Igniting People at Work and In Life: A Tagline Withstands the Test of Time
When I first launched Live Bright Now in 2005, I summed up my company’s mission — which is also my personal mission — this way: Igniting people at work and in life.
I’m going to dig into what that mission means and how to get there in just a sec. But first, let me meander for a moment on a different (but related, I promise) topic. LBN’s official tagline has changed a few times over the years, as I’ve focused on different areas of leadership and culture coaching. So, it struck me as significant when, earlier this week, I was digging around in the depths of my car’s center console and found one of my very first business cards. Dog-eared and stained with coffee, the card put LBN’s original mission statement front and center. Sixteen years later, the tagline was ripe for reflection.
Reflect, I did. I thought back to the “branding” exercises I’d explored to help pinpoint words like bright, ignite, involve, and inspire. It didn’t take long for the light/bright theme to emerge — probably no surprise, given that “Candra” means “luminescent” and derives from the Latin word for “glowing.” (You can read why “Now” is integral to the company name in this blog post.)
Back in 2005, hardly anyone was thinking, talking, or coaching about the importance of creating intentional company “culture.” Some people even thought I’d started a teeth-whitening business or a lightbulb company! That kind of confusion aside, when I re-read the words, “Igniting people at work and in life,” I smiled. And nodded. I swear a little burst of bright light exploded above my head.
For me, that business card was a snapshot of my mindset from nearly two decades earlier. Turns out, my throughline — or, in this case, my tagline — has held. Although I’ve had countless personal and professional experiences in the ensuing years — good, bad, trivial, tremendous — the kinds of ideas, insights, and energy that “light me up” haven’t changed. In fact, my belief in the holistic, integrated nature of work and life has never felt more relevant or true. No wonder the “ignite” mission still resonates. It reflects what I believed in then, what I believe in today, and what I’ll keep on believing in.
Now, let’s shift to what it means to ignite people at work and in life. I think it’s pretty straightforward. First, you need to recognize and celebrate your strengths. Then, you must leverage those strengths to make a difference in the world.
When I say “strengths,” I mean Marcus Buckingham’s definition: “A strength is not what you are good at, and a weakness is not what you are bad at. A strength is an activity that strengthens you. It draws you in, it makes time fly by while you’re doing it, and it makes you feel strong.”
Here are some questions and ideas to steer you in the right direction.
Questions for pinpointing your strengths
- What values were you raised with?
- What matters most to you?
- What energizes you?
- What do you love that represents something larger than yourself?
Ideas for leveraging your strengths
- Be unapologetic about what you’re good at.
- Don’t let your weaknesses get all of your attention.
- Understand that what’s “bigger” than you may be a “mini-cause” like keeping your team safe during an offsite gathering or meeting a deadline so your coworker won’t be late for her kid’s school play. Big doesn’t have to mean momentous.
- Connect to the meaning of your work. A biotech scientist helps eradicate a deadly disease. A housekeeper in a hotel can find meaning in creating a clean and healthy space for a family on vacation. (Find out why I tell my clients the key to finding meaning is “up and to the right thinking.”)
- Make sure you’re in the right seat on the bus. Steven Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, reminds us to acknowledge it when we don’t fit comfortably in our “seat” — and that it’s okay to find a new seat, and even a new bus, when necessary.
If you take some time to sit quietly with these questions and ideas, you might be surprised by what bubbles up. I hope it’s a sense of deep satisfaction, clarity of purpose, and the joy that comes from being in the right seat on the right bus. That’s how I felt when I found my well-worn business card. However, if you discover you feel drained, unmotivated, and weighted down with doubts and discomfort, take heart. Finding your throughline, or your tagline, that withstands the test of time takes, well, time. And I promise you this: Admitting that something isn’t quite right is the first, albeit uncomfortable, step toward fixing it.
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Candra Canning is the founder of Live Bright Now. She’s been coaching corporate leaders + teams to brighten their performance for 20 years. Candra believes a bright company culture creates bright leaders + bright communities — even a brighter world.