A week ago, if you had asked me why it is important to discover your essence I might have looked at you like you had two heads. A week later, I feel like it is one of the most important things you can do.
Last Tuesday, I took my staff to my cabin for a company retreat. We spent the morning celebrating our successes from 2015 and designing the future we want to see in 2016. These are my favorite kind of days.
I designed an exercise to help us think about what we should focus on in the coming year. The exercise worked. Actually, if I’m being completely honest, it worked way differently and way better than I expected. Instead of simply helping us choose a focus, it actually unveiled the essence of what we’re all about at sparkspace.
When I say, “essence”, I mean “the core of what we do”. It’s the one thing above all else that people look to us for. It’s the one thing we are uniquely qualified to provide. It’s what sets us apart and how we contribute the most to the world. In a sense, it’s our superpower as a company.
I won’t say I was completely shocked by what we identified as our essence, because it IS what we do every day (although we’ve never really articulated it). However, I was a little surprised to discover that it is different than I thought it was. You see, we toss the word, “inspiration,” around a lot in our office. We’ve even used the tagline, “The Most Inspirational Business Retreat Center On The Planet”, for several years. But as we discussed what our guests and community want and need when they come to us, inspiration never even came up in the conversation.
It’s not that we’ve been hanging our hat on the wrong hat rack all this time. I think we HAVE inspired people in many ways. We’ve inspired teams to be more creative and collaborative. We’ve inspired people to live with more simplicity and balance. We’ve inspired our guests to have more fun at work. We’ve inspired businesses to re-think the way they go about their business. We’ve inspired more than a handful of businesses to redesign (or at least repaint) their conference room(s) back at work.
Like I said, right hat rack, but wrong hook. I believe this explains why sometimes we’re not always as successful as I know we could be. It explains why sometimes the directions we embark on don’t feel quite right. It explains why sometimes it just feels like there’s something missing, even when things are going well.
Why It Is Important To Discover Your Essence
When you know what you’re all about at your core…
…you have a much better idea of how to contribute at your highest level.
…you have a much better idea of what to say no to.
…you stop comparing yourself to other people.
…you stop comparing yourself to an unrealistic, perfect future version of you.
…you stop needlessly competing with others.
…you start living a more authentic existence.
In addition to having even more positive impact on your world, I’m pretty sure all of the above lead to more happiness and fulfillment for everyone involved, including you.
Oh, in case you’re wondering what we identified as the essence of sparkspace, here’s what we figured out:
sparkspace is all about helping people get fully engaged.
Knowing this won’t change everything we do (partially because we already DO this to a certain degree already), but I believe it has already shifted how we think as a company. No doubt this shift will manifest itself in many noticeable ways in the rest of 2015, throughout 2016, and beyond. Personally, I’m more excited than ever about what we do, and grateful that I can still feel this way even after 16 years in business.
I would love for you and your team to experience this same feeling, so I’ve created a simple tool to help you define your essence. This is the same exercise I took my team through during our retreat, so I know it works (well, it has worked at least once!). The exercise is simple, highly effective, and potentially life-changing.
I would love to hear what you think about the tool, or about this post in general. Helpful? Leave a comment below.