Thought: It's Thanksgiving week in the U.S. and a time to reflect and embody gratitude.…
Happy Friday! I referenced the Intention Flywheel last week. This is a framework that’s helped me immensely in my life and work. It’s also helped me coach, mentor, manage and parent.
After interviewing over 100 leaders and top performers, I believe there are five crucial steps to get better or transform at anything.
They are Awareness, Agency, Ambition, Action & Assessment. These all build on each other and when you have this flywheel nailed down, I like to think of it as finding your A Game! I know, I know…maybe a little cheesy but it’s easy to remember isn’t it?! 😉 We all want to be performing at a higher level more consistently, don’t we?
This week we’ll dive into the first step – Awareness.
Eight years ago when I got word that I was losing a key account and that another account was potentially moving their business to a competitor, my initial reaction was to get defensive. I was quick to blame the customer or the situation. I initially thought it was just bad luck and bad timing.
In fact, I think it took me a couple months and getting called out by new boss to finally start to dig in and figure out what happened. Here was my conclusion – maybe I didn’t have it all figured out and maybe I wasn’t as good as I thought I was. Maybe my old boss who told me I lacked “substance” was right. Ouch, that hurts just to write!
Thankfully, I was given an opportunity to turn things around. I received a call one Saturday morning from the head of our division (my boss’s boss). He called to tell me he believed in me. I’ll never forget his words. He said, “Jon, you need to re-invent yourself.” Then, he paused and said, “…actually, you need to invent yourself.”
That was the encouragement and challenge I needed. As hard as those few months were, I had a big opportunity to transform. I felt like I had a blank canvas to work with.
It started with awareness. When I say awareness, I’m talking about learning about yourself. Learning what your blindspots are. Learning what weaknesses you have. . And, also learning about your strengths (because you have them!) and how to continue to develop your strengths.
Have you ever been told you needed to improve at something and you didn’t know where to get started?
I’m here to tell you that whatever you might be struggling with, you can use it for good. You can transform. You can get better. It will take work but it’s possible. And possibility can mean everything to get you headed in the right direction.
I started to read about mindset and effectiveness and transformation. I sought out advice from some trusted people.
Self-awareness is a constant. It’s a journey. I’m not sure you ever fully arrive with this. The more you learn about yourself the more there is to discover. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s an investigation.
There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, the moment you get this is a transformative movement.
So, you might be saying, that’s all well and good, Jon, but where do I start.
I encourage you to keep it simple. I encourage you to seek the input of others. Find trusted advisors. Friends that you can ask for feedback from. Colleagues. Customers. Teammates. Coaches. Teachers. Students. Your sign I can’t other. If you seek you shall find.
If you want to dig deeper, there are plenty of assessments that I’ve found to be very useful. Most have their thing they do and most have value. I recommend the Ennaegram, Myers Briggs, Strengthsfinder 2.0, DISC and Hogan. There are many more, of course.
As I was studying transformational development for myself I ended up syncing up with an executive coaching firm through a friend. I was able to learn the fundamentals of coaching others and I even cut my teeth coaching business leaders. I learned a lot during this process both about myself and also about the art and science of transformation.
After turning my career around and having some solid years, I was asked to mentor some of our younger reps. This eventually led to me getting promoted to a leadership role. One that I’ve been in for the last four years. It’s been an honor to serve my team and our customers. That being said, it doesn’t mean it’s always easy and perfect. When you’re living and working intentionally, even small progress can make a big difference. My aim in sharing this is that it helps you think about being more intentional.
I lean on this framework as I engage with my team and we talk often about self-awareness. Part of the awareness for me is being very open about the challenges I’ve faced, the failures I’ve had and also lessons learned and how I’ve turned it around.
How about you? What can you do today to cultivate more awareness? Do you know what you’re great at? Do you know where you need to improve? Who can you ask for input?
Remember, self-awareness is a journey not a destination. The more you can learn about yourself the more you’ll be able to intentionally transform.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to reply back with any thoughts on awareness. I’d love to hear from you.
All the Best & enjoy your weekend!
P.S. Speaking of which, I can’t wait to share my podcast interview soon with Danny Bader. His story and teaching is incredible and awareness is a big part of what we discuss. Stay tuned for that.