Our leadership teams recently had offsite retreats in Bend, Oregon, and Ranthambore, Rajasthan. Our rental in Bend had a wall of windows that provided a beautiful view of the town below while the national park at Ranthambore gave us natural wilderness experience. All of us gathered in semi-circles and began our talks about life. We sat there for 15 hours each day; we took time to acknowledge each other, to address areas we were stuck, and create new possibilities. Muscles cramped, hunger set in, people got sleepy yet we pushed on. We pushed on because the five founders had made a declaration that In Time Tec would build its next generation of leaders and this was one way we were taking action on that declaration.
Building leaders is just one of the many declarations that I have made in my life and that we have made at In Time Tec. And that declaration to build our next generation of leaders stemmed from our larger company declaration and purpose: Creating Abundance. Beyond that, is the declaration I have made for my life: Life can be better for me and life can be better for those around me. That declaration has informed and guided every decision, interaction, situation in my life since I made it as a teenager.
Why declarations are powerful
There is a theory in linguistics called Linguistic Determinism. It is the strong form of linguistic relativity (popularly known as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis), and it offers that people experience the world based on the language they regularly use. Put more simply: language creates reality.
This is not a new idea. There have been scientific studies done that prove people experience time, view colors, and feel emotions differently based on their language. But more powerful proof exists in the lives and declarations of some of the greatest and most loving leaders in history.
All of those ordinary people became extraordinary once they created something that was otherwise not possible until it was declared. Their declarations have changed the world, and continue to do so. When you think about declarations for your life, do not underestimate the power of language. Once something is created in language, it becomes a possibility that did not exist before. You can create a new future for yourself and for others by making a declaration.
But there is more to it than simply making a declaration and hoping the universe delivers the results. You have to do the work.
Make your declaration
The declaration that In Time Tec will build its next generation leaders was our way of creating a new future. Our core leadership team recognized that we had gotten the company this far — $10 million revenue, five offices in the US and India, and 500 employees — but we could not get us to the next level without expanding the team. We could no longer fulfill on our declaration to create abundance alone. So we made an additional declaration to build more leaders.
As you look at your own life, think about what you are committed to. What do you want to accomplish, what do you want to transform?
Is it to be financially free? To get a promotion at work? To create a stronger bond in your marriage? To build an exciting future for your children? Whatever it is, declare it. You can make short-term declarations; “I will be financially free.” Or you can make lifelong declarations; “I will create a loving environment for those around me.”
So you have your declaration, now what? You can’t just sit there and expect the declaration to fulfill itself. Now it is time to take action.
When we made our declaration to build our next generation of leaders, we first had to decide who those people would be. Once that was decided, we had to identify the gaps in their skills and tools and what training and development would be needed to close those gaps. From there, we set up regular meetings and offsites to build those skills and tools.
What action do you need to take on your declaration? If you want to be financially free, a good place to start would be to analyze your current financial situation. From there, decide what debt you need to pay off and make a plan to do so. That might include cutting back on unnecessary expenses or taking on a second job. If you declare a stronger bond in your marriage, you could talk to your spouse and share with them your vision and decide on the action you can take together. So on and so forth.
But what happens when one of those actions doesn’t work or deliver the desired results? Take the time to reflect and reevaluate.
Reflect on outcomes and keep going
After we began to take action, we took a moment to look at what was working and what was not. One area we saw that was working is our hiring. We had interviewed and hired 30 people on the US side and 150 people in India, all without much intervention or guidance from the core leadership team. At the same time, we saw that some of our learning groups led by the new leaders were not working as effectively and powerfully as we knew they could. This caused us to pause and understand why they weren’t working.
We checked in with our leaders and asked them what they saw as working and not working and in those conversations identified some knowledge gaps that the core leadership team could address. We identified a breakdown, figured out what was missing, and then made an additional declaration to provide the skills and tools.
In your own life, you will stumble in living your declarations. When that happens, there is no need to beat yourself up and give up.
Simply figure out what went wrong, what was missing, and then reflect, learn, and readjust.
I can see how these smaller declarations throughout my life and in our company align with the overarching declaration of my life. When I made the declaration that life could be better for me and life can be better for others, the idea of In Time Tec was born. We started the company in 2009 and over the last ten years, that declaration has spurred dozens, if not hundreds, of other declarations. At our leadership offsite retreats, we created 11 total projects that will move our company forward in huge ways and those things were not possible until we made them so by declaring them.
When you take these steps — to make a declaration, take action, analyze the results, and make changes to keep going — you are creating a new future for yourself and those around you. So as you think about your own life, really get present to the powerful future you can create by making declarations using language and make them real by taking action as if your life depends on it.
Create your possibilities, declare them, and take action for your new future. That’s how you create your future and enjoy your present.