What would my professional life look like as a Facebook memory – those prompts you receive from the social platform that bring to surface images of you posted anywhere between 1 and 62 years ago (I kid!). If you’re like me, these photos can incite a mixture of emotions, ranging from hilarity and embarrassment to sappiness and gratitude. After reliving a photo of my puppy from a year ago, I started to consider what memories I would have on Facebook if it showed various scenes from my first year at Audienz.
I imagine that my “1 year ago today” image would look like an enthusiastic 28-year-old, anxious to discover the unknown, but giddy to join a crew of creative, efficient, inspired, and soulfully good people. Would that image embarrass me? Maybe. Is that okay? Totally. “The secret of the creative life is to feel at ease with your own embarrassment,” according to screenwriter Paul Schrader.
As you may have read in Part 1, I was fortunate to experience much growth in the last year. Those monumental moments, and the ones I’ll share with you today, were sentimental glimpses in the rearview mirror of my tenure with Audienz, but also the fodder for professional growth down the road. My hope is that these can challenge and inspire your professional endeavors, just as they’ve done for me:
My first moment of initiative – replying to a stakeholder’s email:
It was my second day at Audienz, and I did what I assumed was status quo. I remember my manager saying “Look at you go, already responding to emails!” A small opportunity that proved its value once complete, my decision to act and my manager’s decision share her excitement has never faded from my memory. Why?
Taking risks is…risky, duh. It is uncomfortable and likely won’t be something that you know you’re ready to do. But taking calculated risks as a professional can speak volumes about the kind of colleague you are and the work ethic you embody. Brainstorm something new; remove limits in a safe setting; think creatively and strategically; connect with someone new; share information in a way you haven’t before. These kinds of risks can make a big statement – to others and to yourself. In your careers this year, I encourage you to find new opportunities for risk.
My first leadership responsibility – taking ownership of a new onboarding system and supporting a new hire:
Throughout my 12-month tenure at Audienz, I have been on the receiving end of a multitude of support, encouragement, advice, counsel, and education. I was honored when our HR team approached me and asked to help pilot a new onboarding system for new hires. I was gifted the chance to uplift my onboarding experience, create resources using my perspective, and share that with someone new.
There is great power in meeting new people and being comfortable starting a conversation. Embracing your human spirit and easing someone else’s journey through your humanness can be very rewarding. I encourage you to seek these kinds of opportunities as well. Get coffee with a new colleague. Put yourself out there, recall your time served in a new situation, and ask how you can support someone else through the learnings you’ve encountered in your professional journey. Allow yourself to be inspired by all that you’ve learned along the way. Remove any fear that could keep you from being a guiding light for someone else.
While some may argue that one year is not a lot of time in the grand scheme of life, I tend to believe the opposite. I’m not the Lindsay I was a year ago today. And in an instant, I could become another version of myself. Thinking about the passage of time, and the radical (slightly terrifying) difference that a year can make, I find myself feeling so hopeful. Hopeful that in whatever the next year brings at Audienz, I can take risks and help someone else, just as I’ve already proven capable of doing. I can embrace those moments that will become memories, honoring my past professional self by trusting who I am in the present, and enjoying the process of challenge, growth, reflection, and challenge once again.