Right now, I am happy with who I am. I’m not happy about certain details, such as being out of work for an extended period (director, product manager SaaS, anyone?) Nonetheless, I’m happy with who I am, my self-esteem is where it should be.
Why? I have a family of 5, my spouse and three children. We love each other, we endure, and as we go through life’s trials, our relationships become ever more solid. In the end, my family will surround me, not the litany of former bosses I’ve had (sorry guys, gals).
This isn’t anything you’ve never heard before. But it is something that takes each of us (hopefully, each of us) time to truly appreciate.
It also took a very long time to realize what makes me happiest in the professional world. For years, I simply believed if I worked hard, did stellar work, I’d be recognized for it. Ha-ha, but, uh: No. Generally someone else ends up benefiting from your own work and ‘they’ are simply happy you were such a valuable resource.
Ultimately, I found I like working with people, building relationships, solving problems, and developing teams (ad hoc or permanent) in support of a chosen effort. And, as with this blog and public speaking, becoming more expressive.
Being the member of a true team, not just a bunch of folks in a ‘business unit’ at work, is something I first truly appreciated while in the US Navy. There is nothing like being part of a battalion marching across a field to give you a sense of belonging, elation, of unconquerable capability. If you’re fortunate, the experience is repeated multiple times while you’re in the military. As member of a 14-person aircrew, we did things as a team (both inside the a/c as well as after-hours) that most non-military folk can simply never comprehend let alone appreciate.
This team perspective was something I longed to recapture for many years while in the corporate world. Only in the last few years did I learn that, as a team builder, not only could I enjoy that sense again in some manner, but that I could enjoy leading the effort. Some folks figure this out early in their lives, me, well, I’m glad I’m there now:).
Earlier in my career, I was content to follow because there was so much I wanted to learn. ‘They’ seemed to so often be smarter, brighter, more driven. In cases where leadership was seen lacking, wallowing, or off-track, I’d step up, grab the reins, and move things forward. Now, what I see in true leaders (not ‘managers’), is that they simply have a direction they want to go. And, you, the team, are either on the bus or you’re not.
It took me a while, but now I know. There’s a train called JT. And you’re either on the train with me, or you’re not. My train is focused on my life, where its going, those onboard, and those who I can positively impact; not just ‘work’ and where it is going. Yes, I’m eagerly looking forward to becoming a ‘more’ valuable contributor, somewhere, soon. And, I’ll be looking to help move someone’s bus down the road a ways. But that’s ultimately a collaborative effort.
They’re going to be on my train, as well.
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