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  • The Most Impactful Mentor and Mentee Relationships

    A great deal has been written about mentoring in books, podcasts, TED Talks, and beyond. While there are best practices and practical ways to approach mentoring, I have found that the strongest mentoring and mentee relationships are rooted in the personal connection between the two individuals. This week, I’m sharing three mentoring experiences that I’ve had in my career, including how they came to fruition, the engagement model, and the short and long-term benefits that have been gained. 

    Serving as a Mentor 

    Something really special happened to me on Veteran’s Day 2022. I’ve always appreciated the sacrifices that military members and their families have made for our country. Our active duty military and veterans are the reason why America is the land of the free and home of the brave.  My gratitude for serving in the Armed Forces grew even deeper when I started dating my boyfriend, now husband, and heard his story of attending the Naval Academy and his five years of service afterward. So bringing it back to this past Veteran’s Day and the email I received from LinkedIn:

    You have the skills to help a veteran build a fulfilling career. That’s why we’ve partnered with the nonprofit American Corporate Partners (ACP) for Veterans Day to offer a unique, customized mentoring opportunity to professionals like you.

    As a mentor, you’ll share invaluable career advice with your Veteran Protégé to help them break into the tech field. This is a year-long opportunity with a time commitment of approximately one hour per month and can be entirely virtual.

    I was intrigued and it felt like this opportunity to give back to someone who served came at just the right time. I decided to check out the ACP and learn more about how I could help a former military member enter into a career as a civilian. Very quickly I was matched with my protege and each of us jumped into this relationship with both feet. Our first conversation was a get-to-know-you chat where we talked about our work experiences, hopes for the future, families, and how we could learn from each other. I could tell from this first meeting that spending time together was going to positively impact both of us.

    Then we moved into the next phase where we dove into my protege’s resume and cover letter. This was some of the most fun work so far. We reviewed his resume line-by-line and translated the 25 years of military service and achievements into corporate language. We made sure the words were authentic and his own, but talked about how some bullets points such as – I built consensus in our military decision making across my battalion and execute those orders can be translated into civilian speak such as – I will be able to work across cross-functional teams and divisions to drive toward team decisions making for company success. We spoke about evolving language from being tactical-based to outcome-oriented. Within just one update the resume evolved to be one where someone who is glancing at a resume for 10 or 20 seconds would put this one in the yes pile.

    The third session had us doing mock interviews. I played the role of the interviewer and peppered my protege with questions about the 25 years of military service and how they could serve him well in civilian life. We brainstormed on the lessons he learned in the military, his biggest successes, and what are his strengths. After each question and answer, we went back through the answers and crisped them up. I could bring the background of someone who has been in tech for 25 years and has interviewed hundreds of people. So I let him know how various phrases landed on me or asked for clarification about a military termination I didn’t understand. We kept refining until I could grasp and appreciate the details in non-military terminology, but still his own story.

    Now we are at the stage where my protege has several interviews under his belt and it is likely to be moving toward an offer or two. I’m excited about this next chapter for him and what that will mean for his life. I feel very grateful LinkedIn connected us and I have an opportunity to contribute to the next chapter in my protege’s life.  

    Peers as Mentors

    Oftentimes when people think about mentors, they assume the relationship needs to be with an executive who has two decades more experience than us and can impart deep wisdom in every interaction. Those types of mentors are wonderful, but I’ve also had peers who I have considered mentors as well. Peers have a way of seeing your blindspots daily and when they are generous to point those out, they can be life-changing. When you have a great colleague that you interact with regularly, the relationship does not need to be formal. Often it was when my peer and I had our 1:1s that she would share a perspective and it was a growth opportunity for me. I also knew the spirit that she shared feedback was to be candid and to help me improve; there was no other motive.

    Our conversations were wide-ranging – how would we partner for success, what projects were underway that we could brainstorm about, and any challenges between our two teams we needed to iron out and beyond. My peer did not have a selfish bone in her body. She was willing to give advice freely. She was driven and hard-charging, however, she wanted the best outcome for us and our organization, which I found refreshing and unique. Since my peer had a few years more experience them me at our company, she was able to guide me, especially in my early days, about what approach might work with certain people or not. This was invaluable as I was learning the lay of the land. 

    I will always look fondly back on the partnership and take the lessons that I’ve learned throughout my career, especially the skills around being brutally honest but doing it in a way that cares deeply about the individual getting the feedback. 

    Finding a Mentor

    I might be atypical in my approach to identifying mentors throughout my career, but I’ve never approached someone and formally asked them to be my mentor. It has always happened much more organically for me. Of those relationships, each was with colleagues at the same company and generally in the same office. There was no need to set up formal sessions and do monthly Zoom calls, but the interactions, whether they were coffees, lunches, or 1:1s, happened naturally when the time and setting were right. There were absolutely times when I reached out and asked for a few minutes of someone’s time and we could jump on a quick call or meet in person if that was an option.

    What I’ve always found valuable from my mentors is being able to give them actual situations and talk through the pros and cons of one approach versus another. It was never about telling me how to do my job, but instead having another individual provide their insight that might be different than mine about a specific situation. I’ve often found mentors outside of my department to be very helpful since they can have a more objective view of the challenge I’m facing without knowing the exact details of the situation. As I’ve advanced in my career, it has become clear that most challenges can be tackled in many ways as opposed to only one approach. Mentors help you open the aperture and see a wider view of people or a situation. They can also probe and ask you questions you might have not thought of, so you can arrive at the decision yourself not being told to do a, b, then c. 

    The best mentor and mentee relationships came down to chemistry. When there is an opportunity for both of you to be honest with one another that leads to growth and gaining new perspectives. I’ve found being mentored and providing mentorship to be one of the most gratifying aspects of my career and benefits each party for years to come.

  • Determining if a Public Relations Agency is Right for Your Organization

    You are at a stage with your organization where you have worked hard to find product market fit and are gaining traction by landing new customers who are finding value in your offering. There is some strong momentum with the formation of your executive team, the product showing early promise, and customer adoption growing steadily. Now you are thinking about what is next since you’re anxious to tell the company story broadly. Hiring a public relations agency is likely the next step and you are wondering what an agency could mean for your company. This blog explores the benefits of hiring an agency and discusses the timing of bringing them on board. 

    There is no exact moment when all companies can say, yes we are ready for a PR agency. Blanket statements such as, once we hit $15 million in revenue we’re ready or we are about to announce our seed funding and now is the time. A better way to tell if agency support is needed for your business is based on the formation of your story and the people who can tell it. 

