I Can’t Stress This Enough…
I’ve built a career out of the dumb mistakes I made as a new grad working for a small marketing agency.
Yes, I wore patent leather knee boots to the office.
Yes, I took 20-minute smoke breaks.
Yes, I delivered professional docs in Edwardian Script.
But my most cringe-worthy rookie moments by far are the ones where I allowed my anger to c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y control my behavior.
Thankfully, it only happened twice.
Once when I called a freelancer who I thought was trying to take over a project and – in no uncertain terms – explained what her role was… and wasn’t.
And once when I was stuffing Christmas cards and not-so-merrily yelled at one of our partners.
As if that weren’t bad enough, I did it in front of the entire staff.
I’m not proud of these outbursts– but I am proud that I learned from them.
Because it’s these moments that taught me there’s a short game and a long game to life.
The short game is when you only see what’s directly in front you.
How you’re feeling, how the situation affects you, and what’s going to happen in the minutes ahead.
The long game is when you can see what’s in front of you AND what’s on the horizon.
How you’re feeling, sure, but also how the situation will impact the whole team in the days and weeks ahead.
To be fair, I believe this perspective is learned.
I mean, who gets off the bus knowing this stuff?
The problem, of course, is when we NEVER learn it.
For example, I recently started hosting office hours with my Awake Execs, meaning every Monday afternoon I’m pretty much tethered to the phone chatting about career problems.
And 99% of the time, these problems stem from operating in the short game.
Time to zoom out peeps.
That coworker driving you crazy? Unless you outrank them, you’re probably stuck together.
That promotion you want? Unless you get clear on exactly what you want, you’re probably not going to get it.
And don’t even get me started on emotional affairs.
Still, I want to be clear here.
I’m not asking you to stuff your feelings and pretend they don’t exist. I’m asking you to deal with them through the lens of the long game.
Because the truth is, unless there’s a breach of integrity, every relationship is worth preserving because you n-e-v-e-r know.
I certainly would have treated the freelancer better had I known one day I would gladly give her that project in order to take on a bigger client…
….or that we would eventually attend the same church and see each other every flipping Sunday
….or that – seven years later – I would take my son to her house each morning before work.
Yeah, those things really happened because life is crazy like that – which means the freelancer had multiple opportunities to tell me to go stuff myself.
Sweet revenge, right?
But only for short gamers.
P.S. My sincere thank you to everyone who nominated this blog for the Forbes list of “Top 100 Websites for Women.” I’ve read through all of the comments and your kind words truly touched me. If you haven’t voted, today is the last day. Thanks again for your support. Xo