As of today, I’m a free agent. Embarking on a new journey. Open for solicitation. New opportunities. New conversations.
Sometimes you’re in the right place at the wrong time. What is perfect on paper is not perfect in practice.
I found myself in that situation professionally and did the hard, emotional work of exploring what that meant.
The falsehood of scarcity was strong. How could I resign from a c-level role with so much equity at stake? What was the story that would be told? We’re in the middle of a pandemic and jobs are scarce. Easier to find a job when you have a job, right?
Integrity is everything to me. Money, titles and security are not my handcuffs.
Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.
Let’s sit with that for a moment…
Fulfillment is what we are after as humans. A basic human need.
Fulfillment comes from witnessing your own growth. A fulfilled person knows how, and has the power to create positive experiences. A positive experience makes you feel good, grow in your abilities, is important to you and leaves you feeling optimistic and enthusiastic for more.
As I contemplate what’s next, the universe keeps whispering - no shouting - “be patient.”
Anyone that knows me has witnessed that I jump 110% into things. Immediately. I have had many opportunities to take time off. Sit in the uncomfortable. Feel the scarcity lie. And live through it.
But I haven’t. I felt the fear and jumped.
Jumped into the next thing. Even when it didn’t feel right. Ignoring those gut feelings. The ones that keep you safe. The ones that keep you fulfilled.
So here I am. Willing to do the hard part first. Dancing with fear.
I’m discovering the difference between the “Zone of Excellence” (what I do well and get paid $) vs. “Zone of Genius” (what I do when time stands still). I’m exploring my superpowers and shadows.
I’m fighting the scarcity belief so I don’t run back to what is comfortable.
As I’ve started to explore “what’s next” - and, let’s be real, it’s been an entire two weeks - here’s what I’ve discovered.
My super power is creating order out of chaos. How? By focusing on the customer. External AND internal.
That’s important. The more I explored defining the customer, I realized that the internal customer drives success to the external customer.
And my internal customers are the team. The company. The humans at the end of everything we do. They are the culture.
Culture gets results.
So many companies and leaders get it wrong. Profits and growth are prioritized above culture.
Wealth before health.
Yet, culture gets results.
I love this definition of culture: a word for the 'way of life' of groups of people, meaning the way they do things.
I woke up and realized that culture is my priority. As a senior leader, this is how I build and motivate teams.
My personal and professional experiences taught me to:
- Tell great narratives that motivate, inspiring others with visions of the future
- Encourage teams to rumble in tough conversations: transparency = trust
Trust gets results
- Be a structured leader that leads with substantive guidance, direction, and support
- Spell out expectations, ask a lot of questions, monitor and measure performance constantly, and correct failure quickly and reward success even more quickly
“Hands off” does not = empowerment
Some of my favorite books that should give you insight into my leadership style:
- Seth Godin Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
- Brene Brown Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.
- don Miguel Ruiz The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
- Patrick Lencioni The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
- Bruce Tulgan It's OK to Be the Boss: The Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming the Manager Your Employees Need
You know what else I did?
I added the word “unapologetically” to my LinkedIn profile.
My free time is spent unapologetically living in Bend, Oregon, enjoying the outdoors with my family and white lab on feet, bikes, skis and water devices.
I was a remote worker before COVID.
I was using Zoom before everyone in the world was using Zoom.
I’ve worked from home since my first role out of college… 25 years ago!
Trains, planes and automobiles have been how I’ve managed my career and built amazing teams - remotely. And I’ve been told I’m the best anyone’s ever seen at doing it - from teams of 10 to teams of 150.
Why did I choose remote?
Because I am a badass executive that makes no excuses for the life I live and where I live it.
I prioritize my family. Where we live is important. When you spend 80% of your time at work, where you play is important. Community is important. Roots are important.
If you’ve made it this far…
My invitation to you:
- Let’s reconnect
- Pepper me with opportunities
And I promise I will unapologetically continue to keep making a ruckus.