    Here are the most important elements of the story that you should be close to nailing as you think about hiring a PR agency – company positioning, value proposition, branding, product differentiators, and having a few early customer wins. All of these pieces do not need to be perfectly polished, but you need to be able to answer what you do, why it is unique, how it is better, and what the benefits are to the customer. These components should come together in a messaging document and/or a company presentation which are clear, concise, and can be understood by non-technical people. If you hire a PR agency before knowing your company story, you are likely wasting your time and the agency. 

    Once your company narrative is documented and well-understood among the executives, 

    you need to ask yourself why you want a PR agency. Is it for a specific one-time announcement, product news, or an event, or are you looking for a sustained relationship that will build over weeks and months? If the answer is we need short-term help to achieve a single goal, I would suggest you find the right PR contractor to help you achieve this goal. But be careful of promises of guaranteed results based on a relationship that is only going to last a month or two. I’m not saying that it will take years to deliver media results, but building platforms, crafting pitches, and getting interest from the right reporter takes a while. This is not a few-day exercise, but as you build relationships with reporters you might need to brief them multiple times over a few-month period to get them interested.   

    Now that you know your story, you have the right executives to tell the story, and you know the goals you want to achieve by hiring an agency, here is what you can expect from a successful PR agency.

    Storytelling

    At the heart of the client and PR agency relationship is storytelling. The company’s founding story, offerings, the executive team, excitement about where you are taking the company, and early customer success are all critical. The agency plays a key role in the brand you are building and your reputation. Knowing the topics you want to own and how these play into the current news cycle will be critical. Do you have a great story about your AI product? Are you transforming the way the world manages data? Are you creating the next great app? Then you need to be in the media cycles discussing your offering and how is unique and differentiated. For technology companies specifically, the founders, origin story, and background on funding are usually some of the most enticing to the media. Focus early efforts on why the company was founded along with how your product is impacting customers, organizations, and society. 

    Deep Media Relationships

    The media relationships that PR agencies can bring are one of the key aspects of what differentiates them and it is a huge value they can bring to your partnership. When picking a PR agency, ask for journalist references. Reporters will be able to give you a sense of what it is like to work with this agency. You will want to hear from journalists if this specific agency is responsive, do they bring creative ideas to reporters, and if have they delivered on their promises in the past. Frankly, do journalists like working with them? Different agencies have different reputations. You can tell when an agency is really strong when journalists are coming to them to seek ideas, ask for comments, and engage in dialog outside of just the article they are working on. Make sure your agency is seen as a respected resource that journalists rely on. 

    Determining Where to Tell Your Story

    While many organizations would love an article in the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, or to be trending on HackerNews, working with your agency to determine the best reporters and outlets is key. It is important to think beyond traditional media. Your agency can help you answer the question, where are interesting discussions going on about topics you care about and have a unique point of view? Are those happening on social channels, Medium, or other spots where your voice could add to the discussion? Agencies can be great resources for actively listening for signals and prompting you and your team to respond to conversations that matter. Taking part in authentic community dialog can be as critical as media coverage. 

    If the goal is to reach customers and prospects, you need to go to the watering holes they are hanging out in. And while those places could include the NYTimes and VentureBeat, likely the audience is in more narrow channels focusing on specific topics that are relevant to them. Today, the audience cares more about finding the information they need quickly and from an authentic and trusted source, rather than only relying on big media to distribute news. 

    Exceptional Writing 

    Content is king as we know. Standing out in the market takes differentiated points of view, having your content show up in the right place at the right time, and for the right communities to engage with, such as liking, sharing, and commenting on the content. Building great content takes time. PR agencies today add unique value by having exceptional writers, often former journalists, on staff. These writers have a nose for news and that is helpful as you craft and tell your story. Helping to understand your authentic voice and thinking about the best place to tell your story, via written content, placed articles, media interviews, or podcasts helps determine the full media strategy for the coming quarter or year. 

    Assistance with Crisis Comms

    Avoiding crises is generally “Plan A” but challenging media situations arise even in smaller companies. You don’t need to be the size of Apple, Meta, or Amazon to have negative press coverage. Media crises can frequently start with an observer or stakeholder sharing a perspective on social media which stirs up controversy. One tweet, one LinkedIn post, or one comment on a blog can quickly spiral out of control and get picked up by major media outlets and paint your organization in a negative light. Having an agency that you trust to bring into the inner circle to get guidance is key. You will want to bring in the right internal and external team to have discussions as quickly as possible and develop a plan of action. The first step is to convene a call with the most senior members of the team and talk through your options.

    That plan might be to go on the offensive quickly with the media or to share a perspective with employees. No matter what actions you decide to take, you need an experienced team at the ready who has a plan and can update the plan quickly as the situation unfolds. The approach you don’t want to take is to wait and hope the situation blows over. Hope is not a strategy! The key is to be prepared for a crisis and tackle the matter head-on.  

    5 Questions to Ask Yourself if a PR Agency is Right for You Today

    1. Do I have my company story articulated and ready to share?
    2. What are the goals I want to achieve by hiring an agency?
    3. Is the budget there to have a sustained effort with the agency?
    4. Are we at a point where we have news that we can share on a regular basis?
    5. Is the CEO or another C-level executive trained and ready for media?

    Hiring a PR agency is a big and exciting step in your organization’s journey. Treating the agency as if they were an internal team member is critical. They need to get to know you and the direction of the company to be effective. Bringing them in as a trusted council, and having spirited discussions about your platform, product story, and company story is fun. When you find the right fit with an agency, you will have a relationship that will be mutually beneficial and can last many years. One of the more gratifying aspects of working teaming with an agency is when you see a positive story about your company in print, there is almost nothing more exciting for employees, customers, and prospects.

  • Making an Impact at Your New Job

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that Americas have held an average of 12.4 jobs from ages 18-54. A recent study from the Harris Poll exclusively for Fast Company found that the majority (52%) of U.S. workers are considering a job change this year, and as many as 44% have plans to make the leap. The bottom line, many people will be changing roles in the new year. 

    Now that the interviews are finished and your start date is decided upon, it is time to think about your first 100 days on the job. A new job can bring lots of excitement, but also a learning curve of new processes and people, maybe a different industry, and a company culture that is unique to every organization. So what do you tackle first? This blog will explore ways to get some quick wins and make an impact during your first three months. 

