When we are leading we are more concerned with the what and why of whatever we are involved in whereas when we are managing we are more into the when and how. These questions afford two very different perspectives and tend to lead us in very different directions in terms of what we end up doing and how we experience it.
Do you ever take a moment to really stop and ask yourself what am I doing and why am I doing it? Or do you tend to be more task oriented, always trying to figure out how you're going to get stuff done and how fast you can do it? I think there are times where both approaches are useful but if we never stop to inquire as to the what and why of what we're doing we just end up constantly racing around trying to manage our lives instead of really living it in a way that is harmonious, fulfilling and enjoyable.
Managing as the primary modus operandi in life is a very busy and stressful way to get through whatever life presents whereas leading tends to be more directed and focused thus reducing stress and wasted effort.
Personally, I can really feel the difference when I am managing as opposed to when I am leading my life. When I'm easily upset or have a hard time sleeping or feel a lot of internal (or external) pressure to get things done I know I'm in management mode. When I am in the flow and things are getting done with ease and grace and I'm sleeping well I'm usually functioning from leadership.
The question is, have you bothered to check in to see where you're operating from lately (or ever)?
Stop right now, take a big breath and check in with questions like:
- What am I doing right now and why am I doing it?
- Am I doing what I love or am I caught up in what I think I should be doing?
- Is what I'm doing important or what is it the thing that seems the most urgent?
- Have I considered why I'm doing what I'm doing or am I stuck in automatic?
- Is there a better way to deal with what is happening?
- What do I really need right now so that I can be more focused and peaceful?
Sometimes we just have to stop the insanity and get the larger view. Wondering about the whats and whys of life is one way to do that.
Then we can get on with the when and how with much less stress and anxiety.