First and foremost People do not get to define your success, you do! I had the wonderful privilege of meeting Stedman Graham and spent an entire day with him while I was at Cisco. He has written a few books about leadership that focus on two key things that hit home to me "You Can Make It Happen" and "Leaders Not Labels". While he was presenting, he kept asking us what do we really love and try to name all things we love in 1 minute. The funny thing is people could rattle off things in the first 15 seconds and then start thinking hard after that and are usually done before 1 minute is up. Yet sometimes we find ourselves chasing after a success mark that doesn't even align with what we love. Mostly we end up chasing someone else's definition of what they believe our success or even our outcome should be. I know for me, I was told just like Stedman was that I was nothing but trash and would not amount to anything. If I believed that lie, I would not be here in NC working at the Startup Hub of the South - American Underground Google Hub.
Second is patient in getting your goal. I love this definition: "able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious." This is especially true in the startup arena. You wish you could just throw together a few images and instantly you have a product. But as many project managers and operations people will tell you there is this famous thing called the mythical man month in which management can throw people at a problem and 9 women can make a baby in 1 month. There are foundation items that are required to happen before other things can be added to it until you have true completion or accomplishment. It really does take a woman 9 months give or take a few weeks to have a normal healthy baby. However during the waiting of the baby arrival, we kind of want to rush it. We want to see the baby and hold it. Same is true during a reinvention, we want the success of the new me to be fully complete the next day. It is the going through the length of the process while continuing to press forward that takes us to transformation.
Third is know the difference between results and hard work. This is one thing I held dear from times at Cisco. John Chambers always told us to never confuse the two. I've seen so many people get caught on a wheel of hard work going no where. Granted work is required prior to the results you want to see happen and it does take hard work to be successful. However, you also need to know what is the right work to do in order to get results. Large companies especially get caught in this trap when they can start to measure data. People are zealous of the stories they can say about the data but they forget the destination of where telling the data will take you. There is a fable story about that called the Ant Worker. In the startup arena, I see many people become self nominated advisers for a fee that offers help to entrepreneurs for achieving their business objectives. The entrepreneur loses both time and money because it was wasted on people who really can't help them.
Lastly is be open to where the journey goes. We can limit ourselves through what success means that we expect the encounters of people we engage with and the circumstances in life itself to take us exactly according to plan. However what we actually find is it will force us to go outside the plan. In gambling this is called "know when to hold them and know when to walk away". On our journey, we have to determine when is it time to force holding the course and when is it time to turn. Sometimes we can guess wrong but don't lose heart as long as you are alive, you can pivot on the right course. In the Startup arena, we have to be sensitive to the voice of the customer. We might think we know the solution. But until we really listen to our customers and hear the real problem, do we fully understand if our solution solves it. Through this, we learn to pivot several times before we can get to the results that satisfies the customer.
These are a few of the nuggets that I hold on to take me through the reinvention journey. I also lean into my inner self and try to understand who I am as well as who I want to be in order to walk down the journey. In the end, I want to say I did make a difference in the lives of people especially those who felt overwhelmed. That I was able to leverage this technology in such a way that families can benefit instead of just making money for people. And lastly that my family and friends would know that I truly loved them in the best way I knew how. That I was generous and brought some positive difference that encouraged them to have the best journeys they could.
Here's to our journeys! May we all find the alignment of our value system to the success we are focused on achieving. May we always be open to turns in the journey. May our hearts be happy in what we do. May we end the journey with an achievement that we stayed true to ourselves. Let us go make our marks on the earth as one that makes a positive difference because we lived our lives to the fullest!