Turn #1 – Reflection

Reflection; the ability to hit pause.

When I want to be deliberate about reflection I need to get away and be surrounded by nature. My in-laws have a cottage in Muskoka and there is a golf course about 20min away, the first tee time is at 7am so I’ll show up at 6:30 and hit the course by myself. It’s a wonderful way to get the day started.

Many times the sun is just rising and the mist is burning off the course. I regularly run into a few deer as I walk the course, its quiet, beautiful and peaceful. It’s the place I do some of my best reflection. It doesn’t hurt that I can be back at the cottage by 9am and making waffles before everyone’s out of bed!

This brings us to the first step of your “5 Turn Detour”, reflection.

I’m going to try to make these posts as practical as possible. I’m going to share books, exercises and ideas that will help you move through each steps of the process.

So what do you need to reflect on…Questions. What questions are the most important to answer?

1. What are you amazing at doing?

2. What is your purpose?

3. What are your core competencies?

4. What does your ideal role look like?

5. Who is your ideal boss?

6. What is your ideal company profile?

Simple right, actually no. While on the surface these question seem straight forward you’ll want to dig deep to really find your ideal situation. Take your time and enjoy this process. Ok, let’s begin to unpack these questions.

What are you amazing at doing?

AKA, what are you the best at? Notice this isn’t a “what are you good at” or “what do you do well” question. What are you AMAZING at? What do you do better than anyone else?

A book that can help you with this is Strengths Finder 2.0. It’s a great read and will help you answer this question. Other things you can do is talk to your former boss, employees, friends – anyone who you trust and isn’t going to tell you want to hear, rather what you need to hear.

The second piece of this question is How do you do it? People tend to get hung up on the how, they scratch the surface and don’t really have a clear answer to “How”.

For me, I’m amazing at building relationships (I know, I’ve asked around!) and in today’s work environment it’s critical to being a great leader. I take a great deal of pride in the relationships I nurture and I learnt this from my father. I was lucky to work with him in my first job so I got to see first hand how a true leader behaves. He treats people well, he doesn’t care about title or role, everyone is an equal – to him. He knew his people in a deep personal way. He knew their kids names, where they lived, their hobbies. My father led by example. I have yet to meet someone with his work ethic, his “do as I do” approach.

This all forms my answer to “So tell me how you build amazing relationships?”.

What is your purpose?

This is a big question, I could write an entire piece on this one question alone. In my opinion your purpose in life and your career must be directly connected. Look at people who love their job, they are probably fulfilling their purpose. People who are less thrilled about rolling out of bed to get to the office may be disconnected with their purpose. Think of this equation: Passion + Daily Activity = Happiness.

The On-Purpose Person is a wonderful book that can help you determine your purpose and help you stay focused on living it. Hopefully you also have a group of advisors and mentors that can help you answer this question. In my experience finding your purpose is a combination of thinking and doing. Figure out what you love to do, who you like to help and how you help them; now think of careers that will allow you to do this every day!

What are your core competencies?

Google “leadership competencies” and hit images, you’ll have a plethora of examples of competencies. The trick is knowing which ones are your core competencies.

There are assessment tools out their that can help you with this step. I worked with a recruiter to establish my competencies by sharing PAR stories (Problem, Action, Result). From these stories she was able to drill down and identify my competencies.

TIP: you’ll want to make sure your resume and LinkedIn page highlight your competencies and that you have great stories to tell that showcase the “how” again.

What does your ideal role look like?

Ok, let’s get something out of the way right now. Role does not equal title, a strategic sales leader in a global F100 company could be a Sales Director v. a mid-sized company you could be a VP of Sales. If title is important then you are a bad person…I’m kidding! It’s ok to be considered about title, this is all part of the process you’re going through!

When thinking about the role you want focus on the day-day activities you love to do. Know if you like being in front of customer or working with spreadsheets, do you work best alone or in a team, are you a process person or a trail blazer? Focus less on the title of the job and more on the roles and responsibilities. You could even write your own job descriptor and then you can check the boxes as you evaluate roles you’ll apply for. Also, it’s just as important to know what you don’t want to do on a daily basis. Add this to your ideal job description.

Who is your ideal boss?

You’ve probably seen the quotes on LinkedIn – “People don’t quit bad jobs, they quit bad bosses!”. So what does a good v. bad boss look like to you. Think back to a tie when you were having a blast at work and you loved the person you were working with. Were they hands on or did they give you lots of freedom? Were they a mentor? Maybe they were located in another country… Know who you want to work for and who you can’t work for. This person will have the single biggest impact on your happiness and engagement at work!

What does your ideal company look like?

Next you’ll need to think about what type of company you want to work for. What verticals are you passionate about, think hobbies and interests, not just what verticals have you worked in before. Really think outside the box here and have some fun. Get a list of 4-5 verticals, some will be in your comfort zone and others will be a stretch for you.

Next is culture, think about a job(s) where you were having the most fun. What was it about the team, boss, company that made it so much fun? Make a list of the attributes and then look for this in your next employer. This is important on two fronts. First, you need to know and care about where you want to work. Second, your employer wants to make sure you are a fit and aren’t going to blow us the place. Be able to articulate what great looks/sounds/feels like and you’ll be well on your way!

Top Tip: Take your time and don’t rush through your reflection. Time invested on this process will pay off in the long run, especially when we move to the next phase – Preparation.

This is a good start for now. If you can clearly articulate who you are, the value you bring, the ideal role and the environment you deliver your best results in you are off to the races!

Be well and stay tuned for Turn #2, Preparation.


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