It’s hard to believe that we are in November. I double checked the calendar, and in fact, it is November. For those who have been following this journey, last year we designated November the Month of the Boss. Yes, this is my birthday month (November 16th), which is why it started, but this year it seems to connect a bit more with really forcing myself to boss up. This November after a long hard year, I’m taking a moment to collect my thoughts about my 33rd trip around the sun and like many this year has been a rollercoaster. If last year you would have told me that I would be away from my home in Dallas more than I was there in my 33rd year, I would have told you to kick rocks. If you would have told me that the businesses we created would be 100% remote, I would have also told you to kick rocks. And if you told me that the entire world would be turned upside down from a global pandemic, I would have taken you to the hospital for examination. But those are things that are common to all of us who are riding out this year. My last year on this planet has been far more than what meets the eye. In honor of the Month of the Boss, I’d like to reflect on this year’s rollercoaster in five areas: Pivots, Empathy, Silence, Innovation and Accountability.
- The Power of Pivots – I am a person who oddly embraces change, sometimes almost too much. This year I realized that one of my baseline skills is to power through the pivots. After the book was published and we accepted that this was going to be a bit more than a book, I had a clearly outlined vision of where this business would go. We have changed every single aspect. Even as someone who welcomes change, it can be difficult. Here’s why: the need for pivots and changes this year were not in my control. I leveled with myself that I enjoy change on my own terms. This year has taught me that curve balls cannot be controlled and in those moments I can find my true power and in some cases this year, I have found my purpose. Let’s take the podcast for example, I had carefully planned out an entire season under the assumption that I’d be sitting in the studio with my guest in the comfort of experienced producers. That clearly didn’t happen. After more than one mental breakdown, we are now wrapping Season One of Bitch I Quit with 40 solid episodes and a contracted inked for 140 more in Season Two. My logic around these episodes has changed, my topics have skewed outside of the comfort of career only conversations and we’ve pivoted in a stressful but successful way. There is power in pivots – but we have to remember that external driven pivots are not the same as an active choice to change. We have to evaluate those moves differently and give ourselves grace and different perspectives when we hold up a mirror to critique ourselves.
- Empowerment Starts with Empathy – This year has forced so many mirror staring sessions and every single one signifies a need to explore higher levels of empathy. I look around our business, our country and our experiences and I realize that one of the biggest boxes that has been created silences our individual stories. When we quiet our experiences or feel as though we can’t share them, we indirectly lose sight of empathy. We can’t fathom what anyone is going through. This year I’ve made it my mission to listen. Which if you know me is much harder than talking. But I have chosen to spend my year listening to increase my awareness and practice empathy. I don’t think you can teach empathy, I think you can teach people to listen. And when we listen, the hope is that we can appreciate that person’s story. From there empathy is born. This was one of the most powerful lessons I learned this year.
- Silence is Deafening – It took this last year for me to realize that despite being a self proclaimed extroverted loud woman, my positions needed to be articulated. This year taught me that we must not assume others understand our place for and against matters in any context. I also learned that by making the assumption, silence perpetuates the worst in every situation. There is strength in numbers and that works both ways. I have committed to ongoing conversations in areas outside of myself to not only ally up, but ally out. I realized that it’s more than standing up in a situation, but standing out to take on part of the weight. We’ve made outward strides in our business, not to brag or to seem woke, but to be clear: who we are, what we stand for and what we won’t stand for.
- Innovation is Required from Everyone – This year I realized that innovation is not exclusive to production development or technology. Innovation must be a part of our DNA as professionals. When we aren’t creating, we aren’t living. When we aren’t solving problems, we are actively allowing them to exist. Where there is innovation, there is evolution. And our innovation is not exclusive to our areas of expertise in the current moment. One of the things I am most proud of this year is my exploration of how to use tools deemed spiritual in a strategic way. In a year of my life that was disturbing and downright depressing, I didn’t turn to business strategy, as I did in the past, I turned to the tools of intuition, personal mentorship and manifestation. It has forced me to look at how I can incorporate the practices I’ve created into a career track. This year I changed my entire outlook from career advancement to career wellness. That’s right, you heard it here first: career wellness is a thing. I got to this place because innovation has been vital to my survival in my 33rd lap around the sun. And while I have been hesitant to share this program, I realize that it’s another box I am escaping from and being innovative in the career space and how we care for our career is my purpose.
- Accountability is Queen – There were days I didn’t want to get up. There were days that I wanted to quit. There were days that I cried myself to sleep. And I let that happen, because it needed to. But I realized that accountability is queen. I am allowed to have my moment, but if I don’t hold myself accountable to pick myself back up, no one will. In a year where we aren’t going to the office, I need to be accountable to hold up my end of the bargain. In a year where we can’t see each other in person, I need to be accountable for the same if not better experience for myself and for my team even when it’s hard. And when shit hits the fan, if I don’t hold myself accountable no one will. If I have learned anything from this last year that I hope to transfer to everyone: you are in the driver’s seat. You and only you can determine the path because at the end of the day, you are the one looking back in the mirror,
In a year that has been extremely difficult to navigate, I am grateful for the lessons I have learned and continue to learn. 33 is nothing like I would have expected, but I have listened, I have learned and I have unlearned. My expectations for 34 are vastly different than any other year. My expectations are for internal growth, honesty with myself, empathy to the tenth power, valuable volume for all voices, instilling innovation and above all else accountability for my actions and my impact on this world.