When you think about it, most inter-relational events happen not in a vacuum but as the culmination of a series of smaller occurrences. A lot of the time the series of events happens almost imperceptibly. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Who’s in your network? We have talked about those that influence, connect and support us. But are those folks in your network all from the same or similar background, same level and or the same company that you work for? Here’s the thing, you are not maximizing your network or its power if its comprised of the same type of people.
For example: Imagine if one day you decide that you want to become a consultant in your area of expertise. Who would you reach out to that has already paved some of the way, done the work to start up or has a clear line of sight at some of the hurdles? If you haven’t added people with entrepreneurial spirit and experience in your network then you will be starting from scratch. Now let's push this example a little further. Maybe you do not want to go the entrepreneurial route. Do you think you could benefit from the experiences of someone who has started a business or two, has developed his or her own product and is able to articulate value because that is what drives their business? When put into this context I am sure you are saying “of course!!!” yet I wonder (and you should too) have you built those relationships already?
I debated for a while on posting something about what’s going on in America these past couple of weeks. Here’s the thing: this is not news to me. This is the culmination of thousands of events that have now brought us to a tipping point. The question now is: where do we go from here?
Lead with compassion: Trust that you won’t ever really know another person’s experience but that your commitment to supporting each other through this shift is necessary.
Listen with a quiet mind so you can hear the words and the pain: You can’t have compassion if you don’t take the time to listen and learn. Not just to the cries of people of color suffering but to the cries of our white brothers and sisters trying to make sense of this. We all have a hand in why our country is suffering right now. We ALL have a duty to listen. We ALL have a duty to not blame or point fingers but to embrace each other, forgive and heal.
Here’s my point: We can all talk over each other and say our peace about what’s right and wrong but if we can’t be quiet, listen and know that people are coming from a place of truth, for them, based on their experiences, we will NEVER move on.
If you are a leader pay attention. People are watching and listening to what you say and do. That is a heavy weight to carry. But it’s yours so use your voice wisely, lead from a platform of compassion and be the first to shut up and listen. People will follow your lead.
So: How are you dealing with all of this?
It’s Saturday. What are you up to? I know, it’s still #quarantine2020 for a lot of us. Not a lot to do, see, experience…….Really? I wonder……I made a choice to invest in myself this weekend by taking a weekend long virtual conference on how to develop virtual events. I know!!! All weekend…on Zoom! I bet you are thinking, is it worth it since we are on Zoom/Skype/Virtual all week. My question to you is: are YOU WORTH IT????
Seriously. Taking time for self development should be one of the more energizing things you do. As we start getting back to the world, giving not just self care, but self development time to yourself is key to re-entering an event changing world. The key word is giving. This is a gift to yourself and its just as important that you give to you as it is to give to others.
So- What’s your self development for today? Are you trying something new? Taking a new risk? Learning something outside your comfort zone? Get to it people! no better time than the present.
As states start to reopen it feels like we are seeing a light at the end of the proverbial quarantine tunnel. You are probably hearing statements like “we are coming back to the life that we used to have.” We may very well returning to “normal” but how you return is up to you. I invite you to take a couple of moments of introspection with me and think about your “comeback.”
– What did you learn?: Often we don’t ask this question enough. I don’t mean the “what did you learn about the world, work, your partner/husband/friends.” I mean what did you learn about you? Are you resilient, tolerant, intolerant? Do you love and accept yourself as you are? Did you really need Starbucks (OK…..I do, I love it……) or are you good with a regular cup of coffee? We had a lot of time to be with ourselves. Do you see yourself in a different light? Maybe even have a lot more respect for yourself? This was not an easy road. We all have been impacted in different ways but I hope you can walk away with a stronger sense of self. I know I have.
I hope everyone is healthy and staying safe. These are strange and interesting times. Today I wanted to take a moment and reach out to you and make sure you are keeping up with your routine, staying present and reaching out/reaching in. I made a little video (trying out new things since I am sheltered in place). Let me know what you think and how you are staying in routine.
Reaching Out Video
I am sure you can relate: You think about someone or a situation and your mind plays the multiple scenarios in which things can go really well or really wrong. Better yet you practice the argument/fight in your head before it ever happens. Sound familiar? Here is a way to get out of that mental loop that does not serve you.
Step 1: Stay Present
We do this all the time and think its OK because its our brain on automatic. It’s actually not OK. Stay present and pay attention to your thoughts. That way you know what thoughts are triggering what emotions (yes, even the fake fights in your head create anxiety). If you are present and aware then you can also feel those emotions coming on and you can do something about it.
Staying present does something else. It lets you evaluate if your reaction is based on what is happening right now or based on past experience (even past experience that may be completely unrelated to your current situation). For example: I have a great relationship with a friend now. It did not use to be this way. We used to be pretty contentious. My issue was that I knew someone that was “like her.” And assumed I would get the same treatment from my friend as I did from the frenemy I used to have. Had I not stayed present and observed my current friend’s behavior I would have missed out on a great relationship strictly because I “just knew” how things were going to go.
Step 2: Self Dialogue
Yes I am back to this- talk to yourself and ask: These thoughts, is it my reality right now? Why am I preparing for a fight? Is the fight right now or am I guessing its going to happen? What is really happening right now?
I know what you are thinking “Delpha, really? Love languages at work?” Yes, really. Our use of language tends to separate how we feel about work. We use words like passion, drive, engagement, collaboration, etc. to talk about our state of being or actions at work. I would propose to you that we are human, our feelings don’t get new names when we go to work and therefore looking at work through the lenses of the 5 love languages makes sense.
If you don’t know the 5 love languages, I highly encourage you to read or audio book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It’s a great, easy read with a quiz to identify your love languages and that of your friends, significant others and family. Here is the gist of it. There are 5 love languages that humans use to express love: Acts of Service; Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. At work, these play a role in how we show appreciation or see all those work words I listed above in our co-workers, employees and associates. Here is an example:
Words of Affirmation: This is my primary love language. For me, it is most important to be told that I am valued by my employer. My employer, like many others, is an entity (yes, since humans run the company you need to assume that as a group, the company has feelings too) who’s primary love language is receiving gifts which means that when they decide on raises, bonuses, etc. they are actually using their love language to express how they value you. If your are like me you are going to look at this and say “Great! But what about my words of affirmation- can you say you like me versus showing me?” If you take a step back and acknowledge that your employer may not be a words of affirmation then it makes sense that you may not see/hear these words often but you may be shown “the love” through rewards and recognition, compensation and in ways that the company, as an entity, expresses its appreciation.
Oftentimes we intermingle our network with our Tribe. While there is value when your tribe includes people that are also part of your network you really want to focus on the composition of your network as a separate and apart sphere in your universe of influence.
So, what is a network and why is it different from your Tribe? Does it matter? To refresh on the makeup of a Tribe, visit my prior post: Your Tribe
Your network is a breathing, living thing. It ebbs, flows and changes with time. The tie to your Tribe is in those people that are your connectors. However, your Network should also include:
Advocates: People that speak up positively for you, your skills, personality, etc. when you are not in the room.
Sponsors: Those that are looking out for you. They identify opportunities for your growth and ensure you have a seat at the table.
Other Connectors: People that know people of influence that can help you get that coffee meeting, first interview, etc.