I want to talk about careers today. I’ve been doing so much personal growth, but I haven’t talked about the part of my personal growth that is impacted by my career growth. Some people may tell you that these two things are separate, but I disagree. When you grow personally, you grow in all things that you do. When you grow professionally, you are growing as a person as well.
I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I was promoted at the end of 2020 and that I have a tall order to evolve the teams that I lead. There are a lot of quotes and definitions from many leaders and coaches about what makes a great leader and I can go blue in the face talking about those things, but today I want to talk about one thing that I think any good leader would do. That thing is doing what it takes.
Doing what it takes can look different for each leader. Doing what it takes is situational. My view of needing to do what it takes will most definitely look different from your view, and that’s okay.
When you are reading this post, I am doing what it takes. I drove across the country to our headquarters to backfill two team members that I have out of the office at the same time. You might ask, why didn’t you fly, or why did you let them be out at the same time, or isn’t there somebody else local who can do that? I didn’t fly because I am making the trip a month-long trip and would prefer to have my own vehicle. I also didn’t fly because I negotiated the cost of the trip and trade-offs to have some of my own comforts for the longer than normal trip. I let the team members be out at the same time because I do not want to tell my team that their health is not important. You can read into that if you want, but that is the generalization that I’m using to keep this as anonymous as possible. And, no, there isn’t somebody else local who is part of our immediate team that can cover. And, no, there isn’t somebody else local who is not part of our immediate team that can cover instead of doing their own responsibilities.
I took this conundrum and turned it into a positive. I haven’t been back to our HQ since I last left in mid-March 2020. You know, right when the world shut down and we all went into lockdown to try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus? Yeah, that March. And because I have not yet traveled again for one of my normal week-long trips, I have not had the opportunity to sit down and brainstorm or collaborate for more than an hour or so via video call with my almost not-so-new boss. Our team has evolved so much in the last year, that it will be great to sit in our socially distanced office and have whiteboards that we can both see while hashing things out.
Another thing that I’ve decided to do to do what it takes, is to adjust my frequency with this posting here and to the podcast to only once per week. This reduces the time it requires to produce the content so I have more time to work extra hours. Gasppp!! Extra hours?!?! Why would you do that? I am choosing to work extra hours to get our team better setup for short-term success. We are in a transitional phase of taking what the team before us did to get the company going as a startup, to implementing processes, operational changes and reporting that hasn’t been used before. With all of the meetings it takes to hash things out when all of us are primarily working remotely, there isn’t as much time available to produce the necessary output. I have some of my team members that are voluntarily working longer hours to get their tasks done, so why wouldn’t I.
I made the choice to put in extra work time and limit my time producing content for you so I can maintain the ability to enjoy life. I want to have it all, so I have to make changes to fit everything into the hours I have. I am doing what it takes to advance my career, maintain my hobbies and rest, while also producing content to inspire others. Like I talked about a few weeks ago, life isn’t about fitting into some societally defined level of balance, it’s about creating our own unique balance. I am doing what it takes to create my own definition of balance in my life.
Doing what it takes looks different for each of us. You may balk at the idea of putting in extra hours and that is okay. If that doesn’t fit into what you deem is important for your life, then it is not part of what you need to do. To determine what is necessary for you, you must determine what is important in your life. Then you can determine what doing what it takes means to you. It probably won’t all become clear to you in one moment, it didn’t for me. It has taken months of personal growth and introspection to get to this point. And talking it through with my husband. Please don’t be discouraged if you don’t have an answer that you are looking for right away, we have to be patient and do the work to discover each answer to each question.