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Start with the Why. The Rest Will Follow.

Throughout your career and life, you have the opportunity to make choices that will lead you down the path to what you consider ‘success.’ This path may look very different each year, or even week, but most likely it’s always a very good indicator of what you are meant to be doing at the given time, and directly related to your purpose, or your ‘why.’ Starting With Why

Ask yourself about the past week or two, and what you’ve been achieving, and where you’ve been procrastinating. When you actually dig deep, it’s easy to see what your focus is and the lengths you’ll take to achieve it. Looking back on my year, I can pinpoint key defining moments:

  • Why did I devote months of time to a project at work?
  • Why did one colleague make me think more about my future and career/life trajectory than anything one else over the course of 13 years?
  • Why did I stop worry so much about my son’s medical future and stop googling?
  • Why did I start working out so hard again?
  • Why am I procrastinating on assignments at work?
  • Why am I so willing to ditch housework and preconceived ideas about ‘the way to live’ to fulfill my own happiness?
  • Why did I stop watching TV 11 months ago?
  • Why am I determined to be closer to family?
  • Why does traveling without a set destination seem so important to shaping my boys personalities?

I can tell you an exact reason for each of these. I won’t. But all of these items are questions that I am answering by actions and decisions unbeknownst to me at times, but all that make complete sense to me as I keep pushing forward into what I know is next. They are all grounded in who I am as a person and what I want my legacy to be. Curiosity. Hard work. Passion for experiences. Greater understanding and education. An open heart free of judgement about people’s life decisions.

We know it‘s imperative that successful companies should start with the why when strategic planning and defining values for their employees to abide by. And we, as professionals, individuals, parents, and seekers should as well.  No ones life should have a strategic plan to follow (but a two year plan is cool), but if you can’t wake up everyday, and answer ‘what am I going to accomplish today’ with the guiding force of ‘why you are doing it’ – re-calibrate and start over.

 

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I’m Sorry I Got the Corner Office – Said No One Ever

I have long believed in practicing a ‘no bullshit’ approach to managing my team. If there is something wrong, if I see emotions that need to be checked, or unfairness due to personality conflicts – I step in and say something immediately. Apologies are issued if necessary, otherwise, I have coached my team to never say ‘sorry’ for things outside of their doing or control. However, managing a team with this approach vs practicing this approach yourself can be harder than it seems.

I’ve been extremely cognizant of my reaction to when emotional situations have occurred and my reaction. This year, I’m not proud. At times I’ve done the opposite of what I’d recommend to my employees and mentees.  I’ve said ‘I’m sorry’ more than a million times for things I can’t control (ie the weather), I retreat, blame my abilities, question myself,  play the martyr role and internalize the horrible thoughts that surface – ie ‘maybe I’m not cut out for business’ or ‘I’m too nice to ever move into that type of position.’

shutterstock_430181062This has to stop. If you are being passed up for more responsibility when you know you are capable of the role, or if you are being removed from conversations, step in and say something. It’s okay to feel mad and confused and worried about your ability to fake it as you deal with the transition at the same time as managing your employee’s perception of you, all the while ensuring it doesn’t affect the quality of your work. This isn’t easy, and it’s likely you haven’t been coached through this yet in your career.

As we all tackle the ebbs and flows of career growth, emotional intelligence, and an attempt at stability should be used to your advantage, not downfall . There are hundreds of articles about what it takes to move up the ladder, and intuition and emotional intelligence always rank near the top of the skill set. More importantly, they are innate, and can’t usually be taught through training but really do set you apart from being a manager and a leader.

So, as I was recently lovingly told, don’t apologize. Get your shit together. Write your feelings down, map out a plan, and then address conflict the proper way, without allowing guilt or fear play a role.

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