For those who may have dreaded the "What do you do" question or could never quite answer the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" because you loved everything--take heart, you are not alone.In fact, welcome to a community of Renaissance Souls or MultiPotentialites as coined by author Emilie Wapnick in her TEDxBend Talk "Why Some of us don't have one true calling."
November 10, 2016
Anna Sun Choi
As we head into the holiday season, I'm looking for an alternative for both buying and receiving gifts. My family started a new tradition of picking a cause that the other family member donates to. While that tradition only lasted a couple of years, I found myself wanting
Leveraging Mistakes into Opportunities to Build Trust
Beep! I look down at my text which says "Anna, I'm trying to buy tickets to the Creativity Symposium and the website says they are no longer available."
Huh? This is ironic. Our team has done tons of marketing, pushing the final days of our early bird tickets only to find that people trying to buy a ticket--cannot. I found the mistake: I accidentally programmed the wrong expiration time for 12/31 at 12:30am instead of 1/1 at 12:30am. I had lost a day of sales on the biggest day for selling tickets because I didn't double check the expiration time on the ticket site.
Now is the moment of truth. I could fix it, text my friend it's fixed, then simply pretend like it never happened to the public. Why acknowledge a mistake? It only affects a few. Plus it looks bad, right?
You've heard it before: "Put your best face forward," "Fake it til you make it," or "Look as good as possible, leave no room for obvious error." As my former boss at a wealth management company said it, "I hate to say it, but yeah--we have to be perfect." Phew! Talk about pressure.
At Start Up Seattle, Shauna Causey, a former Executive at Comcast, shared how she risked her job by tweeting a mistake the company had made that resulted in customers not having internet access for several hours. Rather than cover it up with PR, she simply said what happened and apologized publicly, against the company policy. From her bold ability to embrace the mistake publicly, Comcast sales actually skyrocketed following the incident, customers appreciated the integrity. She kept her job, and even got recognized for it, eventually being promoted.
In this new year, what if mistakes were awesome? What if mistakes were treated as opportunities to build trust rather than something to cover up? Clearly, nobody's perfect. We are just human.
There's a wonderful little book called "Beautiful Oops" where all the pages intentionally are torn, they have holes; in essence, it's as if a toddler had gone through the book. I bought it for my son Eli in hopes of teaching him the beauty of mistakes and failure. Then holding my tongue as he tears up the pages you're not supposed to tear. :D
Imagine you've made a mistake. Now is the moment of truth. What if you boldly owned it 100%? In fact, you leveraged it as an opportunity to build trust. Heck, you could even get creative with how to turn that mistake into something bigger and better for everyone in the long run.
What would it look like if T-Mobile's John Legere or Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella fully owned their mistake? That they really went all the way in how their comments didn't work. Might that be a huge opportunity to build trust with not just their shareholders but the broader community and women in society?
Starting the Year Right
My volleyball coach Jennifer Tonkin said it best, "To gain confidence you must aggressively fail."
What will you create with your mistakes next year?
What mistakes have you embraced from this year and last?
Be proud of your next mistake. There just might be some confidence waiting for you on the other side.
Right now, 57% of college grads are now women, yet less than 5% of women are CEO's.
Imagine this: A female US President where nobody in the media makes any mention that she's female. Gender is no longer a conversation. It's normal that over half of CEO's, congress members, philanthropists, etc. are women. Choosing career or family is no longer a hot topic. In fact, women are paid to go on maternity leave while men are free to be full time stay-at-home dad's void of any judgment from any gender. There is equitable representation of global leadership to the populations they represent.
How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future
Best-selling author and Social Theorist of Consumerism, John Gerzema is a pioneer in the use of data to identify social change and help companies adapt and respond. This TEDxKC talk is based on his book with Michael D'Antonio, "The Athena Doctrine: How Women (And Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future" (spring 2013).
Gerzema and D'Antonio surveyed 64,000 people in 13 countries. The people surveyed were first asked to rank the top traits they wanted in a 21st Century Leader then afterwards, assign whether each trait was more masculine or feminine. Gender consideration was not part of the initial question--but the top traits people wanted most, across the board, were associated to be feminine. The bottom line?
Two-thirds of those surveyed said the world would be a better place if men thought more like women.
Here's a sampling of the top traits that both genders thought embodied the best 21st Century Leader:
Cooperation, Communication, Sharing, Nurturing, Listening, Collaborating, Balance, Trustworthiness, Vulnerability
I personally feel affirmed that traits such as vulnerability are now gaining favor in the eyes of what people crave for in the 21st Century Leader. In my spare time, I lead Self Expression and Leadership Programs for about 30 local leaders over 4-5 month programs. Though petrifying, I shared publicly what I was actually dealing with as a means to inspire through failure. Instead of looking perfect--no chinks in this armor--I shared from the heart. Several people responded saying "Thanks for sharing what's really going on. I am now inspired to be a leader knowing I don't have to have it all together."
In what ways are you using your feminine traits to lead? Which traits do you naturally embody?
Consider you are making a way bigger difference than you realize, right now, with your community around you. Discover the difference you make.
Here's my son, Eli. He's beckoning to you to let out that inner dragon. Did I tell you?
My Son has transformed into a dragon. When he's got this creative costume on, he can't help but breath fire, suddenly roar, and claw at the air. His creative costume helps him act in new ways. Now he may be a three year old playing around, but what creative costume could you "put on" to take action on what you have been procrastinating on?
Picking Your Creative Costume
What could you pretend to be that would create results in your day? There was a study showing two groups asked to reach for a doorknob as fast as possible to get the best time. Those who were told to pretend they were superhuman with lightening fast reflexes consistently beat the times of the control group. Mere imagination caused a new result in reality. So again, what's your creative costume that will allow you to accomplish what you accomplish in your day to day projects to move forward?
A Case Study
My creative costume today was embodying Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee was a legend for many things, and quite notably this footage of him playing ping pong with nunchucks. Yes, nunchucks. I highly recommend watching this 3 1/2 minute clip to witness this inspirational act of sheer performance.
So I thought to myself, why not be the Bruce Lee of Time Management! I tackled my calendar like Bruce Lee hitting those ping pong balls and achieved more than I imagined was possible being myself. It worked.
Pick your creative character you can embody today. Pick a boring project or something you've been avoiding and choose the character that will be best to embody to get that task done. Discover the magic that unfolds not only to get the job done, but be fun and creative while you're at it!