commitment where change becomes too risky or selfish? Does it jeopardize your dedication to family responsibilities and putting the proverbial food on the table?

I've learned that executives are often very well-versed at accomplishing the creepingly impossible expectations others define, such as Ivy League educations, triple-digit headcounts, and eight-figure P&Ls. But for those that achieve limitless expectations defined by others—why do we so often limit our own?  

Clarity is an exploration of self-discovery without defensively walling yourself from others. Instead, leaders create a protected space to fantasize and discover new possibilities to define a more intentional path.

Define CLEAR intentions:

  • Challenge what you want.
  • Learn what makes you happy.
  • Explore unimaginable possibilities.
  • Articulate your dreams.
  • Reach for your goals.

Clarity is the most challenging step of the framework because your work is never done. Your results are usually qualitative. You adapt to new information, swing at curve balls, change course, question everything, tear up your work, and start over again. You seek progress, not perfection.

Finding clarity points your GPS to the correct coordinates. Sharing your clear direction with others invites them to participate in your journey—and lets them know how to better help you earn future opportunities.  

 

Opportunity: Earn What Comes Next

One reason we may tolerate the shelling of notifications we receive is that we don't want to miss anything. FOMO is a helluva anxiety-inducing phenomenon. Something exciting or attractive may be right around the corner. The arousal we get when the 1-in-1000 artillery lands on target keeps us hanging on.

And the flurry of shelling continues because it turns out that a 1-in-1000 hit rate is still profitable. Primarily for them, but sometimes for you too.

Opportunity is about creating a strategic routine and exercising the habits necessary to earn the right opportunities. A calculated plan designed to be used as little as possible. Meaning more signals to digest thoughtfully and less noise to filter mindlessly.

EARN what comes next:

  • Exceptional storytelling, content, habits, and process.
  • Assess each opportunity through your CLEAR intentions.  
  • Reflect on performance on a quarterly cadence.
  • Network, nurture, and give to others to build career-defining relationships.

Opportunity is a funny thing. We always want opportunity but don't recognize it when we're unclear about what we want. Opportunities can also be disguised as chaos, an unwanted challenge, termination, or personal hardship.   

Earning opportunities is about designing the conditions in your life to invite more of them to present themselves—and actually recognizing them when you see them. They need to clearly fight through your filters and grab your attention. 

 

Realization: Own Your Outcomes 

Nothing is more deflating than the time-sucking pursuit of a sexy opportunity bait-and-catfished into a muddied-up swine slathered in crimson rouge. Side note to self, try poetry, you silver-tongued fox.

We've all been there. Somewhere along the line, we choose to dedicate our valuable time to getting after something new. And somewhere along the line, we drop the ball. We screw the pooch in the interview or fold like a cheap Costco chair in negotiation.

Either way, yucky—but whatever. You put yourself out for the betterment of yourself and your family. Chalking up a fat L repeatedly cannot discourage you from pursuing new opportunities again.

Realization is about mastering the art of getting what you want, not crumbling into petulance when you don't, and learning from whatever outcome you earn. 

OWN your outcomes:

  • Open to explore but drive intentional conversations.
  • Withstand the barrage of poor-fit indicators and opportunities.  
  • Negotiate your terms, boundaries, and well-being.

Realization is about closing the right deal. The deal aligned with your intentions while pursuing progress vs. perfection. Those keenly aware of sales principles and negotiating on behalf of others will still often struggle with this approach. Selling yourself is a new can of slimy wormies. 

Owning your outcome is about taking responsibility for where you end up, good or bad—and learning from the result. Never gloating in victory or feeling resentment in defeat. 

 

Empowerment: Support Your Teams

Congratulations, achieving success in steps one through three means you know how to get what you want. But influential leadership isn't selfish ambition toward happiness; it's about helping others find happiness too. 

Plus, who the hell would care about the 'COR' framework. I'd look like some bonehead ignoramus that never read the acronym playbook of leadership 101. Unacceptable nincompoop effort.     

Empowerment is one part selfish ambition (always knowing that you have what it takes to make a meaningful change toward happiness) and one part philanthropic welfare of others (spreading joy through your team and improving performance as a pleasant side effect).   

Support your TEAMS:

  • Teach others to get clear, create opportunities, and realize their dreams.
  • Embrace the moment, slow down, and care about your team personally.  
  • Accept yourself, your strengths, and your shortcomings—then accept others with grace. 
  • Meditate to retrain automatic thoughts and simple 'tick the box' actions that would rather you obliviously coast through your day.
  • Support safe environments to inspire diverse teams to work collaboratively, take risks, and work to their passion.

Empowering your team is about building a welcoming environment for learning and growth. And yes, this applies to you as well. 

Unfortunately, we're often our most notable critics who hold ourselves to an unreasonable standard. Empowerment is about stopping toxic behavior and learning to love ourselves—before waterfalling these principles to our teams and leading them to thrive.


Taking Action With CORE

Keep an eye out for more tactical content in the following weeks to help you bring these principles to your leadership.

If you’re a self-motivated learner, I’ve organized our free articles using Clarity, Opportunity, Realization, and Empowerment as tagged categories on the blog.

For deeper insight, I am available for personal support on an increasingly limited basis by coaching up to 6 executives per quarter.

Meagan and I are increasing our concentration on supporting our CORE Connect founding members, reviewing the Q4 membership waitlist, and partnering with Pavilion to teach the ThinkWarwick CORE curriculum to their global community of 9000+ members.  

Thank you for tuning in and inspiring our journey.

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