I asked my three and a half-year-old daughter the other day, ‘’what do you want to be when you grow up?’’ After some thinking and with a very thoughtful look on her face she said ‘Mummy, I want to be myself when I grow up.’’ I thought, how very insightful.
We are always looking at what we want to be and what we want to become when in essence, striving to be yourself, should be something in conjunction with our life goals that we work on daily. Where did we lose this simplicity of thinking? it seems as you grow older, things become more and more complicated, and we sometimes lose sight of what matters. If we all grew up to be ourselves, how refreshing would that be?
Working in recruitment and being the age I am, I have realized that life is a journey. The number of people who actually become what they wanted to be when they grew up must surely be very low. Especially in the field of Marketing and Communications, a rapidly evolving marketplace where it is a different playing field from one year to the next.
I feel this years periods of lockdown have led us to look more inwardly than ever before. Whatever your situation may be; whether you have kids, on your own or with a partner, never have we had this chance to self-reflect and to look internally for answers.
During this time, I have realized how important it is to connect openly and honestly with people. From a work perspective, I find it hard to speak emotionally and openly as to how I feel. Perhaps this is ingrained from childhood, or something that I have learnt we should keep quiet about, something that we shouldn’t admit to, as it will show weakness. I have realized that it is all too easy to let things build up, to get frustrated, and to not have the opportunity to vent is quite dangerous.
Leaders who are truly connected to their employees are open to vulnerability, are avid, deep listeners, not just solution providers. This is important as often, we need to come to the conclusion ourselves, however, having that sounding board is immensely important. I am proud to work in a company where you can openly call or email the CEO and voice your thoughts and there is never judgement. This is something I appreciate in a leader, someone who cares about their people.
This ‘people piece’ has become even more important with the arrival of COVID19. All of a sudden employees are being trusted and relied upon to work from home. People have been forced to juggle work with family life, and in some cases have had to deal with redundancies. As a result, we are all spending time in our heads so naturally health and wellness is paramount to keeping our sanity.
During the lockdown I am hearing from candidates, more and more often, “I had a COVID moment, reflected on what I’m doing, and decided I needed to make a change.” To me, this signals that people are in some cases voluntarily walking away from their roles, with the realization that life is too short. Giving up a stable role in an incredibly unstable period shows us that it is a time for deep reflection. Is it because the world is imploding around us, or is it because at last, we all have the chance to breathe and step back from the ‘day to day’ and examine our motivations, our raison d’etre?
My realisations over this period:
- children have an innate ability to give us clarity – it is important to grow and be yourself – we need to remind ourselves to never lose the wonder
- Vulnerability, connecting openly and emotionally is essential for progress, even in the workplace – do not hold it in, it will make you question yourself and everything you do
- The best leaders are the ones who listen to your issues, even if those issues are personal and impacting your work
- If you are struggling to cope and have had enough of being stuck in your mind, talk to someone, a problem shared is a problem halved
- Working from home and having limited personal contact, has allowed us to look inwardly and to discover what is important to us
This year will be a year of immense change. Here’s to a future where our new learnings and perspectives will enable us to follow our hopes and dreams.