During “Blogging 101” sessions, I’d always advise aspiring bloggers to not apologize in their posts for not blogging frequently enough, but after an unplanned 22 month blogging hiatus (not counting my ever-present micro-blogging action ;-)), I owe anyone who might still be listening here an apology…I’m sorry and thank you for sticking around!
I’ve been luma-focused on a massive project at Accenture that saw it’s first manifestation of validated delivery yesterday. It’s not yet officially launched in the marketplace, so I can’t tell you a whole lot about it, but can tell you that this milestone presents a nice exit point for my Accenture journey — where I learned a LOT, which isn’t surprising, but what is surprising is over the last 22 months, I have learned a lot about things I wasn’t expecting to learn (some at Accenture, some elsewhere).
Stuff I’ve learned in the last 22 months (pardon the randomness — many points are pulled from notes I would take while living off the grid at 30k-40k in the air):
- Clarity comes at 30k-40k feet where distractions are few.
- Give yourself permission to not be uber productive and responsible at all times. It’s OK to submit to sleep, daydreaming, socializing, offlinedness (<– not a real word, but it should be), etc. The work will wait. Life won't. I'm not suggesting a lifestyle of laziness & irresponsibility — the work/life scale has no meter & oddly it's sometimes hard to know when you’re actually clinging to the life scale by your fingernails.
- I suck at being a road warrior. I’m grateful that my world is a bigger place now & I have the passport stamps to prove it, but the most amazing places on earth look like a Disneyland facade when you don’t have the people who matter most beside you.
- Don’t expect acknowledgement and/or reward for your hard work, amazing contributions, and super powers — be your best because it inspires YOU. That’s it. That’s the only validation you need.
- Some of the most necessary career alliances aren’t about perfect partnerships, but are more about an unspoken agreement to use each other in a mutually beneficial yet respectful way. Augh. I hate that, but it’s true. To contrast that dark point, some of the most important career alliances are those few (1-3 if you’re really lucky) who stand beside you in the darkest, riskiest, most challenging, unpleasant situations…AND would love to continue working with you. I can say this…I am really lucky and really grateful.
- The war against the glass ceiling is alive and well. If you’ve not called bullshit on it when you’ve seen it, you are part of the problem. What did you do the last time you saw an act of discrimination? If the answer is nothing, you missed an opportunity to make a difference that matters.
- Often, moments of clarity are the recalibration that lead to the next moments of not having a clue as to what the hell to do next, but knowing you have to do something. Do something. Fine tune if it was the wrong thing, but don’t be paralyzed by the fear of doing the wrong thing. There’s nothing sweeter than seeing your your ballsy decision validated as the right one.
- Personal down time isn’t optional — it is required for self-preservation. The following do not count as down time: submitting expenses, bio breaks, daily grooming (you have a real problem if you’ve ever considered adding shower time to your calendar — that’s not normal), etc.
- As you advance your career, rigorously protect that part of your brain that remains open to weird ideas & free of your ego. It’s sad to see once brilliant leaders submit to making decisions that best serve their ego — I don’t think they actually realize that’s what they’re doing, by the way.
- Know when your personal stock is up/down and mold your conversations with your boss with that in mind.
- The most personally valuable lesson I’ve learned is I now know my physical, emotional and intellectual limits — this might sound strange, but it’s rather interesting to hit (and realize) your thresholds even if it is painful. I also have had much of what I’ve always known about my character and convictions validated. As a result of knowing my boundaries, I now know how to protect them.
I’m taking a couple weeks off to reconnect with family, friends & myself; then, I’ll take on a product management directorship at Valassis, re-engaging with a few of my former Sun friends/colleagues. More to come on that topic, but you can expect to see me dial up my engagement in the social space again — something I LOVED doing at Sun.
All the best & thanks again for sticking around. 🙂