How to stop 3 thought traps that make you miserable in your career

In my corporate project management days, after a big project we'd always do a Lessons Learned session.  Order up a bunch of pizza, drive out sacred cows, let people say whatever they want and you'll learn a lot.  On particularly hellish projects, it also gives the team a chance to let it go, bury the hatchet, etc. As it turns out, straight up saying, "Oh, man, we screwed that up" or "We dropped the ball there" is liberating.   Even more interestingly, it propels the team forward to the "How can we do it better?" stage with more clarity and less baggage. Some of the best things we ever implemented came out of such sessions. Here are three "Lessons Learned" worth sharing:

ONE

What you’re trying to do doesn’t have to be a Grand Opening, Big "Thing" or Bases Loaded Home Run.


Listening to a Seth Godin podcast recently, I had a bona-fide "a-ha" moment. The topic:  Grand Openings vs. Slow and Steady Wins the Race. The net/net: It takes time to build something really good and that’s okay.  Why it needs to be said... The whole world is in a hurry.  Steve Jobs was a millionaire by 30, so why can't you be a Taylor Swiftian version of talent meets success = loads of money before you're old enough to be president? How many times has the pain of an experience been you slamming up against an expectation you set? The “Grand Opening” I've envisioned so many times has turned out to be the start of a longer experience, not the end of short one. It’s okay to apprentice. It's okay to take it slow.  Yesterday after hitting “shuffle” on my MP3  player, the calming voice of Zen teacher Cheri Huber came out with this one:

TWO

Do more than your ego says you can do and less than your ego says you should do.

Confession: I've struggled with workaholism ...forever.  Western culture, and some eastern ones, have glorified the "work ethic" to the point it's lethal. The Japanese literally invented a word to describe death from overwork: Karoshi. Working five times harder isn't going to make it happen five times faster.  Knowing five times more will put you ten times further ahead of just about anyone who's ignorant where you're enlightened. 

THREE Age and wisdom don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand.

Bullying is so common at work that few even notice it. Often it's so subtle, you think you're being "corrected", that you must be "wrong" and they must be "right." My takeaway is that people who bully you under the guise of a “master” often do so because your promise makes them uncomfortable. Yes, you have promise, probably a helluva lot. The goal is to make themselves look like they know more than you. The motivation? Insecurity.  Just because someone's older and has a title or pay grade above yours doesn’t necessarily mean they know more.  It usually only means they got there before you.  You aren’t wrong, they are bullies. And even if you are “wrong,” they’re still bullies. A good rule of thumb is:  if it's not doled out with compassion - i.e. they told you because they care about you -  it was given in their interest not yours.  Even if it’s “right,” it’s almost certainly self-serving. Look for a more authentic source. That's all for now grasshopper Keep pushing. Courtney


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