    There are a number of good resources to help you get off on the right foot and make a quick impact. One of the books I found most helpful is Your First 100 Days In a New Executive Job: Powerful First Steps On The Path to Greatness. For me, I do my best to balance coming in where I listen and learn, but at the same time be decisive and move forward with transformational goals. Here is what I’ve learned and refined over the years about having an impact on new organizations. 

    1. Learn, Absorb, and Ask Questions

    There is no better time than during your first three months at a company to have close to a zero inbox, a calendar free of recurring meetings, and only a handful of Slack messages to respond to. In addition to the mandatory first-week training, block your calendar to do a deep dive into everything from earnings scripts, Sales Kick Off materials, and spend time getting familiar with the overall company presentation, products, and persona messaging. This will give you a good sense of the business and technology messaging as well as who you are selling to. 

    One of the companies I started at has deep onboarding on a monthly basis. I took that training a couple of weeks into the job and just a few days before the session, I was told I would be standing in front of the class giving the corporate presentation. You better believe I dove into the company materials to be ready to not embarrass myself presenting to the class of about 50 of my peers. It was an excellent way to dive into the messaging, our competitive positioning and our customer wins to show that I knew my stuff.

    Don’t expect to know everything during the first few weeks. Yes, you were hired for your expertise in your field, but ask clarifying questions when something is unclear or you are learning about different areas of the business. During orientation, many companies have executives present and are there to give you more insight into the company. Don’t be shy, raise your hand and clarify anything that is on your mind.

    1. Share Your Early Observations  

    After the first week, I like to put my observations on paper and share them with my manager. You’ll likely have had dozens of 1:1s, and numerous hallway conversations, where you are starting to get a sense of your team. Have there been any surprises in terms of comments from the team about projects they have underway or shocked you about processes that are not in place yet? These early observations form the bases of your 100-day plan. When you present these observations to your manager, validate with her that what you’ve seen and heard is consistent with the future direction that you and your team need to go. If you have a team that is made up of managers-of-managers, you’ll likely want to do some skip-level meetings with non-direct reporters to determine if each of those groups is performing optimally and helping grow the business. 

    1. Setting Expectations 

    It is rare to start a new job when everything is functioning perfectly. There are likely areas of focus your manager shared with you during your interview process that he would like you to dive into. That combined with your own observations during the first few weeks means there is work for you to dive into. 

    As people and teams are coming together to form one cohesive organization, it is critical to set expectations with the team, but more importantly with your boss on what can be accomplished and by when. By either setting too modest or too aggressive goals, people will be disappointed. I have found that finding the sweet spot with goals being lofty but achievable is generally the most motivating. Making sure to also focus on the adequate time you need to transform your function as opposed to aiming for unrealistic timing in just a matter of days or weeks is critical. 

    Creating inspiration and aggressive, but achievable, goals that are aligned with business goals is the best way I’ve found that people get excited to do their best. Once you have those SMART goals written down, shared with your team, and vetted with your boss, you will be ready to go. I am a fan of both quarterly and annual goals. Creating quarterly goals keeps you on track day-to-day and annual goals help with big-picture business alignment. Share your vision and goals widely in the organization to get buy-in and solicit help from those outside of your core team.  

    1. Building Relationships

    Getting to know the organization’s leaders, your peers, and your team is imperative for your first 100 days. There are likely employees you met during the interview process that you have built a bit of a rapport with and that is a great starting place. Take the extra time to get to know critical employees who will play a role in your and your team’s success. If possible meet in person, which I’ve found can help start a relationship off on the right track. Do your homework and bring good questions to those meetings. Try to get a sense of this individual you are meeting with and if they are a fan of your organization or if there is some work you need to do to repair any past issues. 

    Rarely in a work setting are people doing solo missions and everything they have achieved is due to just their efforts. Most projects these days are team-based and require help from across your organization and across the company. Think about pulling off a major customer event with thousands of attendees. Almost the entire company is involved in bringing these major productions to life. Having the relationships in place when you are asking someone for their time, expertise, and commitment will go a long way in achieving your goals. 

    1. Bring New Ideas

    One of the best ways to have an impact early on is to come up with great ideas, maybe something no one at the company has thought of to help build a campaign to reach new customers. Be creative and suggest your ideas. Not all of them will hit the mark, but you might have the idea that will launch a movement. At a previous company, our mascot was a polar bear. One night I was thinking about how we could continue to get employees and external stakeholders engaged and build a great love for the mascot. I searched to see if there was an international polar bear day and there is February 27. This day became a rallying cry to get employees engaged around donating to saving polar bears in the arctic. We also partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to symbolically adopt hundreds of polar bears. It became a movement that many rallied around. 

    Your first 100 days are critical for success. You want to set an agenda, establish yourself, and deliver a plan that will have a lasting business impact. Focusing on some quick wins and creative thinking will show you are the right person today and for the future. Use the momentum and relationships you have established during the first quarter to also set yourself and the team up for long-term success and the ability to grow your impact.

  • Authentic Storytelling and Public Speaking

    “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy,” said Jerry Seinfeld.

    One of the key aspects of a communications leader’s role is preparing your executives for interviews and keynote presentations. Whether it is a live broadcast interview, a business press interview, or getting the CEO ready for her big keynote, PR people try to think of every possible outcome to ensure our leader is prepared with the answers she needs and shows up well in any situation they are in.

    So what happens when the tables are turned and the PR pros are asked to speak? I was recently thinking about one of my earliest keynotes at a Ragan Communications conference about 15 years ago. I felt like I was ready to take all the advice I had given and apply it to my talk. 

    The event took part at the Microsoft campus in Seattle in front of a couple of hundred of my peers. My topic was focused on measurement in the communications field. Piece of cake, I got this. Well, I did not. The short version of why the talk failed was my story was not crisp enough and took the audience over a multiyear journey without clear key messages. I did not follow my own advice around sticking to three key points and giving prescriptive advice that anyone could implement when they want back to the office. Once I wrapped up my keynote, I knew I disappointed my audience and myself. My presentation was mediocre at best and the scores reflected this. 

    Before I do any public speaking today, I think about this conference and reflect on where I went wrong and how I can improve in each subsequent talk. Here are my five takeaways that I always keep on top of mind, so you can deliver a memorable keynote by taming your fears and telling your authentic story on stage. 

