This cycle I am more focused on ‘being’ goals than ever, and I’ll be honest – I feel a bit lost at points. How do you set goals and see progress on being goals?? My communication goal is compelling to me and I’ve been thinking about it a good amount. I’ll share some thoughts, and would love your support in thinking about how to set tangible goals/measure them.
I had coffee earlier this week with a work friend, really more of an acquaintance. (She works at another org in my sector). I was really impressed by her confidence and how she speaks about herself as a professional. (She came into her organization and told them she could promise them high-quality programs and with meaningful Jewish content, as that is what she is great at.) What was fascinating is that she talked about some of the communication shortcomings of ORGANIZATIONS, not just people. E.g. ‘that entire organization speaks in upspeak. They need to stop apologizing for what they do.’
While that sounds harsh, unfortunately I realize there is a good amount of that kind of bashing in my field, and probably in every field. But her comment was right on. Of course, organizations are managed by people, and how they speak about their work is clearly connected to how they operate in the world.
The apologetics are a big piece of what inspired me to take on this goal. I am committed to speaking confidently, powerfully and unapologetically – while also being likable! I don’t know that I’ll ever get away from my need to be liked, and I don’t know if I want to. In thinking about my legacy, I care more about people feeling loved and inspired as a result of my presence in the world than I do about anything else.
I connect deeply to my role as a female leader, as well. I listen to a bunch of podcasts on Reboot, the life coach for entrepreneurs! It’s awesome. I find that the few female entrepreneurs who have been interviewed bring such a compassion and passion for people in the world and that is their strength. They often don’t speak aggressively or loudly the way certain male leaders do, and I think that’s a good thing. Each leader needs to find their authentic voice, and there’s no question gender will play a role in that – men and women are intrinsically very different. (e.g. there is value in certain men leaders being aggressive – there is NO value in women trying to be like that if they’re not, or in men trying to be what they’re not). (Self note: I almost wrote there…I don’t know if that made sense or not! But that is a key example of speaking in apologetics! So I’ll leave as is.)
Last night I had a powerful experience on two fronts. We ran a big SpeedInterviewing event for our candidates for this year’s NYC cohort of entrepreneurs. My job was to be the emcee between rounds, do silly icebreakers, etc. I had a great time with it, and as I mentioned in a previous post, I often have a great persona in front of the room. What’s funny is every once in a while people mention that I show up differently there. While that makes sense to an extent, I want to be authentic through and through.
We had one candidate who has some disabilities, namely she has a breathing tube and sits in a wheelchair. We made special arrangements for her to be in a different room so that she could hear, and she was a trooper. We asked two volunteers to be with her the whole time rather than interviewing 8 candidates the way the other volunteers did. (Unfortunately, I noticed my apologetics kicking in when we asked them to do that – I felt ‘bad’ that they would miss out on the rest. Yet I didn’t see how powerful this experience could be instead).
She finished earlier, and for the final part of the evening I told her we’d bring a group of people into her room. Fast forward 40 minutes of craziness, when we got to that point I completely forgot and we kept people in place. She eventually realized, and came out pretty upset that she had been left behind. Understandably. Her whole point of being there was to share her vision for starting an organization that includes people with disabilities! I FELT SO BAD. It was such an awful moment. She clearly showed her frustration, and I gave her extra time to catch up while being discreet about why, and then the night proceeded. At the end she smiled and waved goodbye. I ran right over to talk to her. I began apologizing, and realized i was literally going through the steps of restoring integrity. (“I realize the impact this must have had on you, and how isolated you must have felt.”) i don’t think i EVER would have said that before the training, and I am so grateful for that tool. I saw in her eyes that she really got that I got it, and it made all the difference to her.
THAT is powerful communication, even though of course I was soft and compassionate in my communication. It was a great lesson.
Up next week: yoga on Sunday or Tuesday, more reflections on that goal, and beginning to take note of things I say, and what I deem to be the communication I strive for and what I don’t.