A Mentor is His or Her Own Hero
There is no understating the impact that our managers and mentors can have on our future. A hero, who’s been through the battles facing us, and can help guide our way.
Yet, this is our story. Not theirs. When it comes to our lives and careers, the only hero that can save us is in the mirror.
“And they say that a hero can save us. I’m not gonna stand here and wait.”
We Must Be Our Own Hero
While having a caring and insightful manager, or a trusted mentor, makes our journey easier, waiting for one only sets us back. Lacking a mentor? Working for a less-than perfect boss? Then save yourself.
I know the type of work that I do, and want to do, is valuable to any company. However, it’s not something that has a standard job description. I have been building my own map for years.
As a result, I have frequently written my own objectives, reviews and development plans. Though I have received feedback throughout the years, not all of it has been actionable, clear, or productive relative to where I want to go.
Waiting Will Not Get Us Far
If I had waited for someone else to guide me, I wouldn’t have gotten very far.
Instead, I found my own path. When I hit a wall, I considered who I might know that could provide another source of input. They might not have been mentors or managers at the time, but several have become trusted advisors.
While leaders are responsible for the growth and development of their teams, as individuals, we are each ultimately accountable for our own lives and success.
Should our manager help develop us? Of course. Will that always happen, when and how we need to meet our career and life goals. No.
R-rated leadership? I’m not suggesting that r-rated behaviors or language are appropriate for the office (though I don’t know that the occasional F-bomb ever hurt anyone).
There shouldn’t be samurai swords or splattering blood. No flying body parts or burning folks with cigarette lighters.
Nope. Deadpool’s antics are not appropriate for young viewers or office parties.
Deadpool is considered one of the more foul-mouthed and mercenary of Marvel’s superheroes. While super, he’s definitely more anti than hero.
Yet he has a cult following, who were prepared to lift the recent movie to great heights, or watch it crash and burn. Given opening weekend returns, it’s clear the movie – with all it’s r-rated violence and profanity – gave fans what they wanted.
Deadpool’s Unexpected Learnings
Superheroes inspire. They represent the kind of people we want to be, even if we don’t wear a cape or have special powers.
Leaders are the superheroes among us. The best leaders, the ones we admire and want to emulate have similar characteristics:
- Helping people by putting the needs of their teams first
- Accomplishing the impossible, though more often through rallying and aligning others than via superpowers
- Possession of a strong moral fiber and work ethic; they do the right thing
Deadpool doesn’t fit the traditional role of leader. It would be easy to dismiss him as a bad role-model and an anti-hero, made for laughs instead of learning.
For a long time, the world wasn’t ready for Deadpool’s brand of hero. They are now. Only after years and score of humorous, attractive, clean cut or manageably off-center heroes. Now we have one that jumped off a cliff and flipped us the bird on the way down.
Deadpool may be an unusual role-model. But if you think he represents all that could go wrong in a leader, you need to look past the red suit and swords, to the man underneath.
At the 2015 Mass Conference for Women, one of the interactive booths included an artist storyteller. She asked the question “What advice do you wish you had as a college freshman?”
Since then, I’ve thought long and hard about that question. I spent a lot of time struggling, during college and in the decades since, with interpersonal interactions.
I wish someone had been able to help me see myself accurately. Ultimately, to share one book, which made me a better leader and better human being.
An artful collection of advice at Mass Conference for Women
I have spent much of my life feeling like Cassandra. Cassandra was the daughter of the King of Troy, who predicted their fall to the Greeks. She was cursed by Apollo to know the future, but not to be believed.
It’s the start of a new year. Following my own advice, I wanted to look back on what worked well in 2015, and what didn’t, to determine what I can do differently in 2016.
What can I do more of? Creating space away from work and the incessant need to be busy.
I’ve been able to have more innovative ideas, see what’s working and needed shifts in my team, and better mentor and develop others when I’m rested, and have taken regular breaks from the daily grind. In 2016, I commit to doing more of that, ideally not involving medical leave.
What went well? I was able to expand my reach this year, helping more people in their personal and professional journeys.
I am excited to have launched the new website, newsletter, ebooks and supporting forms/worksheets, all focused on helping make the aspirations of authentic leadership achievable. Additionally, I’m exited to see what resonated with my readers this year, to influence topics in 2016:
Managing People Frustrations (Parts I, II, and III)
These is a series of articles with advice when we’re frustrated in our interpersonal interactions. Part II was featured by SmartBrief in 2015, which was an exciting achievement for me personally.
Risk Vulnerability and Strengthen Your Team
I co-hosted my first tweetchat this year with Dan Forbes, of Leads with Giants fame. Our topic was vulnerability and how it can make us more powerful and effective leaders.
How to Successfully Align your Head and Heart
If we’re ingenuine in our interactions, it can be sensed by others. However, sometimes we are not yet ready to move past a challenge, adversely impacting our ability to move on to a new opportunity.
Living Leadership – What’s your VITAE?
I had an AHA moment driving one afternoon, realizing the final component of my leadership philosophy. Compelled to share it with all of you, it was the start of many changes and growth in 2015.
How to Get Promoted when Hard Work Isn’t Enough
This year, I committed to putting more tools into your hands. In 2016, I’ll be writing more content for those looking to grow professionally with specifics on how to achieve your aspirations.
I cannot wait to see what challenges and opportunities 2016 brings our way. While the idea of more challenges may make us cringe, those challenges often become the impetus for amazing new opportunities.
I hope the new year brings all of us enough challenges for growth, but with the added resiliency to stay the course until we can realize whatever learnings await us. As well as a few kick ass opportunities to show the world what we’re made of!
What articles did you like best in 2015? Are there topics you’d like to see more of in 2016? I’d love to hear from you in the comment so I can focus on what’s most valuable to you.
Leadership inspiration can be found anywhere. Recently, I have been finding it all over Pinterest.
It is amazing the wonderful images and quotes that so many have posted, reminding us to be our authentic selves, prompting us to be better leaders, or inspiring us to push our boundaries and move past our fears.
Here are some of my all time favorites. I hope they inspire you too.
1. When you are confronted by an obstacle.
Pinned by Lilla K
As a young girl, I grew up watching Roger Moore as James Bond. My parents had been Connery fans before him and continued watching 007 suave his way through trouble during the course of my upbringing.
For almost half a decade, that was the way of James Bond. Beautiful women with catchy names, campy innuendos, and action sequences that suspended belief. What more could you ask for?
When it was time to replace Pierce Brosnan in 2005, the expectation was that the next Bond would be an attractive brunette with the ability to deliver bad pickup lines with a raised eyebrow and a smirk.
Instead, we got Daniel Craig and the world as we know it imploded. A blonde? Never, in all the imaginings of Ian Fleming’s writings, was James – martini drinking, gadget-laden car driving, women seducing – Bond ever to be THAT of all things.
A decade later, we all have a different view of Daniel and 007. Following the Spectre release this month, I told my friends “James Bond has my day job and Daniel Craig is my hero.”
Well, I doubt I’ll become a gun-toting spy anytime soon, but as a leader, Daniel has accomplished three feats that I aspire to replicate. Might we all have his abilities.
1. Be the unexpected
The bar was high and expectations low that Daniel could fill the 007 shoes.
And then came Casino Royale. Do you remember the opening scene? The frog-like man flying around town, trying to escape James’ clutches? And James, in Indiana Jones-like fashion, getting battered and bruised along the way, but still going because that’s what a good agent does?
Suddenly, we did not just have a new Bond. We had a NEW BOND.