    1. Emphasize Your Main Point Emphatically

    A Yale study found that audience members remember 60 percent of your presentation after 20 minutes, 40 percent of your presentation within half a day, and 10 percent within a week. Think of all the work you have put into the keynote and only 10 percent will be remembered within 7 days of giving it. People are awash in data and information, so you need to be very focused on your message. Have no more than three messages. Are you able to answer this key question – what action do I want my audience to take after listening to me? Be very clear and emphatically emphasize your point. You need the listener to absorb what you presenting, remember what you shared, and be motivated to take the action you have suggested. Make sure your messages tie to your call to action and what you want the listeners to do after your talk. Practice your keynote in front of a trusted friend or partner. If they cannot easily pick out the key point and the action steps you are suggesting, go back to the drawing board and refine your messaging. 

    1. Know Your Audience 

    Storytelling is one of the key ways each of us connects with one another on a deeper level. By knowing your audience, you can tap into their emotions and motivations. Will they generally be supportive of you or are they skeptical of the topic you are presenting? If you are talking to sales leaders versus engineers versus marketers, they will likely have different mindsets and motivations. Understand what they want to gain from this talk – gain a new skill, education about a new product, or be motivated to give their money or time to a charity. The one commonality is that audience will remember stories more than facts, figures, and data. Weave in anecdotes. It is also nice to relate to people with humor. You can get the crowd engaged with appropriate lighthearted comments, which will put a smile on their face and have them leaning into the talk. Building connections within your presentation that are clear, concise, and compelling are keys to winning over the audience and being memorable.

    1. Be Authentic

    You are likely a leader in your field and on the subject you are talking about, so make sure to share your story. Personal anecdotes go a long way. When you find a topic that people can relate to, you will see nodding of heads and facial expressions from your audience that show they are engaged and are on this journey with you. When you present with passion the audience can feel your enthusiasm and that goes a long way in motivating them to take action. Matching your words with your expressions and movement on stage makes you look comfortable and engaging since you are able to look people in the eyes and have one-to-one contact. Make sure to be big on the stage, meaning you can walk and talk across the entire space. There is a fine balance between using the stage to make eye contact with the audience members versus nervously pacing and walking back and forth. Finding the right balance is key. Use facial expressions and hand or arm gestures. Ensure these movements are natural and not overly rehearsed or your audience will see right through this.

    1. Being Nervous is Okay

    Even the best keynote speakers’ hearts race, develop sweaty palms, and experience anxiety before they walk on stage. But they take that nervous energy and channel it for the positive. Admitting that you have anxiety is fine and can often put the audience at ease. While you want to be comfortable with your material, a minor misstep here or there is fine. Know your key points, but do not memorize your keynote, since that will feel rehearsed to the crowd. Remember to pause on stage. Sometimes it will feel like everything is coming out of you quickly and your mind goes blank, just breathe. Slow down and recenter yourself to get back on track. Just like conversations have a flow, you don’t need to have every line be perfect. Use minimal notes to guide you on key points, but don’t script out that talk.

    1. Visual Aids are Only for Support 

    We’ve all seen slides that try to do too much – too many words, visuals that are busy, and animations that distract us. As you create your slides have them supplement your story, not be used as replacements for your story. Channel Steve Jobs when you create your slides – simple and stunning. These are just the backdrop for your keynote. Less is more but in terms of your slides and words. Instead of filling up space and time, think about impact and simplicity.    

    Once your keynote is over, congratulate yourself. It’s never easy to go on stage and speak, whether the audience is 50, 500, or 5,000. Hopefully, the keynote is recorded and at the right time, you can watch it and write down what worked and what you would improve on. Look at the feedback forms. See how the audience rated you. Talk with colleagues who are willing to give you honest feedback. 

    Now that you have the event behind you, put yourself in situations where you can continue to practice. It will get easier and easier to get up on stage with each talk. To conquer any fear, commit to getting better, and work on this craft. Enlist professional help through your company or third parties that can help you build your story and tell it in the most compelling way. There are great resources out there to help you. create your keynote, perfect your delivery, and develop your visuals. As you take positive steps forward on this journey, people will start to seek you out to speak, which is exciting and flattering. 

  • Handle Hard Better

    “So make yourself a person that handles hard well. Not someone that is waiting for the easy. Because if you have a meaningful pursuit in life, it will never be easy,” said Kara Lawson, Duke Women’s Basketball Coach. 

    Watching the video of Duke’s women’s basketball coach speaking the words above really moved me. It also brought me back to my volleyball-playing days at Cal. Our coaches and professors certainly prepared us for life after college, but Coach Lawson’s advice was a bit more direct, hard-hitting, and honest. If you have not seen it yet, it is a very worthwhile three minutes of your time. The quick summary is that she talks about life not getting easier once we have arrived at a specific place in life, but instead more challenges come our way and we need to have developed the ability to handle things better. 

    This sentiment hits the nail on the head for me. I can think back to being a junior in high school with a rigorous school schedule. On top of the standard classroom and social activities, I was playing school and club volleyball and basketball. My days were packed from 7 am to 11 pm most days, including the weekends. I loved it, but remember believing when I am a high school senior things will get easier. Nope, it didn’t. I think back to college and being a student-athlete, where we were training hard, traveling, and dealing with the rigors of college and I just knew the working life would be easier when I had just a 9-5 job and only worked five days a week. Nope, this wasn’t the case, especially working in Silicon Valley. 

    And the story goes on and on. When I’m married this will be easier, when the baby turns one that will be easier, when I achieve a certain work title, or, when my salary reaches a certain level when I retire, it all gets easier. Nope, not true. New challenges come. Bigger obstacles are thrown at you. Those earlier experiences were just preparing you for bigger moments. 

    Life is not about getting to a certain place and saying I’ve arrived and telling yourself that you can relax  I think if we are intellectually honest, very few of us would want the easy route. If you feel like you have achieved many of your goals it’s probably time to set more and even loftier ones. Your goals don’t stop just because you reached a certain age, level in your organization, or a specific number in your retirement savings. I would argue that your life would have little meaning if you stopped thinking about what is next. We need mental and physical stimulation and life goals to point us in the right direction.   

    The concept of the arrival fallacy is similar to thinking about life getting easier. The Harvard-trained psychology expert, Tal Ben-Shahar, came up with the term. He describes the arrival fallacy as “this illusion that once we make it, once we attain our goal or reach our destination, we will reach lasting happiness”. The cliche ‘life is not a destination, but a journey’ is so very true. You need to enjoy the journey, in all its glorious ups and tragic downs. 

