Challenges, Leadership, Reflection

Transformation and Change

Transformation is never easy and neither is change. As I think about the two for me, they are markedly different experiences. This is the fourth time in my career I am going through a change and driving a transformation simultaneously.
Moving – finding a new location to live, packing, coordinating a move, unpacking. New dentists, new doctors, new hair stylist, working a new grocery store strategy. Where’s the Starbucks? All the big things that matter in a move. Stressful? Can be. An adventure? Always!

If I could focus simply on the move itself – it might not be so bad. But with the changes a move can bring I’ve always had to work a move change with a career change.

Changes in career – responsibilities, leadership level, geography, new teams – all lend themselves to some great opportunities to practice the art of assessment and transformation.

Transformation starts with an assessment of the people, the practices, and the processes. You gain great insight into the culture of an organization and a team by listening, learning, and asking questions. A quick study and the transformation experience begins. As a leader, setting the stage for connection and conversation is critical. Sharing a vision and the guard rails of leadership responsibilities.

The gifts of transformation and change have fostered my growth and development and forced me to assess priorities. Setting a pace that is manageable and not too aggressive – clearly a lesson that I needed to learn- for myself and to ensure I am not over the top for those around me. This is the gift of patience and understanding the journey cadence.

As I step into this new move and the changes it brings – I am going to manage the change and not let it manage me. It’s an adventure! The opportunity that a new leadership role brings feeds my energy and spirit. I love the opportunity that a new team brings and working with the human experience. That’s an adventure as well!

Time to get provisioned up for the journey ahead and the adventure that awaits me!

Challenges, Leadership, Reflection

The Year in Review – Successes and Challenges

Every year, I look back as I plan forward and I think about my successes over the past year. I spend a moment (or two) “setting in the pride of success”- embracing the work done, the projects completed, the goals achieved, the people met along the way. I do this as I plan for the year ahead to inspire, motivate, and align my energy in a positive space. Goal planning for a new year can be daunting and this exercise helps me frame the accomplishments of the past while harnessing the focus for the future.

I also look back over the many challenges encountered during the prior year – both professional and personal. As I reflect over this past year, I thought “Have I experienced fewer challenges than in years past?” The answer was certainly No – there were as many challenges. There may have even been more if I were to have tallied a “count.”

Why did it then seem less daunting to look back or even to have worked through those challenges? I believe the answer to that is simple – I am at a place in life where I now rise to meet the challenges life presents. The experience of life has provided that “practice” in rising to meet the challenges over time. I have realized that it is all in how I approach and deal with those challenges presented to me. I now know my strength and have a deeper understanding of perseverance, commitment, and character.

I have also learned what I will tolerate and what I won’t tolerate at work, at home, with friends, and with family. The learning journey of life is such an experience if we embrace it for what it is…the successes and the challenges!

“Challenges are what makes life interesting, overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”
– Joshua J. Marine 

Confidence, Empowering Women, Family, Working Women

The Blessings of Belief

I am the oldest of three girls born to hardworking and loving parents.
I grew up with a father who appreciated the lessons gained by being on a sports team and the competitive spirit of athletics. I grew up with a mother who was passionate about academics, a woman who knew that the value of education could open doors of possibility.
I was raised by parents who were honest, hardworking, and appreciated the value of money and a good job. I never felt like there was anything I couldn’t do while I was growing up, but I also was not raised with rose colored glasses where I felt that I could excel and be the best at everything I tried.
My parents were realists and very practical people. But they believed in their daughters and they told us that often…..”you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it and work hard.” No promise of being the best. No easy way to achieve your goals. Hard work. Focus. Commitment. No guarantee or even expectation that you will be “the best.” Practical. Useful. Words that indicated they believed in us and supported us in whatever we chose to pursue. Some of us played basketball and softball. Some of us played field hockey and ran track. Some of us spent years studying ballet and even tried cheerleading (and were horrible at it but worked hard and had fun).
I think about that often and sit in awe of the support and belief that carried me through much of my life and career. Going through my education journey (community college and university), not A’s and sometimes not B’s. But I had a mother who believed that if I worked hard I could get a degree from a good school and no one would ever be able to take that degree from me – and no one would care if I got through with B’s. Such a smart woman with practical and pointed advice. No one ever asked about my grades in college…ever.
As a sociology major who now works in technology/engineering, I can recall my first opportunity to take on a technical role. My father said to me “Leslie – you are a smart and intelligent person. You are curious and love to learn. You will learn this position just like everything else – ask questions, be curious, and listen to those who do the job.” Simple, practical advice that has carried me through 20 years of a career in technology and engineering operations.
The blessings of belief have provided me with a confidence (if I am self-aware enough to pay attention) that knows I am smart enough, I am good enough, and I am deserving.
Along with those blessings of belief came the affirmation of happiness – were we happy doing whatever it was we chose to do? That was most important, especially to my father. It is an approach to life that has helped me weather some of life’s storms. This is now my approach in supporting my adult children – are your choices making you happy? There is no greater way to live your life.
As it has been quoted “If you love what you do – you will never work a day in your life.
I thank my parents often for the model and example they led as parents – strong work ethic, hard work, and practical advice – that begins with belief.