Perhaps like me, you’ve had people who have tried to discourage you in your career. Or, you have had second thoughts about your career path. Despite that, if you are reading this, you persevered. The depth of coverage on the recent passing of monumental females left me feeling particularly curious about the timing behind a current Elle magazine article shaming women who dare to have ambition and dreams. The Elle article invited me to write a response; a piece that challenges this fashionable trend and celebrates ambition and dreams. Does groundbreaker describe your dream?
When you hear or read, do you spend more energy on how to understand or how to label the content? One way of determining if you are a leader is whether you listen more to learn or to judge. When your mind is trying to understand, it is open to all kinds of possibilities. You are trying to make connections with the new information to the information you already hold in your brain. This allows for many new pathways for the information to go. It’s the route of knowledge. If you are labeling, you are making a decision, often quickly, to dismiss new information or hold onto it. You are not processing for further use. While one is an open-door approach, the other is a closed-door approach. Which would you rather be – a leader or a judge?
We’re all trying to find the right balance personally and professionally through this pandemic, and we’ll keep at it because sometimes we’re successful even if it’s fleeting. If you are a leader, consider the welfare of your young talent, providing them with the resources they need from their perspective is a win-win for everyone. People benefit from being thought of holistically and not just professional roles or titles. And you do, too. Find your right balance for work and life, mix or combo.
There’s great reason to appreciate the child in all of us, and not just at the holidays. While we may be struggling with that notion because of how difficult life can be, even the exercise of trying to see from an inner innocence is a good thing. The joy, wonder, and the awe. That inner innocence can be a wonderful tool for our professional and personal lives. And, it’s becoming a trend.
In the virtual example and in reality, when someone feels seen, they pass their pride and joy from that memory to others they interact with during the day so the good feelings spread. So, in recognizing a team member privately or a colleague, their appreciation for that approval works to spread positive emotions among colleagues, clients and team members they work with. A great number of people are then affected by a demonstration of recognition and approval for one person. Even if you may not identify with a desire to be recognized, many people do, particularly younger professionals. And, it could make the difference between holding onto a valued team member or giving them a reason to look for a new job.
Is building a strong network important for you? Or is it only for those other people? Years ago, I attended a panel and drinks for Williams College alums in New York City, where I live. A graduate, who is a friend, invited me. The panel was on Millennials who had made it in the media world. One of the strategic development executives on the panel said that he rose in the ranks at the large agency he called home, not because he was better qualified or had a better resume, but because of his network and his determination to building strong connections. He was known for being a master networker. If anyone needed anything, he could find it.
Who has contributed to your achievement and shaped who you are today? There’s probably more than one person once you start thinking about this. And they probably supported you in different ways and times throughout your life. Role models, mentors and coaches. Is it still meaningful (or even more meaningful) for you to have someone holding you accountable who sees your potential and supports you to reach your goals?
Look how far you’ve come. Without mistakes in your past, you couldn’t have the history to bring you to where you are today. You understand humans are imperfect. That’s why we are continual students. When we make mistakes, we learn more – than from doing something right the first time. From failing, we grow and stretch and challenge ourselves. When you make a mistake, would you prefer someone with compassion teach you where you went wrong so you don’t repeat the same thing twice, and you learn? How about when the tables are turned, would you also be as compassionate?
Can a conversation with a grocery store team worker, make you see and experience the joy and encouragement created out of this global pandemic? When life changes because of circumstances beyond your control, you can choose to see it as an opportunity to recalibrate, redefine and rework your plans for the future. The global pandemic connects us all as one people, regardless of age, culture, country and beliefs. Organizations are transitioning, the environment is flourishing, and families are spending quality time together. What do you choose to see and do with this special moment in time?
Have you experienced when people access the specialness and individuality in you and it resonates with them? It occurs when you are authentically you, speaking your truth, being open. You can feel the connection. With you as a role model, it encourages people to be more authentic, do more, be more. When this happens you bring your whole self to your work, rather than the “should be, need to be, have to be” that plays in our minds from things we’ve seen or learned over the years. When you are in the “should be” position rather than the “be” position, you can command people but you can’t reach them. If you can’t reach them, you will not inspire them to reach for their potential.