I’m going to start off by saying that I stay away from trying to change what already happened, and I fully embrace appreciating every experience in the past as a-way-of-leading-myself to make me a better person today.
I also believe that in order to be smarter, nicer, wiser and stronger, I DO NEED to look at my past, reflect on the experiences and get every possible learning lesson life was offering for my future - life experiences are not meant to be wasted.
So, what I’m sharing here is not me feeling bad about what I didn’t do or wish I did, but more about lining up what I was doing that I could have led differently and now serve me as an experience to be a better leader of myself and my career.
Here are the 4 main things I wish I did differently in the past when leading my career:
1) I would worry less about what others thought of me.
"Do they think I'm the right person for this job?" "Do they trust I got this?" I wasted too much mental space at times worrying about whether others thought I was the right person for my job. I was doing well, so worrying about it was a real waste of my energy.
2) I would search for more validation within myself than from external sources.
This is where I feel I went numb, or blind, or deaf to the reality - For God's sake, my bonuses were incredible, my teams where on top consistently, I got reviews that met or exceeded expectations and STILL I wasn’t validating my own success. This brought a lot of anxiety at times, so it was painful.
3) I would remove my fear of people finding out I was not as "talented" as they thought I was.
The thoughts through my mind were: “My English is not perfect” or “I didn’t go to College in the United States” "I'm so young for this role". And O-M-G was I focusing on the wrong things? I was GREAT at my delivering great performance at my jobs and still all these insecurities would attack me at times.
4) I would ask for HELP when I was in pain.
There was a period where I was going through a lot of emotional pain in my personal life and I kept acting like I was fine. Every morning I had to build myself up and PRETEND I was okay...And in reality I was so profoundly sad. This is the biggest one for me. What was so bad about just accepting that I was sad and sharing it with some of my leaders so together we could create a plan to help myself reset and rebuild?
I was ashamed of what felt like a “weakness” instead of just being human.
Career growth is ALL ABOUT Personal growth - And we forget it sometimes and want to only show ourselves as SUPER HUMANS.
Growth comes with pain - Pain of life lessons, pain of feedback that hurts, pain of switching mindsets and creating new ways of seeing and processing the world.
This is what I’m doing now from what I learned in the past:
I put myself out there - Regardless of how unsure of myself I might feel for it. I know now that after I do it, I’ll learn something and feel proud I did it.
I recognize what makes me great - and love it. The main thing for me has been understanding that we don’t have to be great at everything. That many of us exist for that reason, so we can help each other out and move this world forward, together, as a team.
The fears of not being good enough live here, with me, but I crush them now by doing stuff that I was very afraid to do before - It's like going up the stairs, step by step.
I talk about my pain now - And I do it for me, not for anyone else.
So, how about you? What do you wish you did differently? What lessons from the past serve you today?
Please comment below.
All the best,