Nine months into being a new mom and I’m getting to see things through the eyes of a newcomer to this world. From her point of view, everything is little, everyone is new and anything is possible. As she tries to stand up, if she stretches her arm just a bit more, she will have a sturdy place to hold on. If she steps a little farther, she will be well balanced. It won’t take much, but for her it’s the difference between standing and falling.
Taking little steps and making small adjustments is how you learn and grow and evolve.
An old adage tells us that “if you wait to drink when you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.” Modern wisdom, and biology, challenges this by saying that thirst is the body’s way of telling us we need water, so it’s in fact ok to wait until you reach the point of thirst.
But why wait until the need is so great? What might you miss out on by not proactively nourishing your body (and mind) with what you know it needs?
Why wait to have the conversations you know you need to have?
I’ll never forget the first time I took on a management role. I remember being mostly concerned with when review cycles take place, what the vacation policy was, and where is that form for approving a new laptop? I figured if I created a nicely formatted checklist, I'd be good to go.
Then I realized that this management thing was personal.
Everyone gets “triggered” by something in the workplace. Whether you feel like you aren’t receiving all the information, or you dislike someone’s communication style, triggers are different for everyone and usually incite a strong emotion like anger, frustration or disappointment.
The experience of being triggered has three general steps: an outside force or action, an internal emotional response and then an external reflex. With greater awareness and mindfulness of the action and the response, you can manage your reflex, because the reflex is what’s actually in your control.
I don’t actually believe in mistakes. I believe there are things you choose to do, and things you choose not to do based on your circumstances and context. For example, many of the following 7 pieces of advice would have helped me immensely in my first job when I felt overwhelmed by ambiguity on a daily basis. But now I have that experience to thank for my unwavering ability to stay calm in the most stressful work situations.
For me, it has always been about the journey, the ups and down and in-betweens. My journey has been a continuous build of who I am, and so has yours.
Without further ado, here’s what I would tell myself, and anyone else looking for a little reminder.
The workplace blame game can get a little hairy.
I fundamentally believe that an organization works as a holistic ecosystem, and every part of the ecosystem has an important role and responsibility in how it works together. It’s never just one element in isolation that causes an organization to be out of balance, it’s rather the ripple effects.