Let’s continue with this idea of using the vision you hold for yourself as a pathway to remaining composed under pressure. To do that, we need first to learn more about what your vision looks like.
So… what about you? What is your vision for yourself as a professional?
“Your job … is to know exactly, concisely, and in context what you stand for. You are the lone author of your story, your mission, and your reason for being. How you tell it is your job.”
— Amy Cosper
As a point of entry, let’s explore the intersection of the following two questions:
- Who are you?
- What does the world need (where “world” is your current context, e.g., your employer)?
Read through the material below to get a sense of where we are going. Don’t worry about fully or formally working through the questions posed as you read through the lesson; you will have an opportunity to really dig in to these questions when you get to your lab. Just read through and notice the thoughts, insights, or reactions in order to start the process.
First, who are you?
Job number one, dear Challenger, is to know yourself. In the professional context, who you are at your core is a combination of your values and priorities, what you consistently deliver, and how you deliver it.
What is the essence of your professional self? Initially, begin to ascertain your core from the following ingredients:
- What are your values?
- What are your strengths?
- Which of those strengths do you enjoy using?
- Which of those strengths would you be okay never using again?
- What makes you happy?
- What lights your fire and drives you forward; what inspires and motivates you?
- What makes you unique?
- Don’t get stuck at your job title or role when you think about who you are at your core! Instead, ask yourself: What do I do that adds remarkable, distinctive value?
Is a sense of yourself starting to come into view? Let it be vague or fuzzy at this point; that’s fine. When you are ready, move into the next set of questions to deepen your inquiry.
What comes into the room with you when you arrive? Add flavor to your understanding of yourself by considering the following questions:
- What do you consistently contribute to the things you are involved in?
- What are you known for?
- Do you have a signature style?
Do you have a sense of how you affect the people around you? Use the following questions to prompt this part of your reflection.
- How does your energy impact others?
- Are you trustworthy? Do you do what you say you will do?
- Do you avoid or hide in any way?
- Is your communication style effective?
- Are you open to other points of view?
- What do you know about your collaboration style?
- How do people feel when they interact with you? What experience for you create for people when they meet you?
- What words would you like people to use when describing you?
When you work through these questions, you will get a sense of who you are in your professional life. (Again, you’ll have a chance to really dive in when you get to your Learning Lab.)
From here, we move to the second prong in the process of defining your vision.
Second, what does the world need?
The next step in developing your vision is to combine who you are with what is needed in the context you operate in. This will help you determine how you choose to express your vision. To do this, we need to assess the needs of your role, your team, and your employer (this can also include your industry).
What matters to your organization and company? Places to look to answer this question include:
- The organizational (or team) mission or vision statement
- What gets said at all-hands meetings
- Briefing decks
- Most importantly: The behaviors that get rewarded; the behaviors that don’t get rewarded; the behaviors that result in disciplinary action; the hero stories that are told again and again and the messages that are reinforced in the telling of them
How does what you offer relate to what matters to your organization and company? Now look for the intersection between prong one (who you are at your core) and prong two (what your workplace needs).
This is potentially a sweet spot for you and has the makings of the vision you will hold for yourself. If you aren’t feeling that excited about what you are seeing, worry not. We have a few more nuances to work through that will add additional contour to the vision you hold for yourself.