"We cannot lose our soul in the process," the president of Cardiac Rhythm and Heart Failure division at Medtronic stressed to the Tempe Campus employees last Tuesday. When discussing new trends and the game changing technology on the forefront, he reminded everyone that the patient remains the focal point.
Reflecting on this notion brought lessons for both inside and outside the workplace. Being in New Product Introduction, the fast pace environment can push you to your limits. But at the end of the day, with the Medtronic Mission in hand, the patient shall never be jeopardized.
Trying to make it to the Vice President status in my thirties, my driven personality has allowed for pressing decisions outside of work too but I can never lose sight of my values.
Remember why you're here
We often ask ourselves what our purpose is. Some may have figured it out and others will die searching. But regardless of whether or not you understand your true purpose in life, there's a reason for being where you are at any given moment.
Last month, I applied for an Engineering Manager position at our site. I mapped out my vision, the strategies to get there and the low hanging fruit to get the momentum started. All the cards were placed perfectly on the table and I knocked every interview out of the ball park.
On December 17th, I was told I didn't get it. I received positive feedback from directors, managers and program managers. And no substantial feedback on what I needed to develop.
I cried for hours. What did the other candidate have more of than me?
Returning to work after the holidays was difficult, since I had planned to be in a new position. And this past week, I stopped and knew there was some reason for still being in the role I'm in. I own this territory and there's something about that ownership that turned this let down into an opportunity.
Remember your end state
It wasn't easy hearing that I didn't get the position. But within minutes of being told that, I asked "what about the program management role that individual is transferring out of?"
I want to climb the corporate ladder. Lead people around the world in order to help us save and improve the lives of many individuals. Rather than getting negative, I was quickly able to ask about a different path to get to where I'm going.
Let's say I want to go to San Diego from Phoenix. The common route is the I-10 to the SR 87 to the I-8. But a recent expansion on the freeway has shutdown the 87. Do I go home and say forget about it?
If I really want to go to San Diego, I can take the I-10 to the I-5. I won't make in the same record time but I'll eventually get there to enjoy some amazing carne asada fries on the beach.
The point is I want to get to San Diego. By having the goal in mind, it becomes about the goal and not about the path. If I woke up and said I want to take the ten to the eight, I would've been frustrated at the closure and settled for another weekend in Phoenix.
Remember who you are
We cannot lose our souls. Unfortunately, it is is quite common to as life events occur, opportunities present themselves or tough decisions need to be made in a matter minutes.
The most important thing someone can do is to fall back on who they are and who they want to be.
Recently, I went out for coffee with a software engineer. I blocked three hours on my calendar- 30min driving time each way and two hours of socialization. I never met this person and yet the two hours passed remarkably fast. I stood up and thanked him for his company and walked away.
After successfully getting my number and an another opportunity to spend time with me, it was then I realized "wow- this must be the man I'm going to marry."
Funny how that works.
The butterflies floating in my stomach. The four hour phone conversations each night. The hand holding across Tempe Beachpark. The wonders of an early relationship. All great but I didn't lose sight of who I was.
It was easy for me to explain who I was and who I wanted to be when I grew up. And although my nerves keep racking up as the wedding date approaches, I know he fell in love with me for my values and my ambitions. So even if I wanted to lose sight of them, it would impact his world as much as mine.
The new year started out with a bang, planning for a wedding and assuming new responsibilities at work. With January coming to an end, I doubted my ability to maintain my personality and core competencies due to these changes.
But by remembering the purpose of my direction and the person I want to be on the other side, the route doesn't look so bumpy after all.
Since I can go home every night knowing I saved someone's life, it makes it all the easier to do all it over again the next day.
Changes will occur on a daily basis but I've worked this hard to get to where I am. It would be a shame to lose it all.
Don't sell your soul to the forces of nature. Use those forces to push yourself closer to your dream.