Leading with Purpose and Authenticity
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Have you ever looked back at the past week and wondered, what have you’ve done with your time because the truly important tasks have not been completed? Or, have you responded to a work or life situation and felt that you really weren’t being genuine or true to what you believe? These reactions can be exhausting and leave us feeling anxious to say the least. Stephanie Schultz, MSM, RDN, CD, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for Skogen’s Festival Foods has experienced some of these situations on her path to leadership and discovered some important insights which have helped her manage the demands of life while being genuinely herself. Here are the 5 “things” that Stephanie advises others to devote time to understanding so life and work has focus and authenticity:
- Define your purpose and values – What are the 3 to 5 most important things in your life? Do you spend time and energy on these areas or do they seem to slip through the cracks as other “priorities” take over? Stephanie recommends doing a time study to analyze where you are spending your hours. What you are doing all day may not be connected to your designated priorities.
- Find the time – There are only so many hours in a day and certain deadlines must be met. Stephanie finds it best to knock out the hardest stuff first so those priority projects are done. And while we all love a good to-do list, you may have to examine yours and eliminate the items that really don’t align with your focus areas of importance.
- Make yourself a priority – One of the first things that we may give up when burdened by an overly busy schedule is self-time. However, presenting your best, confident self is essential at work and in life. Examine how you present yourself in person and online or ask a close friend or colleague for feedback. You might discover it’s time to redo your LinkedIn profile or take a class to polish your management skills.
- Be authentically you – Trying to be someone you are not is exhausting, and besides, the only person you are really good at being is yourself. Give up on perfection and learn to live with your flaws. Stephanie confides she has learned to be a leader with a limp.
- Reset when needed – As we said, no one is perfect so if you see yourself falling back into old habits (remember that exhaustion and anxiety), you may need to call a timeout and reset. Refocus on your purpose and values and remember: Your life is your story… write well, edit often.