Oh Lawd, She’s Right…again.
Fair warning the entirety of this article may not be safe for your workplace snowflake. Growing up and growing older is not for the faint of heart nor the weak. Even now, I have had some AHA moments that bring me back to some philosophical epithet my mother offered during those Buster Brown days of old – that’s fugly shoes for the younger set. One of those memorable moments she shared with me as I entered the working world was the following set of questions. It went along the same lines as the Robert Fulghum book, All I Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten, which was part in parcel of an earlier article several years ago about Wisdom Wasn’t Taught in Graduate School. Not only do the uninitiated entering the workforce today need a bit of wisdom, but so do the ‘moldy oldy’ boomers and anyone in between caught up in the frenzied social media world we live in today – you keyboard warriors notwithstanding. She started off with…
Before saying something you might regret, ask yourself:
Does this need to be said?
Does it need to be said by me?
Does it need to be said by me, right now?
What does this discourse have to do with leadership, communication, anticipation or anything regarding the people we work with? As simple as this is, your mom was right! Many of us just want to be heard and we can’t wait to proselytize our opinions as dead-bone facts. We may not listen as actively and appreciatively as we are capable of because of something we feel compelled to share. Here’s another…
“If at first, you don’t succeed, try doing it the way your Mom told you to in the beginning.”
Ignore the fact the following comeback ‘I told you so’ is nearby. Rather embrace the fact if she didn’t care, she would not have shared her factual opinions with you. Sadly, if you owned the discernment you have today back when you first began your career, you may not be in the mess you’re in today. Her statement resonates on several fronts, 1) don’t ever quit, don’t ever give up, 2) somebody’s been through the same or a similar process, event or situation. Would you rather bull through it because you’re stubborn af, or would you rather learn from someone else’s experience? Then we learned…
“Crap, Mom was right about focus and especially momentum.”
Things that make you go hmmm. Mom spent a great amount of time trying to get your distracted backside to focus, concentrate and pay attention. Why did it matter? Because the more you focused on what’s in front of you, the more likely you are to have confidence, be decisive and gain momentum. Hmmm, how about that…
“Mom was right. I should’ve been a proctologist; at least I’d earn more money dealing with assholes all day.”
And then there’s her sense of humor with some underlying truths thrown in for good measure just like most of her dinner recipes. You dealt with many of these types of people in high school, college and guess what in real life too. Funny, you didn’t think you’d have to deal with them much more did you? Whether you’re grabbing hold of the dynamics here or not, your corporate success is largely based on your ability to get along with others and less about the success or failure of this project or that.
There’s a moral to this diatribe for sure. When someone thinks of you, they have a mental picture in their mind of why you are the way you are…some are better than others, some, more twisted than others…There’s certainly an impression of what you do for other people, and how that message is delivered to others. It is the outward expression of you – it is your Golden Sentence, and no one has one like you.
It’s a fingerprint – a singular, specific, personalized characterization of your life – it is who you are.
The Golden Sentence is the very essence of your personal and professional life. Might you use it at a cocktail party? Meh, perhaps if you would like to ‘that guy’ in such a setting. Would it be more appropriate as an introduction to someone? Maybe, but the thought of spinning such verbiage will likely frighten the casual stranger. It is, however, the answer to the question, “Why you?” and it is unequivocally the differentiator that separates “tell me more” from “so what” or “who cares.”
Clare Booth Luce told President, John F. Kennedy every man is a sentence, and she gave the most succinct and elegant example in President, Abraham Lincoln. “He preserved the Union and freed the slaves.” It doesn’t get any better than that – unify a Nation and providing freedom to thousands! Yours may be as impactful and as simple. Your Mom was right, and you are who you are just like former Minnesota Vikings football coach Dennis Green famously uttered, “they were who we thought they were.”
Mom was right. You’re pretty unique. If you want to break out of someone else’s idea of who they think you are. If you’re looking to make your mark to:
Uncover who you truly are in life and in work,
Realize you are special and different.
You are supremely qualified to teach something to someone, and
You bring a combination of personality traits and aptitudes effortlessly to any situation,