Monday, April 22, 2013

Finding Your Stride

I have to thank my friend Guy Kawasaki for bringing this video to my attention. In her exhilarating TED Talk, Piper Otterbein speaks of her battle against dyslexia and the triumph of finding her way.

Most of us growing up probably wanted to be Astronauts, Baseball Players or Rock Stars. But, there are only so many bats and guitars and robots are replacing spacemen. some point reality sets in and we realize that we have to find a way to channel our passion into a profession.

We consistently pontificate on the concept of Employee Engagement in this blog. Many have called the terminology a worn out concept. We ask companies to develop transparent leadership. We encourage managers to help their people find their strengths. At some point, however, it is up the the employee.

We also know that any job can be great or terrible based on your perception and attitude.

Most of us when faced with the reality that we will not be Eddie Van Halen completely give up. I'm here to tell you that isn't necessary!

You can still love face melting guitar solos and have a profession as a programmer. You can be passionate about baseball and work as an accountant. You can still find a way to stand on the moon if you are a sales professional.

My friend Dan Pink had expressed his concern with the education system being too focused on linear development. I feel a similar concern. There is so much emphasis on test scores, over-inflated GPA's and SAT performance. The concept being that memorization and results develop a lasting skill set. All this coupled with the stress of fulfilling expectations that may not intrigue our genuine interest. Not all of us will turn out to be what our parents want us to be.

I was moved by Piper Otterbein's talk because I thought of my own children. As parents, we really just want to help our children find something they enjoy doing. As managers, the same applies.

A cat cannot be a dog but we often seek to make such a conversion in our employees. Then they fail and we declare a miscast placement. At what point does leadership take accountability for our inability to help our employees discover their strengths? At what point do we turn the performance review around to judge those who get paid for judging?

Have you given up? Is it just a job? Are you just punching the clock?

Question: if a 16 year old is mature enough to challenge the system and find her passion why can't you?

Life is too short to spend another day in a job you dislike. You shouldn't waste your time in a job that doesn't challenge you. If you are stressed out because your boss is mistreating you, I bet you can find a way to find a new job.

Don't Forget to Remember!


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