In today's increasingly connected yet emotionally distant world, we're often left grappling with a common question: "What's the metric for true success?"
This query isn't limited to the C-suite or shareholder meetings; it seeps into the very fabric of our lives, influencing the way we relate to ourselves and the world around us.
Our society praises the idea of 'more.' More revenue, more accomplishments, more data points on our résumés. Yet, what if the most critical factor for impactful leadership and a fulfilling life isn't necessarily 'more' but 'deeper'?
Asking 'Why?' is the beginning of depth. When we ask 'Why?' we're engaging with our environment on a profoundly intimate level, scrutinizing its complexities and nuances. It’s similar to my experiences serving on a US Navy nuclear submarine, an environment where understanding the 'Why?' behind every action wasn't a philosophical exercise but a life-or-death necessity.
When we dived to test depth, the deepest point a submarine could safely operate, it wasn't the broad expanse of the ocean that captivated our attention but the incredible details: the sensing of the two-inch thick HY-80 steel compressing, the noticeable quietness enveloping us, the intensified focus and awareness each crew member displayed.
The recent tragic loss of five souls aboard the submersible Titan emphasizes the existential implications of depth, both literally and metaphorically. Such extreme circumstances prompt heightened awareness, not just as a matter of protocol but as a survival instinct. It forces us to strip away the superficiality that often clouds our judgment and to interact with our environment in a more meaningful way.
In our roles as leaders, friends, family members, or even introspective individuals, what would happen if we approach life with the same acute awareness and attention to depth? Imagine the quality of connections we could forge and the authentic experiences we could unlock.
This is not just about minimizing risks or avoiding mistakes, but about fully engaging with the opportunities and challenges before us. Depth, in this context, isn’t a quantifiable metric but a quality of engagement. It challenges us to embrace the 'Why?' of what we do, whether in a business venture, a personal relationship, or a journey of self-discovery.
Depth enriches our understanding, nourishes authentic relationships, and instills a sense of wonder and respect for the complexities that life offers. Unlike breadth, depth requires a kind of bravery—to forego the easy answer, to challenge the status quo, to ask 'Why?' even when the world is content with 'What?' and 'How?'
Let's embark on this journey, not by scanning the vast horizons but by diving deep. For it is in the depths that we find the substance, the meaning, and the purpose that make life and leadership truly worthwhile.
Are you ready to dive deep?
Bill Fox, Founder @ LeaderONE, SpaceB, and Forward Thinking Workplaces