Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pushing yourself, personally

I posted about trying to push myself with my running/fitness yesterday, but another kind of "pushing myself" has also been on my mind lately. We all have strengths and weaknesses, in our personal and professional lives. My current role is pushing me significantly, in both good and bad ways. On the work life balance side, that's not a good "push", but in some areas, I've definitely developed professionally more in this role than in the last five years combined.

As a result of all of this, sometimes uncomfortable, growing, I've also started to become more self aware. My job is extremely stressful, and I often get caught up in that stress. I get frustrated with my peers, I develop a negative attitude, and I get overwhelmed. None of those things are helping me manage my own stress, and they also create a negative attitude for my employees and peers. I work with people who are very different from me, and that can be challenging. But, it's also an opportunity to learn and develop different skills to handle those divergent personality types.

One of my big goals? To work hard to maintain a positive (but realistic) attitude at work, to minimize/quit the complaining/bitching/moaning to my peers (we all do it, but I think if I cut it out, it will be reduced by the larger group) & focus instead on the opportunities of growing myself and calmly handling challenges. It's going to be tough. I'll screw it up (often, I'm sure), but I'd like to hold myself accountable & improve over time. This ability to manage stress and stay calm and positive will benefit me tremendously at work, but will obviously be a huge benefit to my personal life as well.

It's cliched, but these uncomfortable moments, when you recognize your own growth areas can be really exciting. I'm terrified that I'm too old to change, but I know that my health (not to mention my family, friends, & coworkers) will thank me if I can improve this skill.

What about you? Is there any skill that you're actively working on improving or developing for yourself? Tips or tricks that you can share? :-) 


  1. Hello! I never comment but do read your blog weekly. This post really spoke to me. There is a lot of negativity in my department and I am trying very hard to distance myself from it AND to not contribute to it. For me, it is partly because I'm a little over my job and company but not sure where to go next. Mainly though it is because I realize that the moaning and griping affects me and I don't really want to be THAT person.

    While I doubt that I will become positive (there are a lot of issues at my office and many things won't change unless there is a change from top down), I think that I can become less negative. And taking a more solutions-oriented or even an accept-and-get-on-with-it attitude is a HUGE life and career-skill. It isn't one that is talked about but it is one that is noticed and can serve one well as they move up the ladder.

    (And btw it is nice to high earners like you and your husband who are still frugal BUT enjoy life. I love frugal frugal blogs because I learn a lot and that's where most of my values are but since for me it is frugality by choice vs. by need, your blog updates are great.)
    ~ Pru

  2. Thank you for commenting! So agree with you - the ability to become solutions oriented & less negative is an enormous life/career skill. I'm always coaching my employees & kids on it, but seem to have forgotten that lesson over the last year. ;-) The job has been hard, people have lft, but it doesn't matter. We've hired a lot of great new people, and a positive attitude is good for both myself, & benefits my work. Double win!

    Thank you! Like you said, we try to save our money for the things that matter to us, and not spend frivolously. We aren't always successful, but I feel more in control when we track. :-)

  3. Recognizing a fault is the first step to improvement... that's the truth. My current job isn't particularly demanding (to be honest, I've been bored to tears with it for the past few months), so I can't but feel a bit jealous of your work situation. I think a good step is to work on reducing stress itself. The rest will take care of itself. Are you stressed because it's too much work? Can you delegate? Or are you stressed because the work is too much/too hard/requires too much time? Can you ask for assistance? As always, I'm inspired by your progress and determination.

    1. Good questions. :-) I'd say a lot of both. I have to make super quick, challenging, & impactful decisions that are often really controversial internally & externally, with material financial impact. I'm also managing a global team, so there are schedule considerations (trying to meet with someone in London & Tokyo) that make work life balance a challenge. Then, there's just way too much work to do. Especially around major holidays, weekends, etc. All of the times you'd normally want to relax.

      When I started (about 15 months ago), my role was intended to just be me. I asked for, and received, seven full time headcounts, which I've filled. I actually have four more roles to fill in the next quarter. I can get more headcount, but hiring and training those employees is insanely time consuming.

      Our team has had 80% turnover/growth from new employees since I joined. As a result, I've spent a huge chunk of time hiring for my team, my peer teams, and just getting everyone up to speed.

      Thanks - it doesn't feel like I accomplish that much, but as you said, recognizing that there are challenges really brings the awareness. From there, I can consider steps & improvements. :-)