    There is a good amount of research about achievement, specifically your salary not equating to happiness once it reaches a certain level. There might be a short-lived bump in happiness after a purchase, but possessions don’t translate into lasting happiness. Similarly, with personal and  professional goals we set for ourselves, we believe once we run a marathon in less than four hours or we achieve our vice president title we will be happy. The arrival fallacy debunks that myth. Professor Ben-Shahar’s solution is to reframe your goals to avoid an anti-climax. It is critical to keep setting more goals as opposed to reaching the finish line and saying I’m finished. 

    So how can all of us handle hard better

    1. Show up every day and face down hard

    Avoiding hard, sweeping it under the rug, and blaming other people is easy. Looking hard in the face and telling yourself you are going to deal with it and taking daily steps to move beyond is critical. Don’t withdraw in tough times. The problem will not go away. It will continue to come up over and over again and likely get worse. It is vital that you also make sure to recognize your emotions. These feelings can range widely on any given day – mad, sad, frustrated, whatever it is. Once you are ready to take on the hard, make positive steps each day to tackle this challenge, and make sure to look back at the progress over weeks and months to recognize where you came from.

    1. Try different approaches

    Oftentimes when I’m feeling stuck or at a crossroads, it is because I’m repeatedly trying the same strategy to fix the problem. If the approach you took the last time didn’t work, change it up. Move out of your comfort zone. Talk with a trusted friend and get their perspective about the situation, so you can bounce ideas off of one another. Keep at it with your challenge. Make sure you are not dwelling on the mistake or problem. That will get you nowhere. Stay positive that the next approach will work. And even if you are only seeing increments of improvement, push forward. Progress is happening, just not as fast as you likely had hoped.

    1. Knowing “tomorrow” will be better 

    There are many ups and downs at work – economic uncertainty, layoffs, new bosses, and beyond. You have experienced tough situations before and guess what, you are here today and stronger because of it. Think back to past experiences and how you pushed through and are that much stronger and more resilient. You are tenacious, strong, and have the conviction that when you wake up tomorrow it will be a new day.

    In closing, I’ll leave you with a few of Coach Lawson’s words, “Because if you have a meaningful pursuit in life, it will never be easy”. Find that pursuit in life, pursue it with gusto in good times and bad, and know that your life will have meaning beyond your wildest imagination. 

  • How to Build Trust Through Words and Actions

    One of the most fun stories in the NFL this year is Brock Purdy, the San Francisco 49ers third-string quarterback who was vaulted into the starting role and led the team to the NFC Championship game. Back in August, I bet very few people could tell you who wore the #13 jersey on the 49ers. Even casual football fans now know his name and accomplishments. How does “Mr. Irrelevant”, which is the nickname given to the last pick of the annual National Football League Draft, a 23-year-old rookie who hasn’t played a snap in the NFL, get to be the trusted leader for his team in a short period of time?

    First and foremost, Purdy established trust with his team by building relationships, showing up consistently at practice and in the games, as well as by making good decisions on the field. Research supports that these are three key areas that build the foundation of trust – 1. positive relationships, 2. good judgment/expertise, and 3. consistency.

    His teammates picked up on his leadership very early on as a starter.

    “Everybody’s looking around, like, ‘OK, OK.’ We like that about him. We respect that about him. We love that he’s able to, no matter what situation he’s in, he demands everybody’s attention when we’re out there, and we definitely respect that,” said 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

    “You would think he’s been in the league 15 years…You would think he’s like Peyton Manning or something. Wide receivers not running? You’ll hear him cussing a wide receiver out,” commented Trent Williams, the left tackle for the 49ers.

    Purdy built the trust of his teammates, his coaches, and the fan base even though he was a rookie who had never experienced a snap in the NFL until week 13. How can we apply some of our observations about what Purdy to our  working lives? Below are some lessons that I’ve learned about how to build trust among your team, your peers, and your boss, which are key determinants of success at work.

    Building Trust with Your Team

    One of the ways I get to know each member of my team and understand the team dynamics is for the group to do an Enneagram assessment. My teams and I have experienced aha moments as they get to know themselves and each other better. The assessment helps each team member see one another’s perspective and how they view the world, which oftentimes can be very different from their view. When we plot the entire team on the Enneagram wheel, it is eye-opening to see how each of us is unique. By visually seeing where each of us is on the wheel, we can see how wide and varied our strengths are, which might not have been obvious on the surface. I have always found that learning more about myself and others, especially their inner motivations, preferences, strengths, and blindspots engender a greater understanding of one another.

    One small, but very fun way to start a meeting is to ask each team member the same question to break the ice and expose similarities and differences. The question can be simple and fun or work related, and they help to provide deeper insights into your team. Some of the questions I’ve been using lately are — what has been your favorite vacation and why, if you could change one thing about your job what would it be and when you were a child what was your dream career? The question I like to ask leading up to Halloween is what is your favorite candy, my big learning was that more them one person said, Candy Corn. That response was shocking to me!

    For thousands of years, people have known that making and sharing meals are fantastic bonding experiences. So many traditions center around contributing and partaking in special dinners with the people who mean the most to us. On three occasions I’ve participated in team culinary classes. It is fun to see people step into new or different roles. Someone who might be quieter at the office might be a vocal leader in the kitchen. Or, on the flip side, the leader may have never picked up a knife and is fine observing the masters at work. One of my most fond memories was taking the team to a culinary class in San Jose. We were divided into multiple teams and had to complete delicious dishes that trained chefs judged us on. This was a evening of bounded us and build friendships that would not have been able to be formed through Zoom meetings.

    Trust is the basis of all communications across teams. Showing up consistently for your team makes them feel valued, appreciated, and supported. Building positive relationships means you have a genuine interest in knowing someone, their values, their goals, their passions, and what matters to them. From this point trust flourishes and grows for both business and personal relationships.

    Building Trust with Your Boss

    Many people feel that trust can only be built after years and years of experience between two people. This certainly is one way to gain trust, but one of my biggest learnings around trust boils down to it being a choice we make. We must extend trust first and assume good intent from other people. The fundamental element of trust is that it’s a two-way street. When you trust someone, oftentimes the reciprocal happens. And if you mess up, be vulnerable and honest, which can further build the relationship. If the other person breaks your trust, forgive them. Nowhere is this more important than with your boss, especially if you are new to an organization.

    The ability to be trusted and to give trust to others is critical to all relationships. Ideally, you and your boss have built a foundation where you can go direct to and share your perspective. As you continue forward with your boss/employee relationship demonstrating that you apply your good judgment to decisions, in good times and bad, shows your character. Especially when you are new to a company and you are trying to impact change in the organization.

