One of the catch phrases that took off in my company when I started and is still with us is “Better is Possible”. There’s a back story to this phrase as well as ways I have allowed it to shape me, that I think might be helpful to you as a leader, influencer, and brave soul.
I knew when I began my journey as an entrepreneur I would need to keep growing, keep learning and keep achieving in order to stay relevant and to survive among others who knew more, or were my direct competitors. This thinking really messed me up in many ways. I became this crazy workaholic, who let fear and anxiety rule her inner world, and who let false masks hide her struggles to the outer world. I learned many of these traits by others unhealthy professionals in my field, and because I didn’t have healthy role models speaking truth to me I continued in this way for 5 years. Let me be the first to tell you, that way of thinking does work, but it comes with a cost you will regret having to pay. It will eat away at your mental, physical, and emotional health and your spirit suffers. Out of this terrible experience, I thought in the back of my mind, better has to be possible.
I remember praying to God to help me. His response was simple, everything you have ever needed has always been right in front of you. Like a sweet movie reel unfolding in my mind, he showed me moments when I was with close friends laughing and crying about life and work. He showed me faces of people who had been real community to me in my darkest moments. Finally, I heard him whisper you will be what you needed for other people, a mentor. I just sat up in that moment and realized the very thing I needed most to focus on in my business, wasn’t knowledge, or prowess, or a façade to hide behind, it was relationships.
When we open ourselves up to others and connect we let them show us a better way to live, laugh and learn. If there is one thing I could shout from the cosmos to every person who pursuing a career in business it is this: Better is Possible, but only when we do this thing called life together. It’s easy in our western culture to play in to the message of individualism, but it’s a cancerous lie and it harms us all.
Below are some of the relationships you can glean from in or to reach a better state:
Community: these are the people you do life with. People you learn how to build character with. Your community is where you contribute and receive for the greater good of all. Communities come in all shapes and environments. Some communities are built with organizations, or institutions, some happen organically. Find one and get plugged in.
Mentors: these are the people you find, and sit at their feet. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, always have someone in your life that you can glean from. Mentors are individuals who speak from life experiences and can aid you in avoiding poor decisions. They can also help equip you for things you may not already know. They pour into you so that you will go from striving to thriving. They come in all ages, and have various life experiences. Pursue this type of relationship with fervor and begin reaping the benefits.
Friends: these are people that you consider part of your tribe. Some will be just like you and others will be different. Friends are there to sharpen you and speak truth in love to you. Friends are healthy mirrors that show us how well or poorly we are managing our relationships with others. Friendship is a reciprocal exchange between two people that is built on trust, care and honesty. Friends are people we meet, and they change our lives, hearts and minds for the better. Remember, to have a friend you must be a friend, don’t be a taker and not a contributor. These people are found in various ways, are of various ages. Get out there and be what you need, a friend.
Peer Coaches: These people are those at a similar academic/professional scale as you, who also want to grow as people. Knowledge is wonderful but without accountability we become tanks of information but not necessarily better for it. I heard once a cool phrase “If you’re going to read about it, you better be about it”. Peer coaches are your professional accountability to help you be about it. This relationship should be reciprocal, meaning you hold each other accountable. If you want to improve your professional prowess, get yourself a peer coach. They can be found in your workplace, you might meet them at a Chamber function, or in another professional organization. Level up the right way, get yourself a peer coach.
Better is possible. Learn to sharpen yourself from the inside out through relationships with others. What I’ve listed above is a starting point, and you don’t have to do all these at one time. Just pick the one you think you need to work on the most and build from there. I believe in you. I believe better is possible for you. Let’s be better than those who may have led by poor example and show those looking to us a better way. Be what you needed.
Always in your corner,