The Mission Starts With Me
Updated: Feb 1
Several months ago, I started waking up before 5AM, for no particular reason. I’ve never been the best sleeper, but this was new. After a few weeks of trying to fight it, I gave in and tried to make use of the “extra” time. This consisted of trying to write more, experimenting with meditation, trying to catch up on emails, and posting on social media my random, early morning thoughts. One thing I discovered? I wasn’t alone in being up that early!
Then our daughter’s freshman year started. A rigorous HS Academy, Global Culture and Languages (proud parents moment). A new school, new friends, new challenges, and having to be at school by “OH-DARK-30” - military speak for DAMN, THIS IS WAY TOO EARLY! If you have followed the journey, you know our struggles, including the late arrivals, missed classes, classwork & homework not completed.
Today, we arrived at school ten minutes before the opening bell. Calm, relaxed, saying goodbye with our secret handshake. Yes, we are still tired. Yes, we still have our anxious moments. Yes, the journey continues filled with potholes, sudden stops, unexpected turns. But today marks the last day of January, and a full calendar month of on time and even early arrivals.
Today (well technically tomorrow) is the last day of our fiscal year. Marked with an afternoon #ALLHANDS meeting, 300+ associates in my “Code” – military speak for department. Celebrating successes, recognizing failures, anticipating challenges, charting a course for success. I will be sharing the initial roll out of our /MISSION:YOU strategy to leverage the purpose driven power of our culture, and elevate how our success lies in each individual stepping forward to achieve their part of our mission. Asking each person, how can we come together as ONE MISSION, ONE TEAM and what single thing can YOU do to help drive success.
My commitment is to “Empower my team to lead, while I block and tackle, supporting them from behind the scenes by working to overcome obstacles in their path.”
You may be tempted to queue applause and tell me how awesome I am. Don’t. This is actually a recognition of a leadership failure, or at a minimum, a struggle. Over the last couple of years, I have bravely charged windmills (a prize for whoever gets the reference), showing my team the way, but when I looked back to see where the team was, I couldn’t see them through the smoke billowing from the fires that they were fighting. It hit me that great ideas doesn't always equal great leadership, and that leading your team often times means cheering from the sidelines, being available to coach, sit back and actively listen, and at times, putting on the pads and doing some blocking and tackling.
My “Mission You” starts with “MISSION ME.”
Self-reflection. Acceptance of imperfection and even failure. Willingness to be, admit, and publicly state that maybe “I was wrong.” While having the bravery to move forward.
I mentioned early on that I have experimented with meditation. That sounds so cool, so “new age”, doesn’t it? It just means I am trying, when I remember, when I feel like it. It lasts for a few seconds before my mind floods with thoughts. But I haven’t quit. One thing that has helped is the CALM app, which I inadvertently downloaded as a free trial and panicked when I was charged $70 a week later! But for me, it has helped. Especially the ten minute “Daily Calm” sessions that combine meditative practices with a lesson of the day.
This morning I dug a little deeper into the story of their head of content, Tamara Levitt, and came across the ten-minute video, the link for you will see posted below. I watched it early this morning. I had my daughter watch it during the car ride to work. It speaks to not being defined by failure, but using it as a stepping stone to climb higher. Reach farther. Follow your passion. And understand the importance of the journey.
Perhaps you will find it helpful as you discover your mission. Either way, thank you for being part of the journey, and have a spectacular day!