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Growth is not the goal

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Katrina Kibben's Weekly Letter

January 15 · Issue #137 · View online

Every week, I'll write you a letter. A letter about anything, really. My goal is just to make you think.


Hear me out. What if growth isn’t the goal? I know you weren’t expecting that from this letter. We get deep into the Oprah-esque inspiration, motivation, and change here. 
This last year has been a whirlwind in so many ways - politically, economically, socially. I still don’t quite know how to cope with this relentless bombardment of bad news. I tell myself I’ll figure it all out when it’s over, but I get this sneaking suspicion that an end isn’t as close as everyone says. I know I’m not the only person who has been steadily wrecking their mental health for months now. 
Knowing we’ve all barely survived the last year, I think growth is a reach goal. What if we tried a new approach to the idea of growth? 
This concept isn’t my idea. Not Grandma’s, either. I read it in a book by Paul Jarvis called “Company of One.” Highly recommend it. 
The whole idea is not “build a company with one person doing it all.” The philosophy is that we should question growth before investing in a traditional corporate solution, i.e., hiring or throwing money at problems. Instead of starting an RFP for consultants or tech, a company of one mindset will question the current process and everything about how we work to find a better way to approach the problem in the first place. 
But even more significant to me is that they prioritize growing your life over your business. I always thought success meant more clients, later hours, more hires, etc. That’s a traditional (capitalist) success - more work, less life. Now, let’s think about real life. In what world would you call abandoning yourself for a corporation’s gain success or growth? 
Long after you’re gone from this planet, that business can (in most cases) survive and thrive without you. Why wouldn’t you choose to invest time in your own life instead of labor? Why wouldn’t you seek out joy over more work? 
I keep finding myself having this entire conversation in my head and then stopping right there: why wouldn’t you invest time in creating a better life? 
On the surface, the answer is simple. Well, duh. Just do it. 
But when it comes to calendars and schedules, prioritization, and choices - saying this success is enough feels like a lie. My fear kicks up. What do you mean we stop working when we hit a revenue number? What do you mean I have to say no to projects? 
That’s the unlearning that must happen, too. I will work on unlearning every day until I figure it out - unlearning that traditional work and success come from having less life and more tasks. That work is how I represent my value to our family, friends, and colleagues. That my life is measured by what I do. 
I’m giving you a look (and myself, if I’m 100% honest). 
You know you’re worth so much more than the work you do. So why wouldn’t you choose to celebrate by creating a life you love? 
———
Often when people are not in the company of one mindset, they invest in tools too early. Leaders think by purchasing HR technology, they can take recruiters out of the equation. 
Anyone who has done an implementation knows better. People make processes and experience incredible, not the codebase. Especially when it comes to writing. 
I wrote about that in the context of HR technology for gender bias and augmented writing tools this week. Often, teams know their job postings suck and think the tools will help. 
News flash: you have to teach them how to write a job post before giving them tools that highlight bias. No tool can tell you if your post isn’t accurately describing requirements or the role in the first place—more on that in the blog link below. 
Until next week - 
Katrina
CEO, Three Ears Media

My Top 5 Augmented Writing and Gender Bias Tools
How To Write A Job Post: On-Demand Course
Coded Bias | BAMPFA
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