How is your career going? How is your life going?
Do you lead a charmed life? Do you wish that every day was Groundhog’s Day? Are you, literally, sucking the juice out of every day and accomplishing everything that you had hoped to accomplish? My guess is that there are very few people who can truly make these claims of unbridled glee. We live in an anxiety-riddled society, where even the people we look up to as the top performers suffer from the same stress, fears and concerns that the rest of us do. In short: life isn’t easy. Being all Zen and at one with the quiet of the earth may be the daily spiritual ascent of monks and those fascinated with the new age, but for the vast majority of us (and I count myself as one of them), even a rigorous and regular schedule of meditation and relaxation is less about finding that Zen, and more about holding the anxious wolves at bay, if but for a few moments of solace in an otherwise calendar-packed day of meetings, assignments, pressures and more from both work and home.
Shoring it all up.
There is no clear-cut answer to happiness. You can read books, speak to a professional, carve out moments to find your balance and more, but in the end we all have bills to pay, expectations from others that need to be fulfilled and our own, personal development to satisfy. Even when things are going well and money becomes less of an issue of survival, many of us begin to look at what’s next. Where is all of this taking us? What will make us happy now and tomorrow? When it comes to work, the layers of complexity are magnified. I am currently reading Lean In, the first business book by Sheryl Sandberg (of Facebook fame). It makes many strong (and some might say, controversial) statements about women in the workplace. It’s an issue that I never understood, thankfully, because I entered the workplace without having knowledge that there was a time and place when women weren’t welcome. I also chose work environments where there was always a near-even balance between men and women (and lots of diversity, I might add). In the handful of positions that I have held, two of those instances had me working for women bosses. I recall being at chamber of commerce event over a decade ago and someone asking me what it was like to have a woman for a boss. That question stopped me dead in my tracks. It was never even a thought in my mind, and it was also something that I didn’t realize would be on someone else’s mind. Sadly, it turns out that I may be in the minority.
What’s a woman (and man) to do?
Several months ago, I had the honor of speaking to the senior-most marketers of Mattel (Barbie, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, etc…). During dinner, there was an "Inside The Actor’s Studio" component with three members of the leadership team. All of them were women. During the Q&A segment, one of the team members asked these leaders for the one piece of advice that has always stuck with them. One person on the panel said that her father told her as she entered the workforce this: "Remember, every day you are writing your resume."
Every day you are writing your resume.
What seemed like powerful advice from a loving father to a very business-driven daughter is a line that transcends gender, race, skill level and occupation. We worry about what how complete our LinkedIn profiles are. We spend countless hours gossiping about company policies or others within our own team. We’re worried with everybody else’s level of compensation and acknowledgements, when – in reality – so few of us spend much time – each and every day – making sure that we’re writing our own resume.
There are power in words. There are power in actions.
Not a day goes by since hearing that story in late January that those words don’t ring in my head. Multiple times a day. For me, it has become a key driver in focus and in creating the future that I hope to have. It certainly does take away the lazy and makes me choose activities that can help me write a better resume – whether it’s spending thirty minutes on a stationary bike instead of watching Auction Kings or writing a blog post instead of getting lost in Facebook’s newsfeed or thinking up a strategy for a client at Twist Image instead of wondering who I am meeting for lunch. Choices. We all make choices. If I’m going to spend the majority of my waking hours thinking about the business, it may as well have the hue of writing a better resume for myself anchored to it.
So, what are you doing to write your own resume every day? What words inspire you daily to do more?