A blog by guest writer, Laura Fell. Human Resource Manager for Andesa Services
“It is pleasant to see dreams come true.” Proverbs 13:19
Do you know who Margaret Mitchell is? I bet you do. Maybe not by name, but by her work. She wrote, “Gone with the Wind.” But what you may not know is it took her ten painful years to complete her fictional story of the Civil War. When she finally finished it, she was reluctant to have the book published because she feared it wasn’t good enough. Not good enough? It is one of the best-selling books and one of the most popular movies of all time.
In working towards big goals, many of us find ourselves facing the same kind of fear. Even more paralyzing, we are so afraid, we do not even start. We end up scratching it from the bucket list.
People who challenge!
Like many of us now, I once had a leadership coach who helped me improve in areas of which I was afraid; such as proposing new concepts to my boss or conducting presentations. He once said, “You have such a creative mind, and are so knowledgeable and passionate about your work that I can see you writing an article or book some time during your career.” I laughed and quickly disregarded his comment.
People who inspire!
About a year later, I heard an executive leader give a piece of wisdom, “Everyone should have a list with three buckets: personal, financial, and professional.” He said, “Without a set of written goals to shoot for, you will never take steps to get there.” I took his advice and I scribbled down my goals and tucked it away in my bible. Some were very realistic and some were…well, ones I giggled at when writing them; but hey, it is a wish list, right? One in my personal bucket was a goal to write an article or book.
My quick career progression pushed me to step into roles for which I may not have been fully prepared. It has been fun to excel in every role, but I knew that I was leveraging my strengths and trying to hide my weaknesses as I just didn’t have the time to focus on developing them. I feared that these deficiencies would eventually catch up with me, so understandably I began self-doubting and losing confidence in myself.
I came across my list one morning and happily checked off several accomplishments.
I edited some others, and then scratched off the ones I just accepted were unreachable. I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment, so definitely scratched off the goal to write an article. This was never going to happen; what would I write about, HR? There are millions of articles/blogs out there. What about parenting or being a working mom? No…I don’t have any hidden secrets to tell; and, frankly, I could use some assistance in this area. Furthermore, I cannot even find the time to read any book or magazine with my chaotic, crazy full-time professional and mommy life. Can you relate?
People who hold us accountable!
Fast forward, same profession but a new company, new peers, and new leadership. It was time to make a change, not only for my career but personally to rebuild my confidence. Why did this new company hire me? I am sure it was not for my great communication skills, but for my personality and experiences!
Yes, seasoned professionals need reassurance and praise once in a while! Leaders reignite flames in one another. It doesn’t matter at what level of management you are, as everyone wants to continue to grow and build on their strengths as well as develop their weaknesses. Each of us can inspire that in each other.
Sixty days into the new role, I get the assignments to work on for the next several months. The last objective on the list is to be a guest blogger on the company site. My immediate thought was what? Fear! Clearly, my biggest area for development is written communication; what is our boss thinking?
Oh no, I have to face my weakness, I am going to fail. I dread facing my faults despite my strengths. And then as I was dwelling on this it came to me… wait, this was on my bucket list. How did he know because I have not shared my list to anyone? I was given this assignment because our leadership sees my potential, and it is time to accept what I am capable of doing and stop fearing the unknown. But you don’t do that alone, we all need to be challenged, inspired and yes, accountable to stretch.
In a meeting the other day, we were asked if we ever had a true leader who made you step outside your comfort zone and encouraged you to be the best you can be. The answer is yes, I had a leader in my prior job who continuously tested me to think big and focus on what matters the most, and to have the courage to stand up to roadblocks.
With his challenge, inspiration, and accountability, I was able to check off many items from my list. And now today, we have a leader who is not just concerned about the business, but us–someone who is challenging us to face our biggest fears.
Now some practical thoughts:
- Make your bucket list today and don’t be afraid to put down what you may consider crazy or unreachable, because you just may need time to grow before you can achieve them.
- Connect with someone who challenges you, inspires you and, yes, holds you accountable.
- Anytime you have the thought that you aren’t good enough, trust me, your work is probably better than you think, so take the leap and just do it.
Cheers to this first blog; they will get better and so will I! √ another item from the bucket list
“Unless you give up on yourself, your dreams are never gone with the wind.”
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