Oftentimes we rely on others to tell us what we are worth. We look at how our actions, accomplishments and ideas are received. We mistake opinion for value and feel less than when it’s not what we thought it would be. In a society where instant feedback lives in likes and emojis we really must work harder at knowing our value. But how do you know without feedback?
• Keep it real: Last week we talked about authenticity. That is the ultimate way to keep it real. Think about it this way- when you are your whole self and do not compromise your values, emotions, goals and dreams for others then you are in a place of self-love and acceptance.
• Hold yourself up to your standards: As humans we have our own internal compass of values and standards. We tend to hold them up and judge others under these rules. But what happens when we are honest with ourselves and hold ourselves accountable and leave everyone else out of it? Suddenly, we are in growth mode to improve/better ourselves in a way that satisfies our spirit versus projecting out judgment. You know what you are worth because you walk your walk and talk your talk. No one can do you better than you can.
• Honor yourself: Affirm each day what you are worth. This is an exercise in internal gratitude. We spend so much time telling ourselves what we do “wrong” that we forget all the things that we are doing well. Each morning tell yourself the truth- You are a fantastic human being that has done so much already and is doing so much more today. Love yourself enough to be enough. When you are in this space you will find that your value is more than what others think, your value is inherent and non-negotiable.
So now that you know what you are worth, what do you do with it? Use it as your compass to determine how you treat yourself, how you want to be treated and who/what you spend your time on. Suddenly you won’t have a tolerance (or better yet- not care) when the hatters come around trying to tell you your worth. You will be able to hear opinions for what they are worth, perceptions, and you will be able to more easily decide if they are valid for you or not.
PS. There is a lot of content in today’s blog that focuses on you. Some may read this and say, “this is fine, but we must also focus on others.” I am of the opinion that you can not effectively focus on others until you are clear in who you are, what you are worth and what you bring to the table to help others. Self-work does not happen at the cost of supporting the world but should happen before you can support others. So do the self-work first because you can’t hold others up if you don’t hold yourself up first.
“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” – Maya Angelou
Being true to yourself is always important. But being true to yourself and being authentic are two different things. Here is how it works:
• Being true to yourself does require some level of authenticity but it leaves room for your “work self.” You know what I am talking about, the one that speaks corporate lingo, doesn’t cuss, does not generally argue aka bite your tongue, and has the plans for climbing the corporate ladder. This is being true to yourself because you are working on your goals the best way you know how but its not your overall authentic self because you have to live in the corporate politics and/or making other people happy to get to where you want to be.
• Being Authentic does not have a work self. You are you, 100% of the time and that person is comfortable with themselves in all environments including corporate culture. Here is the biggest difference. This person is aware that they may not be a fit for everyone aka not everyone likes them, and they are OK with it. More than that, they embrace it as an opportunity to also evaluate why they may not like some of those people around them.
We love to measure things. After-all, there is that saying (or some version of it) “if you didn’t measure/write it, then it didn’t happen.” So how do you measure your success?
When thinking about success, we tend to lean back into the things that others can see:
• Did I get promoted
• Did I get a raise
• Did I get recognition, Did I win
We discount the things that can be seen but we don’t generally talk about:
• With that promotion, did you get less time at work?
• With that raise, did you improve your life or spend more?
• With that recognition, did you pay it forward/give credit to your team, coworkers etc.?
You work hard, do charity work, do your homework because you work and go to school, take care of your kids, significant others, parents, etc. Then it’s your turn………Well, guess what, you are doing it wrong.
There is a reason why during the safety briefing on a plane they tell you “put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others.” You are no go to those around you if you are not at your best. Being at your best requires self care. And here is a tip: self care is not selfish. Putting others first, and not taking care of you is not selfless either.
Self care means different things to different people. From taking quiet time, meditating, having a routine for your bath/shower, massage, full blown spa￼ day or just taking a walk in nature, your self care needs to be something that:
So, what’s your self care plan? Mine is spelled out on what my husband and I call the “family calendar”. I have yoga, intention setting session and dinner with friends all in the next 2 weeks.
Do you ever feel like you are pushing against a current? You want something but feel like you are fighting all the way to get there with little to no help or support? In turn, have you ever experienced when things just happen as if by magic? Everything aligns and comes easily. These are the opposite ends of what I call “being in the flow.”
So what is “the flow?” Think of your life journey as a river. Some areas run fast and other slow with pebbles and obstacles. Some are like water rapids. You are on the raft/canoe/wheel barrel riding down this river. Your job is to identify the current and be part of it, paddle to jump into a different current or paddle against the current.
When I am speaking with people that are struggling with making changes or deciding what to do next his I often hear: “well if I’m padding and feel resistance because I want to change direction that is a good thing right?” “I should have to fight to make a change.” “Change is not easy so it should feel a little like a struggle, right?” My answer to these questions and statements is NO, absolutely NOT.
Here is the thing. Being in the flow is a way for the universe, spirit or whatever is out there to help you know the difference between a good thing, a bad thing and a great thing. We have free will and so with that comes the paddle you use to steer. However, when you are going towards something great, that is for your highest and best interest, you don’t have to paddle much. It just happens for you. You are in the flow.
When you are moving towards a new current, yes you paddle, but there are intersecting points that move you towards that new current faster, more effectively and with less strife or work. Do it too early and it can be more difficult, do it too late and you might miss the current altogether. So how do you know when it’s time? Yeah I’m getting a little metaphysical here- listen to the signs. Here’s what I mean:
Tribe is defined as “a group of people, or a community with similar values or interests, a group with a common ancestor, or a common leader” (https://www.yourdictionary.com/tribe). We all have our tribes and play different roles depending on which tribes we are a part of. Your core tribe is the group of people that sustain you during the good, bad and ugly times. Other tribes develop through work and social relationships. Tribes are different from your regular relationships and acquaintances. Knowing who is in your tribe helps you to define safe spaces, safe conversations where you ideate, get feedback or just plain old get the truth (even if you won’t like it).
