Change is hard for all of us, myself included. In this new series, I’ll be sharing daily mediations on transition, change, reinvention. Look out all you rock and rollers, turn and face the strange.
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Here’s a common fear when life suddenly changes and throws us off our routine.
What if I have become so conditioned that I won’t be able to function anywhere else?
It kind of makes you wonder if you’ll be able to thrive in your new environment.
My biggest fear of transitioning from entrepreneurship to the corporate world was similar. What if spending the first ten years of my career working alone in my living room has crippled my capacity to play well with others? Those hiring managers will probably reject my application before they even get a chance to meet me.
Or worse yet, they’ll hire me, but quickly realize that my fiercely independent spirit is a disruption to the company.
My worries were perfectly rational and normal. There’s no doubt that same fear has occurred to plenty of other transitioning professionals.
But life has a funny way of proving us wrong about our perceived limitations. Sometimes the perceived negatives we back away from are the very traits that help us thrive in the first place.
Many startups, for example, are skewing the scale towards the privilege of autonomy. They offer loose oversight rather than micromanaged handholding. And so, they’re not hiring team members who need permission from the authorities before they are comfortable taking ownership.
They’re seeking employees who initiate. People can essentially onboard themselves, ramping up quickly without the direct supervision that large corporations are fond of using.
In fact, one of my startup employers literally told me on man first day, and I quote:
Sorry, but you’re going to have to onboard yourself, it’s crazy around here this week. Welcome to the team!
Well okay then.
But strangely enough, that process was enjoyable for me. Having somebody sit down to train me would certainly be helpful. But the experience of overwhelming myself with a massive, diverse amount of information, taking notes and trying to make sense of it, in a compressed period of time, that was pure bliss for me.
It’s one of my favorite things to do, in fact. And only because working alone for all those years honed that skill. My background in having no choice but to do everything myself gave me permission to take initiative in the absence of direct management.
Lesson learned, make friends with your weaknesses. Let the world prove you wrong about your limitations.
Your awareness of your downside might actually prompt you to make it part of your value creation process.
After all, every weakness has a corresponding strength. Whatever it is you think is going to hold you back, see if you can’t flip it on its head and find people who would value the kind of work you do.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Which of your perceived liabilities might be valuable to a team?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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