In my coaching practice, I work with clients who are most often looking to change. It may be a job, a career path, or a different way of approaching something. Whatever the reason, we work toward establishing a viable plan. Once in place, I always ask the most important question – what will you take with you and what are you going to leave behind?
Most often the client is surprised. Why? Because they don’t realize they have a choice.
I was invited to a special event recently where I was introduced to Scott Mcgillivray, host of Income Properties TV show. This CIBC sponsored event showcased Scott speaking on where financial expertise meets real estate and renovation ingenuity. Not normally my thing.
But, Scott’s message resonated with me and here’s why. If you are going to invest in real estate then be prepared to stay in it for the long haul. The biggest profits come to those willing to look beyond short-term results.
I confess – I lean toward being a big picture kind of person. I get frustrated with details. I dream, I vision and I get going on making them happen. I look to others to sort out the technical and minutiae.
Over the years I have let go of so many little things I thought were important because they caused me a lot of stress. But there are some things that just shouldn’t vanish. They are the small details that make life better.
These are the top 5 little things I pay attention to:
This age-old adage spoken by my granny in my youth still sits loudly inside me. As a shy, anxious young girl I was always looking ahead at what was to come. This caused no end of fretfulness and worry. My tummy was a bundle of nervous butterflies most of the time.
I can only guess now that my granny pulled out this saying in the hopes it would calm me down. It took years for it to sink in. In fact it wasn’t until my mid 40’s that I started to pay attention to it. My daughter was like me (without the shyness) and prone to panic over what was ahead. “Don’t borrow trouble”, I would tell her. Hmmm.
I realized I wasn’t following my own advice. So I looked deeper into what this statement really meant. The answer is control.
This is something I have been wondering about. Now maybe I am slow to pick up on it, but I have been noticing there are a lot of women hitting a mid career chasm. I see it with acquaintances and clients.
It seems to creep up on women in their late 30’s and to mid 40’s. It is insidious when it gets hold. It seems to start with a slow burn inside that manifests in unhappiness, frustration and waning confidence. I wouldn’t call it a mid life crisis – these women have happy marriages and family lives. Rather it is focused on their jobs and careers.
These women all have differing backgrounds and life stories. What they share in common is the mid career chasm. It is as if they have woken up from 15+ years of a career they are now questioning. They seek passion and a way to make a difference in the world. And for some, the realization they are unlikely to make it to the corporate C-suite has them disillusioned.
Up until a few years ago I believed that the faster I moved and the harder I worked, I would reach the Holy Grail of success. In today’s fast-paced world it was so easy to ramp myself up to follow the illusion of ambition. I put in long hours at work and self identified as a “high producer”. I became addicted to the thrill of creating at a fast pace. The endorphins would flow and I would announce unabashedly to my boss “I LOVE my job!” And at times I did love my job. But there was a cost.
Fast forward several years and everything is different – especially my perspective. I have learned that life is a marathon – not a sprint.
So what changed?
This weekend I am heading to Off the Charts, a conference on creating an on-line business. So appropriate given that I am a total neophyte when it comes to the virtual world. And yet I know it is the new economy. What is a coach doing going to an event like this? Why not a coaching conference?
The answer is simple; having a business, no matter what it is, can be a deep learning curve. I made a commitment to myself that during my first year in business I would invest in learning things I know little about. Next year I will again prioritize where my learning needs to be focused.
Not long ago, I was chatting with a colleague about what it is like to lose a job. With a big smile and chuckle she said “everyone should get fired at least once in their life.” I laughed back, realizing she is absolutely right!
Sure, getting fired is lousy and can be devastating. Having control to make the decision to leave or stay in your job taken from you can be a hard pill to swallow. This is true whether it was due to restructuring or if it wasn’t the right fit. But (yes there is a big But), it can also provide an enormous opportunity if you let it. Here are 5 ways to get the best out of losing your job:
1. Learn from your experience – What will you take with you and what can you discard? This takes deep reflection on understanding what worked well in your job and what didn’t. This could be your perception on your performance, your relationship with your superior, colleagues or your staff. Or it could be your work habits or skill set and whether it was used to potential. And what are your values and did they line up with the organization you were in.
I was recently chatting with a girlfriend of mine, a manager in a company. She asked me “Why is it that kindness isn’t part of leadership?” She went on to explain that the feedback she often receives notes her kindness (including being too kind). She receives very little, if any feedback on her leadership strengths and competencies.
I pondered this very good question. I looked back into all my leadership books for the word kindness. It was cited very few times and usually alongside the words “integrity” and “respect”. It made me wonder if we tend to think of it as an element of integrity? I think it is something distinct that can and should be considered a characteristic of leadership.
In last week’s blog I talked about being a maverick. The response was huge with many comments. One that stands out for me was from Richard Conde who asked, “how do companies and/or senior leaders facilitate a culture where calculated risk taking and rule breaking are encouraged?”
That is a really good question. Just type into google, “corporate innovation”, and you will find loads of information telling us why organizations and businesses need to cultivate a culture of innovation. The world has changed and with it so is the need to move quicker, change constantly and be highly responsive to customer needs.
Then why is it that organizations have such a difficult time responding to those needs? And what aren’t they recognizing that could be right under their noses? The mavericks.