“The longer you’re a teacher, the less you remember what it is like to be a student. The longer you’re a doctor, the less you remember what it is like to be a patient. The longer you’re a coach, the less you remember what it is like to be a player. Change positions. A new perspective can improve your old methods.”James Clear
Such a great reminder for me at this important moment in my career shifts and changes. I can be honest with myself (which is all that matters in purpose or intentional work for one’s self) I never saw myself back in the seat of a single contributor in charge of just a small team of people.
Yet, here I am reconstructing what it meant to start here, why I became a DM for 15 years, and then be in charge of a massive team in a big box retailer after that for another 11 years. It’s been beyond challenging. Humbling at times. But, also, amazingly rewarding. My best days I have, make up for weeks of loses. I’m literally in the dirt digging myself and team out almost daily. Grinding away for that light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Why is the tunnel so long?
We need real reminders on where we came from, why we moved to the positions we are in, and yes, a chance to be reminded however painful it feels in our quest for the “why”, why we made the choice to do what we do in the first place. To remember the people that helped is along the way. The PT, less than 20 hours a week, team member that gave us great feedback to learn from.
We always thought it was us that made us who we are. How wrong we were. It was them that reminded us, shaped us, and made us better people leaders than we could ever be on our own.
I have over 26+ years of retail leadership in my career. Three very different types of retail. All about people. Helping others find the best version of themselves in a place they feel safe and able to do that. I don’t care what the “genre” of where you work was or is, people are people. Humans are humans. Helping them shine, that’s the work I love in whatever role I am as an influencer. That’s my purpose. To make others aware of how great they are in who they are.
What I do know it’s hard. Some days, impossibly hard, like you won’t win kind of hard so why try. But necessary. Necessary to also shake it up. Don’t get comfortable even for three days, months, years. Plan into your strategies ways to get uncomfortable so you keep your edge. Don’t get lazy. Don’t forget where or who helped you get to what you are now. That would be an incredible shame for you lose foresight and near-sight in what you can gain from that learn.
Why do this? Why is James Clear such a believer in this practice to physically put yourself into a position to remember your origin story? I’ve relearned what my limits are. I am learning a perspective I lost because I got comfortable. Callouses grew over my old learns. The old is NEW and is worth more than anything in what’s next for my career over what I can learn in a class, or a book.
During a very complacent time in my progress as a leader, I forgot how damaging blind spots can be. Get uncomfortable! Find a way to shake yourself up! Things in your career rear view mirror ARE closer than they seem. Do not find yourself forgotten and surprised on where you end up.
That number you don’t want to be a representative of, the “who are you talking about” group, you will be if you can not figure it out. No one company or start up, needs someone that is a “who are you talking about?” What’s your legacy? How are you remembered once you you’re given the golden Rolex of retirement? Agility with time and change. Choice. You’re in charge of you. Take charge! Not a single person will do it for you no matter how connected or thoughtful you are in your current role.
Own it! Go back to your birth! Relearn again, what got you on the path to begin with. Then do it again next year! Make it a habit, system, and plan to be reminded where you started. It’s rocket fuel and a second chance to be greater than you thought you could ever be. It’s your purpose and that purpose needs to be fertilized, watered, fed or it will die.