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Ordinary People Taking Action
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Guest Post By: Vaishali Jadhav
Facilitator, The Center for Professional Education at The University of Texas at Austin
President, Conscious Capitalism, Austin, Texas
This week is my birthday! If you know me, you know I LOVE my birthday. I have lived a very blessed life with the most amazing people around me and to spend this time feting them is an honor.
Because my birthday is in March, spring cleaning takes on a new meaning as it’s a time for physical cleaning and deep reflection. When cleaning a year ago at this time, I came across a file folder that would change the course of the next year. This file folder was filled with thank you notes from people who had written to me when I was teaching leadership classes at Whole Foods Market. I had recently taken a different job within the organization that didn’t require me to teach, so this folder was buried under a pile papers.
I sat down and read a few of them when a feeling of complete dread came over me. While I was working at a company that I loved, I wasn’t doing a job that I loved. That evening, I shared this experience with a good friend. She wisely asked, “If you had a job where a person would write you a thank you note, wouldn’t you do that job every day?”.
I should know the answer to that question. I started my career as a StrengthsFinder/Q12 Consultant with the Gallup Organization. It was a thrill to help leaders create engaged workplaces where people could activate their strengths. I had a solid understanding of my strengths and had aligned my career path to it. Sometimes the teacher isn’t always the master and I had realized that I had veered from realizing my purpose.
Since then, I have left that job and have pursued activating my purpose of creating mission driven, “conscious” leaders and organizations that allow individuals to flourish. The road has been bumpy, but in that thrilling, “I never want this roller coaster ride to end” kind of way.
In my next post, I will talk about the macro effects of business not creating strong organizations for their employees, but until then, here are some questions that can provide some cues into your natural strengths. Think about the last 6 weeks and identify the following:
A time you were completely absorbed or focused on a task. Were you analyzing data? Creating a story? Getting to the bottom of a customer’s complicated problem?
A time when you finished a project or task and ask yourself “I can’t wait to do that again!”.
Did you turn that grumpy business partner into a delighted one? Were you able to use data to create a compelling and accurate story?
A time when you picked up an idea or skill faster or better than others.
Are you a systems ninja that can see the connections between people, processes and outcomes? Do you have a gift with words and find yourself putting ideas into words? Are you that planning wizard that has turned the team’s ideas into concrete tasks and deadlines?
Ask others! Ask a trusted friend, mentor or advisor about when they have seen you at your best.
Now that you have done some introspection, look around you. There is someone in your sphere who is living his/her purpose every day. And in some large or small way, you have benefited from that activation; if that’s the case, tell them (thank you notes are on sale everywhere in March!).
You never know. That thank you note may just turn into a ticket for that person’s most gratifying roller coaster ride, ever.