The turn of the new year seems to be a common time for reflection, and rightfully so. That “fresh-start feeling” of a precise January 1st is inspiring to a lot of people. I fully embrace the part of my brain that lifts its ears and wags its tail at the idea of setting new goals for a new year – so you can imagine the joyful jumps of my heart as I approach my first anniversary at Audienz.
On February 16, 2018, little Lindsay walked into the Audienz camp at our communal office space. I was ready. Ready to meet the charming faces previously seen online, relish in the intellect I’d only encountered on phone calls or through blog posts, and ultimately get more comfortable wearing the big girl shoes I’d been fussing with since my move to Seattle 5 months prior.
A year later, I’m still getting used to those big girl shoes, but feeling greater contentment with their fickle fit! More notably, though, I recall the small moments that make up the better part of my growth at Audienz. As is often the case, seemingly tiny blips in time now assume their immense worth in my memory. Armed with learned outcomes and inspired by a renewed sense of my professional self, I’d like to share a few of my reflections with you.
My first client meetings (when I knew what was going on!) – experiencing the freedom to trust my competence and embracing the element of the unknown:
In the world of consulting, you occasionally find yourself on the shorter end of subject matter expertise. That’s the nature of the job – a new client engagement means new people, unfamiliar terminology, innovative goals, and boundless opportunities for greater understanding. I recall the first time I worked with each of my clients, and the grand transition from being a passive sponge, absorbing the environment and conversation, to an engaged leader, contributing with confidence and smarts. That’s the part of a job that everyone can achieve. It comes with time, patience, and effort. The silver lining that illuminates such an achievement, though, is authenticity.
I am privileged to work with some of the most interesting, collaborative, and genuine clients; this inherently makes my job easier! With their kindness and intellect, I have challenged myself to meet those qualities. And now, our work together has grown richer, more vibrant, and abundantly fun.
I challenge you to grow more authentically with your clients and colleagues. To give a little more of your heart; to get to know them; to invest in the relationship you share. It won’t be long before you find yourself actively discussing the best burger on the west coast (and making lunch plans to sample one of the contenders), hanging on every word of the recap of their latest half-marathon in New Zealand, or exchanging gingerbread cookie recipes over the holidays.
Relationships are the most urgent part of our existence, so why wouldn’t we make caring for our professional relationships a priority?
My first realization that there’s more to life than work – embracing the coveted work/life balance:
Audienz upholds the strong belief that we work to live. Our company culture promotes the benefits of travel, time unplugged, making memories, appreciating our days, and supporting each other in new adventures. It took me a long time to wrap my brain around the fact that, with this job, I was encouraged to do all the things that I, as a human, need for myself outside of work. How many employers uphold such a culture?
Last October, my manager went on a working vacation to Paris for over a month. Not to negate the amount of strategy and planning involved, I was inspired by the ease at which she pulled it off. It was encouraging. And gratifying. And life-giving. Why shouldn’t I have the option to do something like this? To spend time embracing who I am and the goals I have beyond work?
This lesson requires active practice. Not everyone may experience a work culture so freely boasting the work hard, play hard mantra. But we all can benefit from managing a work/life balance. Sometimes, you need the brilliance of the mountains to help you realize your own brilliance; you need the space of the water to infuse meditative space in your work; you need the energy of music to provide the rhythm for your time on the clock.
Reflecting on the past gives us a great opportunity to paint visions of our future. As I reflect on the details of the last year at Audienz, I see marked moments of transition, growth, and renewed gumption. Like the ball in a pinball machine, I endured clearly identifiable trajectories that changed the outcome of my professional being for good. Sometimes, with the flashing lights and disco balls to go with it! My hope is that these reflections can inspire you as you navigate the ever-changing landscape of professional growth: to practice authenticity and to enjoy work by enjoying life.
Stay tuned for Part 2!