Barbara Streisand and Elaine Page sang the immortal lines (in the song Memory from the hit musical Cats):
I can smile happy your days (I can dream of the old days)
Life was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again.
I loved maths and science at school…
I know I sound like a geek, right? I did. I loved maths, especially algebra and physics (which was maths really). Mathematical equations. Having to work them out. Learning formula and then applying them to problems.
Although, I was rubbish at maths in primary school. In high school, under the wonderful guidance of Mrs Gatly, I came to love mathematics. And I was good at it.
I remember preparing for my final A ‘Level algebra paper (well more or less the equivalent – South African Apartheid system). And being energised by the thought of it. I know it sounds a bit naff being enthralled about algebra.
Purpose has a formula…
Everything has a formula. Volume, density, standard deviation, the area of a circle. There are formulae for business profit calculations, for business valuation, stock market is littered with them. An algorithm. Google uses them to tell you what you are searching for. There’s even a formula for happiness.
I believe (in my 15 years experience helping CEO’s work out their purpose) there is a formula for purpose. A formula for living your intent. A formula that if applied to every aspect of your life produces results. Yields your real meaning. It generates intention-driven leadership. It’s the recipe for success. I call it, My Game.
(S + V + M) T = P
You see when people ask me what I do, I usually tell them I help people be a better public speaker. It’s such a pants elevator pitch. So dull. You would have thought I’d be good at the elevator.
Over the past 15 years I have worked with leaders from nearly every country I can think of. I have worked with countless leaders from global brands and leading household names to large corporate organisations, SMEs and micro-businesses to sole-entrepreneurs, start-ups and charities.
What I really do is help people find their purpose. And live and lead with right intention in each moment.
A big part of this is helping them discover:
- Their strengths as a person (not a leader) – (S)
- Their values – (V)
- Their story (their truth) – (M) – memories
Through this process they create new memories that pave the way for them to be excellent. But it doesn’t stop there, I get them living their story – presently – every day. I get them being the truthful intention-driven leader they are. Speaking and living their truth in meetings, with their children, their spouse, business 1-2-1’s, board meetings, at the water cooler (if businesses still have such things) and in public speaking scenarios. In every scenario of their life.
What’s memories got to do with being a great leader?
There is scientific evidence behind what can help make a great leader.
Take Kathleen Taylor. She’s a neuroscientist at Oxford who has explained that beliefs and memories are very closely linked and that memories are really formed when ‘networks of neurons fire’ when they are set in motion by a particular experience or event.
So that memory could be one about a great experience you had with a client. On the other hand, it could be a not so good experience you’ve had when pitching, presenting or getting the team to follow your new idea.
And the more that network of neurons is used, when the neurons fire again and again due to similar experiences, that’s when the memory is set more in stone. It’s not hard to then see how these strong memories provide the foundation for your belief system.
Think, for example, about your memories of pitching and presenting – of speaking in front of an audience. I’m sure most people can recall the times when things haven’t gone that well when public speaking. And the more we remember these the more it affects our belief in our own ability. Simples.
Time to make some new memories?
The science goes further to say that new memories, and therefore new beliefs, can and are created by experiences and our perceptions. It therefore stands to reason that with supportive feedback, sound mentoring and dedicated practising you can alter your self-belief and build your confidence in aspect of leading yourself and others.
Sarah’s new memory forming story…
Sarah is a typical leader I work with – highly driven, time-poor, results-focused and extremely successful – leading SMEs for 20 years. The My Game formula when applied consistently (with it’s associated plan), creates new memories by breaking down long-held beliefs, habits and behaviours that hold you back.
Building a new memory bank, the My Game formula generates a disruptive process, and quite deliberately so. It has been life-changing for Sarah – she realised her “why” – her purpose. She recognised how “her old self” was holding her back from achieving even more success – and fulfilling her purpose.
“I must admit I had got to a stage in my career where I was leading on autopilot. I was going through the steps. Going through the motions. I had created a critical path filled with memories that were not serving me anymore. I wasn’t living my purpose. I still got results. But it didn’t feel right.
Intention-driven leadership feels right. It isn’t rocket science; it’s common sense, my true human nature unlocked from within myself.
Every successful leader uses stories. But stories with a steadiness of thinking and feeling are so much more powerful than the autopilot telling.
I started paying attention and took control. People now remember the way I make them feel, long after the things I’ve said have been forgotten.
Applying this approach to business, ensure my emotion has the power to help people do amazing work and be more fulfilled in their jobs every day.”
What better way to create memories than by living purposefully, through your story. Your truth.
The business of life is the acquisition of memories, and when it comes to the end that’s all we have left.