I recorded a podcast earlier this week with a friend from Twitter. He warned me ahead of time he wasn’t going to provide the questions. “Fine by me,” I thought. “Ask me anything.”
His last question was this: “what are the milestones of your life? What are you most proud of?”
My mind went blank. I didn’t know what to say. What’s worse here is that I ask this question of employees during candidate experience assessments. Discovering the work, teams, and moments a person is most proud of can help my team truly understand employee motivation and identify the critical ingredients for effective attraction campaigns.
But there I was. Speechless. That doesn’t happen often.
Now it has been bothering me. What are the milestones? Am I proud of myself?
I guess? I’m chuckling as I write that because I am proud. I didn’t expect to even live until 35. I surely didn’t expect the life I live today. Nothing I have was part of some big plan I cobbled together in my 20’s.
That’s probably why I felt so stumped. I don’t look at my life through the filter of milestones. It implies there was a predictable finish line or one thing I always wanted. That was not my life or what got me here. I never wanted to be a CEO or run my own company. I didn’t want to be a writer. Real talk - I thought I was an awful writer for most of my life.
I got here by setting my finish lines one at a time, pacing myself toward what I thought everyone wanted. Then I realized this truth: my path is for me. Following other people and keeping up just made me feel left behind. I couldn’t be proud because I spent too much mental energy trying to compare.
By defining my path, I find myself feeling proud a lot more. I have a different definition inspired by one of the most important people in my life. She said, “maybe being proud is just gratitude for your path.”
So today, I’m taking a minute to celebrate that path—the one behind me and the one ahead. What I know and what I don’t. I am so thankful all of it led me here with each of the inevitable twists and turns. For all the people it has led me to, even in a shit year like 2020.
And for a moment, I guess I’m proud.
I wrote about another reflection point in this week’s blog: assessments. But I want to shake them up.
See, 2020 sucks. Most people are not in the headspace to take on bad feedback. Maybe this year, we can make people proud of what they accomplished instead of assessing them to death.
How? Rewrite your job description and present it to the team. I explain a lot more in the blog but trust me on this. No one needs the rank and score crap right now.
That link and more below. I hope you take a moment to be proud of yourself today.