Finding Purpose with Girl Geeks

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I promised last night at the Girl Geek Scotland event that I would write up a blog post about the workshop that I ran, so here it is.

I’ve been volunteering with Girl Geek Scotland’s Mentoring strand of activities during 2017 and last night was my turn to stand up and run the event. As well as pulling the overall event together (which is made much less daunting by working with a bunch of seriously competent and kick-ass women) this time 3 of us came forward to run the regular break-out workshops too.

You can read more about the session itself here, including details of the other 2 workshops run by Morna Simpson and Gail Logan (click View Details as the event has now ended).

My workshop was framed around being clear about your purpose and drew on experiences I’ve had in my own leadership development and in research I’ve read. These are the notes I wrote for my pitch:

Leadership roles, particularly senior leadership roles involve tough decisions. There’s a lot been written about likeability versus capability – and I think we can look at last year’s US Elections and Hilary Clinton for a good example of where that debate can go at it’s very worst.

Likeability is important – but investing lots of time in thinking about how others see us can also be emotionally and mentally exhausting.

A more productive route, research suggests, is to focus on being clear about our purpose. If we know our strengths and are playing to them we will be more effective, and probably happier too.

In my session we’re going to work through the steps you can take to develop your own personal purpose statement, and then how you can align your work goals to that. It’s going to be a fast, practical, hands-on session. I’m going to make you read some research to get started, then I’m going to make you talk to each other, and do some writing and a bit of sharing back if you’re okay with that. To keep it equitable and fair, I have personal purpose statements from each of the workshop leaders to share with you!

You probably won’t get a polished end product out of it, but you will break the back of it, get some peer feedback, and leave with something you can refine. You’ll also leave with a process that you can repeat in the future.

Being clear about your purpose – your super-power as a leader – is a critical skill, and so is having the tools you need to re-calibrate it every few years.

It was tough to pack this into an hour, but I think most participants managed to make a good start and took something away that they could continue to work on. I really enjoyed running the session and the quick feedback poll we did suggested that others found it useful. I also had the added delight of knowing at least one person in the group already. I also had a good conversation with another participant after the session about making something around goal setting a regular feature each year – feedback that I’ve shared back into the Mentoring volunteers group already.

(Blue Skies. Photo by @ammienoot CC-BY 4.0)

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