Whenever a conversation begins with, “I’ve got good news and bad news,” I rarely hear the good news and hold my breath waiting for the bad news. So, in January 1996 when my manager at American Express used these words to begin our weekly meeting, my heart sank.
The Good News - I had met my work objectives and the Bad News; my position was being eliminated. What to do? She offered encouragement about continued employment within American Express or I could ‘take the package.’ I took the package.
Fast forward 20 years and I can honestly say that I have never regretted my decision. This is not to say that there haven’t been ups and downs. There have been. But once Emotional Intelligence became the primary focus of our training and development programs, any remaining doubts about my career path vanished. I quickly realized the tremendous value of this work because I could immediately see the positive impact we were having on our program participants. I feel so blessed in my life's work!
Not long ago, a colleague asked me what I had learned since launching Crescendo Inc. Great question! What follows are 4 Lessons Learned that have served me well:
- Be open – While not always easy for me to do, I have (more often than not) benefitted from opening my mind and my heart to new ideas, perspectives and learning. When I begin to ‘lock down’ on a rigid path, I remind myself to breathe, get centered and become curious again.
- Create value – Growing up in a home where a strong work ethic was always front and center, I learned how to set stretch goals and achieve them (on time and in budget!) I also learned about going the extra mile to give more than what was expected. Over the years, my world view expanded to embrace the power of abundance vs. scarcity. Surprising people with just a little something extra, feeds my soul.
- Build Community – I learned long ago that Crescendo Inc.’s success was never just about me. Success has been about the people with whom I have surrounded myself. Extraordinary clients and colleagues have come to me with high expectations, great challenges and endless support. Building community (internally and externally) has been pivotal for our success.
- Be myself – Throughout my life I have been blessed with exceptional mentors who provide inspiration, encouragement and nourishment. On those occasions when I start second guessing something, anything or everything, one (or more) of my mentors hold up a metaphorical mirror to remind me of who I am and what I offer and, most importantly – to be myself!
Taking time to reflect on these lessons was well spent. I will remember the first 20 years with pride, fulfillment and gratitude.
Regardless of where you are or what you are doing in your career, I encourage you to take pause to reflect on the lessons you have learned. It is a powerful reminder that we all make a difference in some way to someone somewhere somehow. What are your lessons learned?