Following a year of uncertainty for most, Rob Siegfried, CEO and Founder of The Siegfried Group, LLP (Siegfried), thought it would be a sensible time for his employees to “reset” and look more closely at their bigger future to determine where they are and where they want to go.
“Of course, you’re in charge of your own life, but we’re all subject to outside forces,” Rob explained at Siegfried’s 21st MY Journey® live event. “And last year proved that. But at the end of the day, you really are in control and there’s a lot you can make happen for yourself. Today, I want you to step back and think about where you’re trying to go. I call that your ambitious dreams. And then have the courage to take individual accountability and responsibility to make something happen — that’s the courageous pursuit.”
During this MY Journey® event, employees heard from Rob and featured guest speakers Elizabeth Gilbert and Angela Lee Duckworth. Topics included how to live a more examined life to discover where you want to be and how you can make progress, creative tension, purpose anxiety, living creatively, and GRIT.
Transformational growth comes after understanding your vision and accepting your reality
Creative tension, a structure that helps facilitate creativity and change, requires you to have a clear understanding of your vision (or your dreams) and to accept your reality as it stands today. The gap between the two creates tension, and that’s what motivates you to facilitate change and transformational growth.
“Many of us have trouble with creative tension,” Rob said. “We want to convince ourselves that we’re very close to our vision and there’s no gap between current reality and future dreams, but it’s not the truth. Dreams don’t happen easily. It takes a lot of energy and strength to not only dream big, but to accept that you have work to do to get there. But, this tension? It’s the foundation of growth.”
Don’t let purpose anxiety kill your soul
People are often afraid to engage with their creativity because of something called purpose anxiety, according to Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert. “There’s a story that we often tell and retell: Every single person in the world is born a singular talent that only you have and that distinguishes you from every other person in the world. And it’s your responsibility to spend your entire life uncovering that and figuring out what it is.”
And after you figure out what your gift is? “You are supposed to spend your entire life stewarding it and becoming a master of it,” Gilbert said. “And then you have to figure out how to monetize it and become successful. And it’s not enough that you become successful, you have to create a platform with your talent so others can be uplifted by it. And finally, you have to change the world. So, no pressure.”
This story of how we should create our lives causes anxiety and panic for 99% of us. And more importantly, it’s not in keeping with the beauty of human life, argues Gilbert. “We have no idea what we are here for, and therefore, how can we know what our purpose is?”
Gilbert went on to say that we live our lives at a crossroad, with fear on one side and curiosity on the other. She suggested that if we choose curiosity over fear, it doesn’t matter what we became or what we created or whether it changed the world. “The only thing that would matter is that you lived a very interesting life.”
GRIT is not the same thing as talent, but it leads to excellence
Although grit and talent aren’t the same thing, grit predicts all the same high-achievement outcomes as talent. “What high achievers have in addition to talent, and sometimes more so, is a combination of passion and perseverance that I call GRIT,” said Duckworth, a psychologist who studies human excellence. “And GRIT is not fixed. It can grow.”
Duckworth went on to explain that although there are differences in talent, it doesn’t matter how much talent you have if you don’t put in any effort or work for it. “If you don’t take feedback and if you don’t improve, you’ll never grow your skill, no matter how talented you are,” she said. “Talent counts. But effort helps you unlock your skill and turn it into achievement.”
Rob Siegfried, Angela Lee Duckworth, and Elizabeth Gilbert were the main speakers at Siegfried’s 21st MY Journey® event, which was hosted by Rob to help employees focus on their personal and professional development. More information about the Firm and its career opportunities is available at siegfriedgroup.com.