    If you are looking to be a change agent have courage and speak up. Showcase the expertise that you have built over the years to help your organization achieve all they can. Ensure that you are framing the conversation positively and tying your desire to a bigger-picture vision with the organization best interests in mind. Don’t make the discussion about a person or problem, but instead about what can be possible working as a team in the future. Show you are a champion for the organization, you are a change agent aligned with your boss, and you trust the leaders of the company.

    Building Trust with Your Peers

    Aligning with peers is a great way to have an impact across each of your teams. Ask your colleague to share their goals and plans for the coming quarter or year with you. Where can you two align on mutually beneficial projects? These peers can be great sources of advice and guidance about how the company operates and give you insight into the keys to success. Positive peer relationships you build across the organization have the opportunity to be some of the most transformational since each of you can being your expertise and learn from one another, but also be honest when something is not hitting the mark.

    I’ve had many peers over the years, especially those leading Product Marketing, that are not shy about sharing guidance about messaging, competitive positioning, product press releases, and beyond. These conversations are the foundations for trust because both sides are aligned on the same end goal and want the best for the company. Trusting your peers to show up for you, and you being there for them, is critical. Seek their opinions and knowledge. This will contribute to advancing your knowledge.

    Just as we saw Brock Prudy establish trust based on his leadership qualities, relationships, and decision-making, we can take these lessons and apply them to our everyday lives. While the 49ers season did not end with a trip to the Super Bowl, we saw a team come together after much adversity to achieve great things. Hopefully, next season they will build on the strong foundation they built this year and be Super Bowl champs for the sixth time.

  • Taking Your First Steps to Change Careers

    The other day my 10-year-old asked me one of his famous “what if” questions that got me thinking. He asked, “Mom would you rather die at 25 achieving all your life goals or die at 100 and not achieve any of your goals?” Gulp, that is a big life question that I wasn’t prepared to answer. What I know is that I don’t want a life where settling for good enough, even if it might be comfortable and easy, is the path any of us takes. However, can all of us say that we’ve always pursued a career that interests us, and helps us grow professionally and personally, in addition, to contributing to a greater good? And if not, why not?

    I would imagine most people have had moments in their work journey when for one reason or another they didn’t wake up each morning excited about their work and questioned their path forward. At those moments when you have arrived at a crossroads, you need to decide what is next for you. If the decision is to pursue a new career, here are five pieces of advice for jumping in with both feet and determining what is next on the work front.

    Pursuing the Career You Want

    1. Apply Existing Skills and Plan to Learn New Skills

    If you are going to make a big change in terms of your industry or job role, remember that your past work and life experiences will contribute to your success moving forward. You can apply many of these skills. Being a great leader, developing an annual plan, or helping your team advance their careers are skills that work at all levels of organizations and can be applied to any industry. Don’t downplay the critical skills you have gained. Make sure your interview narrative is about applying your experience and how that translated into future success.

    2. Research New Jobs and do Informational Interviews

    Just like any new skill or endeavor, the first step is to dive in and learn more. There are a wealth of resources online about careers of all kinds. Online learning courses, such as The Great Courses and LinkedIn Learning are readily available on a wide range of subjects. There are also junior colleges and university extension programs for learners of all ages to explore new topics. Use your network and your friend and colleagues’ networks to find people in the profession you desire. My experience is that 90% of the time people are very willing to do an informational interview and give you their time. Most people enjoy talking about their careers and the paths they have taken. Do your homework about that person, so you make the best use of your time together.

    3. Network, Network, Network

    It feels rare today to apply online and actually get your resume to the right person in recruiting or the hiring manager. The more common path is knowing someone at that company, having a recruiter fast-track your resume to the right people, or knowing a friend of a friend at the organization. There’s always a possibility of someone finding your resume and that working out, but this is the exception, not the norm. Your network is oftentimes one of the most powerful things you can build in your career. It is critical to reach out, cultivate connections, and attend events. Networking is a two-way street, so ensure you are helping others looking to network with you. There is no better feeling for me than playing a role in a colleague landing a job through an introduction that I have made. Don’t be shy. Put yourself out there and be curious.

    4. Bring a Growth Mindset

    Recently I read an article where the OpenTable.com CEO said — there’s no such thing as a ‘wrong turn’ in your career: ‘You really don’t have to stress out’. I thought this was such smart insight. Even moves that didn’t work out can be learning experiences. Sometimes in tough situations, you learn twice as much as on an easy path. As with anything new or challenging in life, bring a growth mindset. Don’t expect perfection out of the gate. The goal is progress, not perfection.

    5. Careers Changes Can Mean Positive Life Changes

    The perfect role for you in your 20s might not be the ideal role in your 30s, 40s, 50s, or beyond. Our lives change, our perspectives change, and our responsibilities change at different stages. As we are deciding what color our parachute is coming out of college, you can gain a different life view if you are raising children or caregiving for parents. I like to think in one and five-year increments. For me thinking 10 years out seems like a lifetime. Yes, I want big life goals that span decades, but thinking about five-year stretches helps me not get too ahead of myself.

    I don’t believe there is only one path or one career that will make people happy. Some people know early on that their life work is to become one specific profession and they have a rewarding life pursuing that. However, not everyone will be fulfilled staying in that profession for decades. Instead, pursue something that interests you, provides professional and personal growth, and the ability to contribute to the greater good.

    While I’m still not sure of the answer to my son’s question, I do know a life of purpose is possible, and building the life you were meant to have is one of the great joys.

  • Knowing if a Career Change is Right for You

    I think 2022 will go down as the year that we spoke more about our careers than any other year in history. Some recent polls and research prove this point: 

    • More than ⅓ of Americans have changed jobs during the pandemic found a PBS/NPR poll
    • According to LinkedIn, there was an 88% year-over-year increase in hires in 2022.
    • Microsoft research determined that 41% of employees are considering leaving their current employer this year and 46% say they’re likely to move because they can now work remotely.

    If you have been considering changing jobs, careers, or industries, it will be important for you to do your homework to determine if making a move is right for you now. Deciding you want to make the change is the first step. Creating a life that you have dreamed of and planned for is exciting and holds great possibilities. Most importantly, a career can lead to much personal growth, happiness, and success if it’s aligned with your passion and gifts. Remember grit is the most important determinant of success rather than other factors such as age, education, experience, etc.

    If you are still debating the issue or procrastinating I find it’s helpful to look at some of the roadblocks that hold us back and use that to inform your decision. It can be easy to come up with reasons why not to do things or make changes. Not letting fear, negativity, or uncertainty about the future hold you back from your potential is critical. Growth does not happen by saying no. Rid yourself of fear and negativity, and avoid what holds many back.

