No matter how self-aware we are, there are always things we’re missing about ourselves. Having a good friend or mentor shine a bit of light on our struggles can create breakthroughs. 2015 brought several lessons into my life.
Figure out how to be heard, even when no one’s listening. Then make it happen.
This was a lesson for giants. The passive employee mentality is to take an idea to a minimal point, suggest it to the boss, wait for the reaction, and if it’s not rainbows and fireworks, to mope and let the idea fade away. Then, of course, never take that risk again and warn the coworkers not to as well.
The boss can’t be responsible for carrying every concept forward, opening every door, and knowing what to do with every suggestion. We all have to take responsibility for ourselves, for our careers, and for our ideas. Yes is yes. No is maybe. Maybe, not sure, we’ll see, let’s revisit that later are instead forge ahead, think creatively, find out whose ideas are being heard, advance it further, enroll others, flesh it out. We have to let go of the ego. Let go of the credit. Make. It. Happen.
Identify the limiting narratives running on repeat in my life. Stop them.
We do this…a lot. Everyone carries the baggage of their life around with them everywhere. We use the experiences that purchased that baggage to fill in the story of what’s happening now, even when we don’t know the story yet. Sometimes what we’re filling in is killing us. Zapping us of our strength and courage. Stealing our optimism.
For me, the narrative is a tale of mentors, coaches, and bosses. I’ve had a lot of them and have spent years being frustrated. The story I’ve been cycling includes: They underestimate me. They don’t see my value. They don’t care about developing me. They don’t appreciate what I’m capable of and on and on and on with more self-limiting crap. I had to stop so I could take ownership of my life and my attitude. No one else can do that for me, and it’s incredibly unfair to go around asking the advisors of my life to carry that burden on my behalf. It’s my burden. It’s my opportunity. It’s my life.
No matter how much my positive energy can be an asset to a group, my negative energy can be even more of a burden. Take responsibility for that.
I’m a loud guy who talks a lot. It’s just the truth, and I used to feel bad about it. I imagine there’s a lot of, “Who’s the loud guy?” going on around me at any given point. The beautiful thing is I can use that to bring a lot of positive energy into a room. I can be an asset to a team in that way. Yay!
Here’s the deal: that’s a responsibility. If I’m going to bring the positivity and I’m going to deliver energy, I don’t get to hide in the corner and be a grump whenever I want. I’ll still be impacting. The fluctuations between the positivity and the negativity will kill a team. It makes me more of a liability than an asset. I have to take responsibility for that.
The internet is the new New World, the new Wild West, overflowing with opportunity and an even playing field. Take advantage.
If I could see a version of myself in a buffet of historical eras, I’d like to believe I know how I’d act.
I’d surely have boarded a boat for the New World risking death for opportunity. I’d have swayed with the waves for months just for the unknown possibilities on the other side of the ocean.
Certainly I would have packed my saddlebags full and headed west, just me and my horse, in search of adventure, gold, and freedom.
Here’s the point: historically, opportunity and an even playing field required risk, great risk. The risk of death. In 2016, the internet is where the opportunity lies and the risks are not life. The risks are mean comments from internet people and the frustrated feeling of learning new things. It’s not okay to not take advantage.
If I want to claim I’d have been on a boat bound for North America, I better start leveraging the incredible power of the internet. I started with reading Show Your Work by Austin Kleon.
It was a good year that has set up the fertile ground for a great 2016. There’s been incredible freedom and possibility for me in taking ownership of the lessons 2015 had for me. It’s been humbling, but there’s beauty in that.