Your tribe is yours not because you were born into it but because you chose it. Choosing it happens organically, over time and irrespective of distance. No matter what tribe you are a part of, or how many people are in it, there are four core elements that are always present and will help you know who truly is in your tribe:
• Support: Not the fake “I am here for you” kind. The kind that gets in the car, picks you up and says “we are getting through this together.”
• Encouragement: Not the cheerleaders…… The ones that are actually pushing you to build your dreams, tell you that you can do it and go to all things that you invite them to and say great job, do it again. Think mom & dad going to your first dance, piano, or other such recitals that are pretty much epic and not at all what we want them to be. They told you that you were great (even though now you know better). That is real encouragement.
• Truth: That friend or family member you love, and then you hate because they DID NOT tell you what you wanted to hear but what you NEEDED to hear. You know who they are.
• Connectors: Those people that come to mind first when you need to figure something out and don’t know where to start. They know people, places and can get you going in the right direction and will not take advantage of you or your questions for their enjoyment.
We have talked about keeping your balance. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, here are several short podcasts originally shared through the Harvard Business review on mental health and work, being the "only" one and other great candid conversations from leaders on keeping the balance and getting help and support when there is none. I want to thank MaryAnn Cruz, super awesome business coach, for pointing me in this direction! It takes a village. If you would like to know MaryAnn, you can learn more at maryanncruz.co
The Anxious Achiever: Rethink Mental Health at Work with Candid Stories from Leaders Who've Been there
So, what are you doing for you today? For me, today I took some time off this AM from my work to spend the day with one of my good friends. Connecting with friends and loved ones is an awesome way to recharge and get perspective. Next up on the blog list: Let's talk about your Tribe.
While it is true that employees with some frequency change jobs, and sometimes roles within a company, to get away from a non-functioning relationship with a manager, there are times when employees leave the company culture. Company cultures have personalities, quirks and nuances that make them unique. No two are alike and like managers, sometimes the cultures are not self-aware or a good fit for high performing individuals.
Company cultures evolve, develop and change just like managers grow and develop through experiences. Company cultures, however, evolve based on what is perceived as values by employees and leaders. Sure, companies have their mission and vision to define value and goals but these values are colored by the myriad of personalities and interpretations within a company. Sometimes, the culture, as defined, is aspirational, while in action it’s a lot muddier and difficult to navigate.
It’s easy to say that people leave their managers. However, when you see a series of high performing individuals leave, you have to ask the question, is it really management or is this a symptom of our culture? This is not an easy question to ask when companies set values such as inclusive, collaborative, supportive, and innovative. In an age where diversity and inclusion are buzz words, companies really promote the positive aspects of their eco system and may turn a blind eye to other symptoms within the environment that may be reflective of unhealthy behaviors that are inadvertently supported by the culture.
Self- awareness is not something that applies to individuals, it also applies to companies. Companies, through their leadership teams, need to have a full understanding of what employees perceive the culture in action to be. Having real dialogue with employees about how they perceive the culture and being vulnerable enough to ask the tough questions: “are we really collaborative; do you feel included AND that you belong; do you think others feel like they belong; in our supportive environment, do you think you have a voice?; is there anything that gives you angst about working here?” and not discounting these as individual experiences, but really taking in the information and identifying themes will give leaders the opportunity to get a sense for how the culture, in action, is affecting employees.
So, leaders, ready to start a real dialog about company culture?
We all know what good leadership looks like. From empathy, collaboration, vision, supportive, and a myriad of other adjectives, we know what we like and what we want in our leaders. We emulate these examples. But how do we know the difference between a good leader and a fantastic, blow your socks off, you would follow them to the end of the world better leader. Here are some clues:
- Vested Interest: Good leaders are vested in the team and process. They drive success with compassion and ensure that their teams are performing optimally, sometimes saying “team first” individuals second. But better leaders put their people first, ahead of any results or even the team. A team is only as strong as its weakest link. Better leaders understand that results come from every single person. Great results happen when each individual is engaged which requires a leader to pay attention to more than the whole. Each person in a team is key.
- Focus on potential not likeability: Yes I am going to talk a little about unconscious bias. We all have it and its part of human nature. We all know we need to be more self aware, etc, etc. Good leaders tend to spend time with those who are delivering results and sometimes (and lets tell the truth) begrudgingly, with those not performing as well. I would propose to you that a better leader is spending time on each individual’s potential versus the current results. This is a very different process. It takes equal time to develop high and low performers. It takes equal time to engage them in challenging assignments that stretch them to maximum potential. This also eliminates the “likeability” factor: I like you better or I like your results better. Focusing on potential elevates everyone in the team, showing you are a better leader and have a deep vested interest in everyone.
Once in a while I will have someone that books an appointment to plot out their career. This to me is always a very interesting conversation. Most people will come in and say " I have career aspirations. I would like to be in x position in the next 2 years." Some even follow up with their big career dream "I want to run the company someday."
Career paths are riddled with twists, turns and some setbacks or pauses. It's not a straight road and sometimes the path may not have even been paved yet. Because career pathing can be tricky I like to hear a person out on what their vision is and then ask:
If you look at your career path without titles or names, what does it look like? Are you helping people? Are you creating something? At what scale? Where in the world? To me these questions get to the core of who you want to be in your career. No title needed. And the byproduct is that you feel more fulfilled because you are in your sweet spot.
So, what's your career path without the titles? Who are you in that space and how does it support and enrich the rest of your life?