Painted Picture: The Future is Bright
August in our community is all about the Painted Picture. Creating a vision for your life and your business is not simply whimsy. By envisioning your future and working on your painted picture document, you can shine some serious light on the path forward.
We often think about work life as separate from home life, however, I suggest we think about our lives more holistically and take an integrated approach. I’m often asked how I achieve work/life balance and my answer is ‘I don’t!’. Instead what I do is create a life I love. I’ve been painting my own picture for years and have found it really beneficial in crystallising my vision.
Carving out the time to dream, plan and take action in the direction of your goals will put you ahead of the rest, and if you need some inspiration check out Cameron Herold.
Cameron Herold — Business Coach, Business Mentor and CEO Coach — is all about the Painted Picture or what he likes to call a “Vivid Vision”… you can check out his 2019 Vivid Vision here.
This book is a great start and offers a “step-by-step guide to enjoying the rollercoaster ride of growth – while getting the most out of life as an entrepreneur”.
The responsibility of a graduation address…
Last week I had the delight of giving the address at the University of Melbourne graduation. Even though I am a keynote speaker and am regularly in front of crowds, I really did feel a sense of responsibility to offer the graduating class some potent morsels of life experience that I’ve picked up along my way…
The last time I was in Wilson Hall I recall feeling slightly pleased with myself that ‘I had made it’, in my cap and gown, all dressed up waiting for my moment on this stage to have my hard work formalised.
I had thought that my ‘lessons were done’, I was ‘cooked’, I was armed with my bachelor’s degree and the world was ready and waiting for my ‘brilliance’; life in fact has not been quite like that.
There have been many hundreds of sliding door moments – that in a second I needed to choose which direction I would go.
As I spoke and scanned the graduate class I thought to myself that each of them will be in a different place, a different space; some will have jobs, some still looking, and some doing something contrary to what they thought they’d be doing right now. It made clear to me that any place that you are today is absolutely okay. It is a long ride – so it is important to enjoy each phase.
What I have learned is that it is not what happens to you, but what you create for yourself that will make the difference; how you respond to ‘what happened’ is key. It is the lessons that you garner from life’s challenges that give you resilience, determination and persistence.
Your north star might change, your definition of success will definitely move with time. Life’s imperfections, the human foibles are what make for an interesting ride.
Life is not in the black or white – (and it is definitely not linear) – the exciting part of life is in the huge spectrum of grey.
There are lessons to be learned from each sliding door moment; from things you love doing, and things that you detest. You learn from those who lead well, equally you can learn from those who see the world differently… we learn from the good and the bad.
I can think back to my first experiences of how I was managed in my corporate roles.
As a young graduate with only a few years experience I found myself not only as the marketing manager for the business club for an airline, but part of the team working on the first frequent flyer program in the country. This was last century long before the time of the internet, smart phones and social media. It was leading edge, I felt lucky to be a part of it. I was working a 100 hours a week, every week, month in month out. I was beginning to tire, and no one appeared to notice my contribution. I continued to work hard ‘hoping’ that at some point someone would notice that I was making a mark and offer to review my position and maybe consider me for a promotion.
Can I tell you… ‘Hope’ is not a strategy.
I finally summoned the courage to go to my boss’ office, upstairs, to ask if this situation could be reviewed. I presented my case (with much trepidation) ‘please sir may I have more?’, only to have him bellow from across his large desk “how dare you come in here to my office and ask for a pay rise – how do I know what you do?” I was shattered and exhausted. My boss quietly suggested that I leave, he could see that I was close to tears. He stayed to negotiate what ended up being a $5 per week pay rise rather than a promotion.
I was hurt, bewildered and ashamed to have been spoken to as if I was still a child. I felt so unjustly treated. As I pulled myself back together – I reflected on his words ‘how do I know what you do’… I thought to myself ‘when I am “running the show”’ I will know what my team members do, I will make sure there is transparency of contribution’. This experience forever changed me… not just as an employee, but also as a future employer.
When I started my own business, I found my journey to leadership challenging, making many mistakes, saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing – but I always had the intention of being a great employer. Managing people was not as easy as I thought it would be.
In front of my boss all those years ago I felt so small and insignificant, but the ‘lesson’ that he delivered that day meant that I went on to create a business that has been recognised as a ‘best employer’ five times and developed a framework for other businesses to nurture individuals and teams.
A lesson learned
True leaders learn that the real game of life exists in the lessons you collect along the way. So, when you’re faced with a sliding doors moment, when there’s a fork in the road, it is great to remember:
There are those in life who watch what happens, those who ask ‘what happened?’ and there are those who make things happen
That is where the painted picture really comes in handy; be the person who makes things happen.