By Joshua Weinstein, Employee Benefits President
I’m no longer a member of the youngest and hippest generation. My daughters keep me apprised of the trending memes, hand gestures, and terms, but at heart, I know I’ve crossed into deep mid-life. With that ascension comes maturity and growth, right? While I still break into fits of childlike moments of wonder, I have thought about the HOW of my work process and systems. Benefiting from nearly 20 years in my profession, I’ve observed how my knowledge lake has grown both in breadth and depth. Still, I think my greatest contributions have come in the form of learning to trim the extraneous, the fat, and get to the root of my client’s needs.
In summary, the tectonic shift occurring as I round out 20 years in my profession, which happens to be employee benefits consulting, is that my path is now less of ascent and more of one of descent. In metaphorical terms, today I strive less to climb in my career. Rather, I’m here to mentor and lead the next generation as they ascend and reach for their goals. I’m invested more in sharing and surrendering any trade secrets I may possess than personal gain right now. Perhaps I’m just an old soul ahead of my time, but it’s where I am. In a spirit of sharing, here are a few life lessons that I’ve embodied after much trial and error.
- When I started as a newbie in my professional career, I read documents cover-to-cover, and now, with that framework in place, I scan for updates and relevant changes. I’m still a content-level expert in my field, but I can be more efficient since I’m adjusting what I already have learned.
- I had been accused long ago of micromanaging my work, and now I’ve learned to trust others to succeed and make their learning mistakes. Surrendering control is integral to efficiency and others’ prosperity.
- Take proper vacations. For each week out, I build in a “phantom day” upon my return while I’m working under the radar. I’m still out as far as others know, but I’m getting caught up.
- I have a better handle on the types of work I do best during certain parts of the day. For this blog, right after coffee at 9 AM is the spot. Social time and forming big ideas with co-workers is best had in the late afternoon.
- As a leader, I am less tolerant to mediocrity, both in myself and others. I’ve heard we’re shaped most by the five people we socialize with outside of immediate family, and so I’ve laid to rest friendships that were no longer mutually beneficial. Same goes in the workforce. If a colleague isn’t in the right role, our servant leaders attempt to help him or her adjust as needed. Failing success after a fair number of attempts to cultivate it, we part ways. Building an A-class team within our division at work has meant more letting go than holding on. Those that remain likely have careers for life.
How about you? What have you learned to surrender and let go of that’s made you and those around you more prosperous and empowered to lead?