Say you are writing an introductory mail to someone about yourself, and you start with “I am a <your current job/role> and I <what you do there>”
How long did it take you to fill that up?
Far too many of us are less than certain about exactly what our contribution to the world and our professional life is is. Or at least a little hesitant in asserting the impact of it. Despite the outward brave and confident face, we often tend to devalue and feel less than great about what we’re doing through assumptions about how critical/cool/challenging it is. “It’s ok – someone’s got to do it and it does somehow help!”, is not an uncommon reiteration inside folks’ own heads.
If so, you’re likely merely justifying your lack of connectedness or passion, or ambition around the current work, or maybe just plain effort, through such thoughts and explanations to yourself.
Stop just going to work and getting through the work-day somehow. Stand up, be counted.
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing.The answers to either of those blanks in the introduction above do not have to be something that elicit a “Wow” from an audience. The smart ones treat wherever they are and whatever they’re doing as an opportunity and as a platform to get to the next level from.
The important thing is to be alive, be awake and alert to the possibilities around you. A couple of folks in a group I was working with a long time ago did not get bogged down by the mundane, dead-end-ness of the mechanical repetitiveness of the builds-QA-release work we were involved in. They started automating bits and pieces – one at a time – and soon enough had a case for driving a major framework that automated the entire process. What used to take almost a couple of weeks on occasion was now down to 48 hours, and the team needed fewer resources overall!
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily battles of contrived deadlines and deliverables, but that’s not what helps you or the product grow, solve problems hitherto unseen, or even feel good about yourself. Those are merely the cracks in your work that let you hide. Appearing and feeling busy and the outward appearance of being involved in the this-is-critical-stuff 24×7 will go only so far. There are no excuses for avoiding to think bigger than the current role demands, and no rewards either. It’s easy to feel secure and get comfortable playing roles in a limited way such that you’re not really noticed, don’t stand out or risk ruffling any feathers.
But hey, is that how you want to live life?
Take a stand – believe in something. It doesn’t matter if it’s tactical or strategic, small or big, or even directly related to work. Evaluate your work, don’t just get evaluated for it. If the answer is that you need to be doing something else – so be it. Stop being fearful. To borrow from a cliche – don’t imagine you need to be a rocket scientist to really drive anything new or different. Don’t wait for knowledge. Start backing yourself and pushing for what you think can be and should be done – right away. Don’t push the attempt at glory to next week. Be heard, be visible. Be in uncomfortable situations. Risk your neck a little. There’s no real “security” or safety anyway.
Please – stop hiding in the cracks.
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