    What Holds People Back from Career Changes 

    Negative Thinking  

    We often fill our heads with stories that are untrue or focus on the worst-case scenario. Those “what if” moments. What if I try something new and I fail? What if the new industry I move into is harder to learn than I anticipate? What if my new team does not like me? Instead, focus on the positives around growth, learning opportunities, and building a better future. If you need inspiration, I follow The Success Club on Instagram and there are great motivational quotes.

    A number of years ago, I was asked to become the speechwriter for my company’s CEO. I was hesitant about taking the role since writing speeches was not in my wheelhouse, but my apprehension was balanced by the excitement of the challenge and opportunity. My partner and I spoke about the role and he had the attitude I should go for it and step out of my comfort zone. After I came to that conclusion myself, I jumped in with two feet and learned along the way. In retrospect, it was one of the most fun jobs of my career. 

    Remind yourself of the positive perspectives – what if I succeed wildly and love this new role, what if this new career gives me much more fulfillment, what if I learn new skills I can apply for years? Focus on the positive and fill your head with possibilities instead of negative and fearful thoughts.

    You Don’t Know What You Want

    Much of life’s happiness can be in the self-discovery process. Once you get to know yourself and pursue the life you imagined with gusto, it can be very rewarding. The key is knowing what makes you fulfilled. Think outside of the conventional box to create that life. This is your story. It is not the story that might have been planted in your head by those around you. You need to get crystal clear about what you want, write it down, believe in it, and pursue it with all your passion. 

    During any career transition, I revisit my rolling purpose document that I’ve kept for the past decade. I really enjoy building off of this document, since I can look back at how far I’ve come and also reconfirm that my core beliefs are guiding me. There are three components of this document – 1. My goals for the coming year/s, 2. My observations and lessons learned this year, and 3. Evaluation if I’ve. made the strides I want to become the best version of myself? Writing down what I want has been critical for me in order to make this life real. 

    As I’ve shared in a past post, one of the best resources to get clear about who you are and what you want is a book named Designing Your Life where you answer questions such as:

    • Why do we work?
    • What does work mean?
    • What defines good or worthwhile work?
    • What’s the relationship between work and money?
    • How does work relate to the individual and society?
    • What do experience, growth, and fulfillment have to do with it?

    The Designing Your Life process is an excellent starting point if you are unsure how to get going.

    Don’t Expect Linear Progress

    When you find yourself saying you can’t do something, or I’ve always done it this way or my life is good enough, it is time for a reset. Trying something new is what builds character and moves you a step closer to your dreams. Remember that life is rarely a linear path where everything lines up just perfectly step after step. Sometimes we need to move backward or sideways in the journey to ultimately get back on track and move forward. Don’t let the reasons not to pursue things outnumber the reasons to go after the life you want. Stop overthinking and start pursuing one step at a time.

    Next week, I’m going to share part two of this blog which are my observations and tips for pursuing the career you want.

    In the meantime, make this your year where you align words, dreams, and actions to pursue your career goals. Think about how proud the person you are five or 10 years from now will be of the steps you took in 2023.

  • Trust the Process Around Your Life and Work

    Life is filled with a series of ups and downs. There are good times and bad. Curveballs come our way, sicknesses happen, individuals lose their jobs, and projects fail. However, if you have a plan for your life and are working on taking steps forward each day to achieve your goals, these setbacks are not major obstacles, they are just bumps in the road that you learn from.

    Many people have plans for their lives – go to school, find a career, launch a start-up, begin a family, travel to 50 countries, etc. When you have goals squarely in focus and a well thoughtout plan to reach those goals, you trust the process. Contrast this approach with either having no process or attempting to force an ill-suited process to achieve an unrealistic outcome. The key is remembering you rarely have full control over outcomes, however, you do have control over the decisions you make as you follow your process. Control process, not outcomes.

    Unexpected events happen. They can be huge, like a global pandemic; or relatively minor, like a budget not getting approved for a work project. A good process – one that can be trusted – recognizes there is always ambiguity and uncertainty about the future. People often resort to artificially controlling their lives of futility attempting to control the uncontrollable (The Fallacy of Control). 

    ‘Trust the process’ is frequently brought up in the context of professional sports. Sam Hinkie, GM and president of basketball operations for the Philadelphia 76ers turned it into a tagline and an oft-repeated meme. This quote from his introductory press conference gets to the heart of the matter: “We talk a lot about process—not outcome—and trying to consistently take all the best information you can and consistently make good decisions. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t, but you reevaluate them all.”

    Michael Lewis, in his 2004 book Moneyball, made the process used by Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane so famous it became a feature film. A novel idea at the time, the A’s used analytical methods to find undervalued player talent, market inefficiency, to construct a winning team on a small budget. The A’s had an extremely successful run for years while competing with teams with higher payrolls, however, they never won a championship. In Moneyball, Beane makes it extremely clear about the limitations of his process and the part played by luck:

    “My s*&% doesn’t work in the playoffs,” Beane famously told Lewis. “My job is to get us to the playoffs. What happens after that is…luck.”

    I know my weakness is wanting quick gratification around my process and goals. I’m generally thoughtful about developing my plan and looking at the data to determine if my process is sound. However, I get anxious if the process is not yielding results during my timeline. Life has shown me time and time again that my timeline is not the timeline that the process works. Here are some pitfalls that I watch for regarding ways processes can get off track.

    What Derails a Process?

    1. Not having a plan 
    2. Abandoning and/or not following the process 
    3. Short-term thinking and impulsiveness
    4. Using emotion versus data
    5. Trusting a broken process – assumptions must be challenged 

    I was listing to an Unusual Ventures podcast where the founder of one of their portfolio companies was talking about trusting the process. He spoke about starting his company and finding the right product market fit. Early on in his company journey, he started engaging with prospects. He created a process for how he pitched his company and spoke about his offering that was based on his expertise and the feedback he received from potential customers. The founder iterated along the way, improving the outcome over time, but the key was trusting the process to result in prospects willing to engage further. The learning he shared was that, “You cannot dictate that outcome that you are going to get product fit, you are not guaranteed to get it. But what you can do is control the process and be as efficient as possible about what doesn’t work.”

    On the flip side of derailing processes, there are best practices that will keep you on track and moving along the path to achieving your goals and building the life you have planned for.

