I struggled the last five days with what to write about in the next blog post. Nothing seemed to fit, nothing seemed to be real.
Then, this morning, I was getting ready after showering and I knew what I wanted to write about. The last two years. What I’ve learnt.
So here it goes:
1. Make people feel safe. We’re scared. All of us. All the time. Scared of not being enough, scared of who we might become, scared of what we are able to do. The greatest gift you can give someone is to create a safe space where people can grow. Where they can experiment, where they can be themselves, where they don’t have to be scared of consequences. That’s when magic happens.
2. Care. Deeply. You are working with people. People have lives. Lives beyond their work. They have husbands, kids, cats, wishes, dreams, hopes, fears. And they don’t just leave them at the door when they come to work in the morning. “Work-life balance” is such a bullshit term because it implies that they are two separate things - work and life. But they’re not. It’s your job - especially when you’re the boss - to understand this. To understand what everyone is dealing with, how people feel, how people are, where they want to go and what they care about. And the only way to do that is to care yourself. Yes, this will make you vulnerable. You will hurt. But it’s the only way to do it.
3. Be yourself. One thing I’ve heard over and over again is that I’m too emotional. You know what? Fuck this. Yes, I am emotional. And this is part of what makes me good at what I’m good at (see 2. Care.). And you also know what? This is not going to go away. I am who I am. You are who you are. And yes, you can grow and evolve and work on yourself, but the fundamentals, the beliefs, the values, they are going to stay the same. You’ve arrived at where you are not despite of who you are, but because of who you are. Value that. Surround yourself with people who help you grow, but who also deeply understand who you are and who are not trying to change that.
4. Don’t settle. Don’t. Not in life, not in love, nowhere. If you’re not happy, change something. There’s something (and someone) out there for you. Something that makes you happy, something that makes you feel safe, something that will not always be easy, but oh so worth it. I think this is something you can only understand when you’ve found it once. If you haven’t - trust me. It’s there. Waiting for you.
P.S.: If you’re curious, I’ve written two similar posts before during the two years. The first after 6 months: “Life as a team lead. Success, laughter, tears.” and the second one about 1.5 years in: “5 practical tips for surviving your promotion”. They are less personal, but a good starting point to understand the prequel to the journey.