Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Climbing To The Bright Orange Star

"If you focus on what you love, you will naturally climb to where you want to be." A memorable quote from Ms. Nancy W, Sr Quality Director that surfaced my memory today. Few months back, we met on the topic of career development over lunch. We chatted about work-life balance and how to accelerate in your career. I was fortunate to learn some of her accomplishments and challenges along the way, even with a more personal touch on raising a family.

The messages were similar to what I've heard in the past but the quote above somehow stuck out. And I was reminded of that today on my walk between two manufacturing buildings.

Recently, I've been more diligently asked "what do you want to do? Where do you want to be?" Although it seemed simple on paper what my next steps were, my emotions were telling me differently. 

Although, I may not have the definite answer today, I need to figure it out within a week or so as the fiscal year comes to an end; these three points below are helping me. 

What kind of leader am I five years from now? 

We're often asked "where do you see yourself in five years; ten years" and the first thing that pops into our minds is the beautiful villa off of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. 

Ok-professionally, Tima.

So rephrase the question with more specifics around your characteristic. I'm a born leader and I want to continue to accelerate in leadership roles. What will I look like in a leadership (with or without authority) role five years from now? Who will I be? Why will people turn to me for support?  

What path do I think I want to go down versus what path I really want to go down

We're posed with two choices. And often times than not, we choose one based on external factors rather than our gut feel. 

Cy Wakeman teaches us to cut the drama out and focus on the results. What is my goal and how can I get there -ignoring all the whining and complaining along the way? The same goes with decision making. We have a tendency to make up stories in our head about all the pain we'll be in before we even get there. (Before we even try for that matter.) 

But if my passion is down one road, I should just start walking and handle each challenge as they rise. And I'm pretty confident that the challenges I'll end up facing, are ones I probably can't even fathom right now. 

Some things are farther than they appear 

My geeky side will rise on this final note. While reading my Facebook feed today, I came across a story how Mars is the brightest it has been in six years*. If you walk outside for the next week, you'll see a bright orange-yellow star at the end of the Big Dipper's arch. Amazingly enough all I had to do was look out my back porch and there it was. 

It got me thinking. My senior leadership role is right there in the forefront of my mind. Day in and day out, I try to demonstrate behaviors that will get me closer to that role. But in reality, there are greater opportunities in the near term that will equip me with the knowledge I need to succeed. The humble side of me is recognizing how there are some  competency gaps I need to close now to be able to thrive with confidence in the future. 

So, although I may not be transitioning into a VP position by the time I'm 30, it's the bright orange-yellow star in my life. 

Who I want to be in five years, holds more weight than what I want to do. The reason behind that is the what and the where are more of the dead end destinations. "You have arrived." 
But the who really speaks to your character and the journey of seeking perfection. 

Continue to do what you love. Continue to practice humility. 

And to say it again: "you'll naturally climb to where you want to be." 

* http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-79856891/