    What Building a Process Looks Like

    1. Create a methodology using best practices
    2. Clearly articulated short and long-term goals 
    3. Determine what data and objective criteria you will use to make decisions
    4. Plan for the variables that you can’t control
    5. Focus on the process, not short-term results 
    6. Stick to YOUR plan and don’t be swayed both others 
    7. Show up every day and give your best, expect good results

    The key is to focus on what you can control in terms of having a plan, using objective data to make decisions, iterating as more is learned, having retrospectives for continuous improvement, showing up every day and staying optimistic even in the face of obstacles. Life is an unfolding journey, rarely is the path to the destination linear. There are twists and turns you could never have predicted. By trusting the process, many will have a decrease in anxiety and see elements of their life come together. Persistence, grace, hope, and faith are all part of trusting the process. Remain true to who you are, trust your plan, and it’s amazing how life has a way of working out.

  • Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

    I have been told that my success at work is because I was lucky. I know many people who felt they were not smart enough to be where they are in their career and their success was by accident. At one point or another many of us have considered asking a question in a work meeting, but a voice inside our head tells us that could be a stupid question. This is likely imposter syndrome at play. 

    The definition that resonates with me is the idea that your success in life is only due to pure luck, accidental circumstances, or someone else’s mistake, and not due to your competence, talent, hard work, or qualifications. Feelings of inadequacy, not being good enough, smart enough, or tough enough can be signs that lead to your self-doubt and you question your abilities. In the workforce, many of us have experienced imposter syndrome where we feel like a fraud, devalued our work, undermined our accomplishments, and beyond. 

    When I was in my mid-20s, I had leading communication for a very experienced Fortune 500 tech CEO. When I stepped into this job, I was nervous and scared. This role required new skills, was high-pressure and brought a new level of visibility that I had not experienced before. At first, I was intimated and did not ask many questions or provide much commentary because I felt like I was not worthy to be there. I certainly was not the smartest in the room since I was surrounded by some of Silicon Valley’s brightest minds.  

    However, I know that I had deep experience with PR and that is why I was picked for the job. If I didn’t speak up and give my point of view, that was a lost opportunity for the company, my  CEO, and me. So gradually, I spoke up and shared my thoughts. It was not an overnight change, but I felt a renewed confidence in myself and saw my exec looking to me for guidance. While I didn’t always get everything right and my CEO certainly said no at times, it was not about having all the right answers all the time. I knew I had to be heard to make an impact, even if the voice inside my head held me back at times. Fight that voice and speak up.

    These, and many factors, contribute to imposter syndrome. While anyone can feel imposter syndrome, a recent KPMG study concluded it’s especially prevalent for females. The question I have been thinking about is: is it possible to overcome imposter syndrome and maybe even go as far as viewing it in a positive way to achieve personal growth for you and your team? Here is a TED Talk that poses the question: what if imposter syndrome is a good thing?

    How to Conquer Imposter Syndrome 

    Once you’ve identified situations where you are experiencing imposter syndrome, here are a few tools to deal with it.

    1. Know the Warning Signs

    Have an honest dialog with yourself about this situation. Do you find yourself in a downward spiral of taking on more work, always saying yes to projects, which have created unsustainable work habits for you? The opposite can also be true of disengagement, not completing assignments, making excuses, and retreating into yourself. Is self-doubt at the root of these behaviors? Are you feeling more isolated and not engaging socially or able to talk with others at work and ask for support?

    1. Facts versus Stories

    In a previous blog, there was a section about the stories we tell ourselves. These stories can work for or against us. When the stories are filled with negative talk and self doubt they can be very detrimental. Take one step back and look at the work and life situation you are in. Are you examining the facts? Are you being too hard on yourself? Are you expecting perfection, when others are just looking for progress? Check-in with a trusted colleague, or your boss and have a straightforward conversation about the situation to make sure you have an accurate view of what is happening who will give you an objective opinion.

    1. Your Mindset

    I’m always amazed at how different people view the same situation. A few years back I was on a jury and during the two-week trial, we had wildly differing opinions about how the jury, defendant, and witnesses viewed the situation. My recommendation is that you bring a positive mindset when you are looking at the evidence in your imposter syndrome case. While this is your life and something it is hard to be objective and not be too hard on yourself, give yourself a break. Don’t let voices in your head tell you something different from reality. No one is successful 100% of the time. Focus on the big picture and not any one-off mistakes. Remember to look at your full body of work as a reminder of the good things you have accomplished and the positive development during your career. Write down two or three things that you have completed this week or this month that you are proud of. 

    1. Silence Your Inner Critic

    Have you ever been in a meeting at work and the discussion went beyond your comprehension of the subject? There are many ways to react – sitting there silently and telling yourself you are stupid, or did you raise your hand and ask questions, or did you leave that meeting and say I’m going to learn more about that topic? Even if your first reaction is that I’m not smart enough, I should have studied harder, I should have already been proficient in that topic, and you can step away from that meeting and commit to learning more. Don’t belittle yourself, but instead dive in and learn more, especially if it is a topic you are passionate about and can help you in work and life. 

    1. Be Vulnerable and Ask for Help

    People suffering from imposter syndrome have a hard time asking for help or even expressing to trusted colleagues and friends that they have areas they need to grow. We all do. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but instead a sign you want to get better. Go to a trusted colleague and sit down with them. You have achieved much in work, but we all have growth areas. Find a mentor. Determine if a coach is right for you. I have found more often than not when you ask for help, nine out of 10 times people will be there for you.

    1. At the End of the Day, Let it Go

    To root out imposter syndrome, face it head-on. If you did something wrong, acknowledge it and let it go. I would imagine that whatever mistake you made, you will learn from it and not make it in the future. Don’t let a step back rattle you. Your last speech bombed, learn from it, and move on. You didn’t get the promotion, focus on the positive steps forward you have made. Dwelling on the negative can send you into a tailspin that is hard to recover from. When you face imposter syndrome down, you can look back and say I did it and be ready to do it again. Be proud of your work, your life, and your accomplishments. You have come far on this journey, but you still have a long way to go. At various stages in your career, imposter syndrome can rear its ugly head. Starting a new job is a prime example. You’re not expected to know everything. One of the ways I frame a new role is by looking at the CEO. She is very unlikely to have help with all roles that report to her, the CFO, CMO, CRO, CHRO, CIO, etc. The CEO is going to hire the best-of-the-best people and work to have expertise in these areas, but likely not the deep experience that her direct reports have. Approach with a growth mindset and be honest and open and you will be able to beat the imposter syndrome in each situation.

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