What are your New Year's traditions?
Resolutions? Goals? A mantra? A bucket list or checklist? What about a word or two? My thought partner and I pick three words each year that we will hold tight to during the highs and lows of the year.
The purpose of these words is to keep us centered, inspired, moving forward, and focused on our goals! However, as I contemplate my words for 2022 (this is a very important and introspective process), I am torn because the word at the top of my list has such a negative connotation.
After a search in the Miriam Webster Dictionary, the Thesaurus, and a little research on the history of this word, I feel an overwhelming need to defend this word. I think it is important for my growth, success, dreams, and maybe yours.
So here it goes, I will say it out loud - at the top of my list, I am choosing UNCOMFORTABLE.
To review, the definition of uncomfortable is: Causing or feeling slight pain or physical discomfort, OR - causing or feeling unease or...
I believe in JOY, even at work. This statement may sound a little Polyana, but I have experienced it in the corporate world and as a coach. I believe you can too. However, it is work (not the job - finding the joy).
Looking for joy? Then it is time to begin your quest for the path that leads you to that magical experience we all deserve. To start, are you even on the right track? Has the career path you have taken brought you something to look forward to next week, next month, or next year? Do you see a clear path ahead for your career?
If the path is correct, then is the work meaningful to you? So many get lost because they start their careers worried about what their parents expected or what their college peers believed they should be doing, and they find it hard to pursue their dreams after a few years in the job market. What do you believe? Whether you are keeping the cafeteria clean at the elementary school or working towards world peace, every job is essential...
Your company needs you right now. They are scrambling to bring on talent to the organization, and you sit at your desk waiting for them to make the hire. This new colleague is supposed to take some work off your plate and bring a little more balance to your life.
If these new hires are vital to you and your organization, then it is time to step up.
This move will not only enhance your leadership profile both in the industry and with your company, but it will also get the recruiters singing your praises at work.
Reach out to your Talent Acquisition team to find out what jobs they are struggling to fill and take these steps:
Do you believe that the grass is greener?
I absolutely believe the grass is greener, but like everything else in life, it is situational. The key to a good move is running to something instead of running from something. To do that, you have to make sure that you have gotten the most out of your experience with your current employer.
The benefits of tenure are often underestimated. However, time in position gives you certain milestones that will take longer to develop when frequently changing jobs.
Take problem-solving, for example; it is easy to walk into a new situation and be a superstar. But can you build and sustain a long-term strategy of success? Can you beat last year's numbers? You build real grit when you stay through the good times and the bad.
Let's talk about relationships, and be honest...not everyone has been a joy to work with during your career. However, longevity in a position helps you build your influencing skills....
Think back as your career grew - who was there for you? Every leader that has popped in and out of your career has had some significance, but you probably did not realize it at the time.
A few stood out as I reflected on how the leaders I had worked for impacted my growth and career.
My first leader
My first leader approached every day looking for a way to build my confidence and help me succeed. She would pull me aside and say, "you know, if it were me, I would do it this way." Or, "you know Lisa (her boss) would be very impressed if you.........." and she would follow it up with "take it - it's your idea," she would smile and walk off. She let me cut my chops, make lots of mistakes, wanted me to feel good about myself and become confident in making decisions.
The one that gave me the big break
I knew what I wanted to do, but HR said that I was "in no way qualified." Way to let you down easy! So he protested and said that he would do without if they were not...
One of my favorite leaders always discussed the career arc when presenting potential candidates to the team. He wanted to know that they still wanted more; even if it was not moving to the next position or level in their career, they needed to want to achieve more, be more and give more. If they had stalled out and lost their curiosity, they were not getting the job.
So, where are you in your career arc? Have you reached the goals you set out for yourself? If you are living your dream, what is next? Many hit the goals they set out to achieve but then get lost in day-to-day work and wake up unsatisfied or exhausted. Just a thought, even if you currently believe there is not another title ahead of you - there is always room to grow. When faced with success, why do we become complacent to our own limiting beliefs? What can you do to make sure you aren't already sliding down the back end of the slope?
But wait -before investing more time in work, step back...
This past year has been an eye-opening experience for everyone. No one I know is the same, and there have been a lot of lessons learned.
These are just a few that stand out to me.
Difficult decisions had to be made. Of course, leadership is always full of difficult decisions, but these were some of the hardest in your career because of the uncertainty of the moment and the impact on so many lives.
This leads to it was not personal; it was business. We saw leaders in anguish, trying their best to figure out the magic combination of balance sheets, furloughs, and inevitably in many cases, layoffs.
Everyone sacrificed. Our front-line workers gave and gave beyond what was humanly possible. Many professionals worked more hours than ever and faced situations that, at moments, seemed impossible. On the other hand, many feel guilty because they were not there to help with the solutions due to being furloughed....
Sound like a weird question? It is a metaphor I often use when asking clients what size company they enjoy working in? This is an important question when dreaming about the possibilities of your career.
It is a personal preference, and you should try all sizes. Still, eventually, most professionals find a company size that they feel most comfortable working in for one reason or another.
Not sure what size pond you prefer? Here are some pros and cons to working in each size company.
Large organizations are great because they offer so many different career paths. The further you progress in your career, the more opportunities you have to lead large teams and work cross-functionally with departments that may not exist in other companies. But, being a great leader is important, or your team may feel like a number and get lost in the crowd.
It is easier for your teams to be recognized in a medium-sized organization than a larger...
Some of my most interesting work conversations are with friends, colleagues, and clients who have had a rough day at work. They are ready to flee for various reasons. They think their boss doesn't like them. They are overworked, underappreciated, behind on a project, or not enjoying their job as much as they had previously.
And then I remind them, everybody has dysfunction at work.
You know, that small part of the culture that is thinly veiled on Glassdoor. During the interview, when you asked about it, they glossed over it with a generic answer. Then when you left the interview, you wondered if you should be concerned (there is always a little truth to it, but remember it may not be the full story).
Here are a few examples of the dysfunction you may experience on a bad day: