What Christmas Doesn’t Mean to Me and My Plan for the New Year

What Christmas Doesn’t Mean to Me and My Plan for the New Year

I’m certain that the majority of the blogs you’re following right now are talking about Christmas and New Year’s and reflections in 2020.  While I think we can all agree that the label “dumpster fire” is pretty fitting for 2020, I want to share a couple of lessons I’ve learned only recently as well as my plan for 2021.  First, a quick disclaimer, some of this episode may be triggering for you, and know that these are my thoughts and opinions which you may not share and that’s completely ok.  Having said that, let’s jump in.

With COVID-19 cases still on the rise, Chad and I made the tough decision to stay home for Christmas.  This brought out the emotional big guns for everyone involved ranging from disappointment to anger to understanding.  In the last month, I’ve had several family members and friends test positive – one of which passed away the week of Thanksgiving – and so we figured if there was ever a year to stay put, it’s this one.  Honestly, I have to admit that a big part of me feels relieved that we are staying home because it’s taken the pressure off having to appease everyone.  There have been several years where Chad and I have attended between 7 and 9 different Christmas gatherings and I know this is not uncommon for a lot of families.  Especially when you have divorced parents or grandparents.

Since we aren’t traveling and still want our time together to feel special, I came up with a list of possible Christmas plans.  Admittedly, most of it revolves around food but all that means is we will have a great many leftovers for the days that follow.  We’re going to make monkey bread for Christmas Eve breakfast, king crab legs and filet for dinner, better swim biscuits and gravy for Christmas morning breakfast, and shrimp and salmon for dinner.  BTW, if you haven’t tried better swim biscuits, here’s the recipe, trust me, they will change your life!  We’re also going to make some candy, watch a plethora of movies, work on a puzzle, play video games, and go for a couple of walks.  Oh!  And we’ll do all of this while wearing our Christmas jammies.

I know there are many of you who want nothing more than to spend the holidays with your families because you love being together and they are a joy to be around.  It’s easy, relaxing, and full of fun.  And for that, you are truly blessed.  I also know there are many of you who are weighed down by the anxiety that comes with the holidays.  Last Friday, I was interrogated by a former lawyer/law professor friend of mine about what Christmas means to me.  And I have to tell you that being blindsided by the question I panicked and my answer was slightly rage-filled.  Ok, it was totally rage-filled.  Here’s what I said.  “It’s easier to answer the question by telling you what I think Christmas is not about – it’s not about every family member getting a new vehicle, it’s not about everyone getting a new gaming console.  It’s not about racking up massive amounts of debt just so you can “give your kids a good Christmas.”  It’s not supposed to be filled full of obligations that you had no choice in making nor want to participate.  It’s not about spending time with family members who make you feel bad about yourself or who just really don’t like you.

If you’ve been waiting for someone to validate your feelings and/or give you permission to just say no, here it is.  Honestly, you don’t need my permission nor anyone else’s in order to take care of yourself and your mental health.  Nor do you need my permission to make decisions for your family.  What I do want you to consider though is that just because someone shares DNA with you doesn’t mean you owe them anything.  There are many people in the world whose families are not blood relatives.  Have you ever had a family member try to guilt you into doing something you don’t want to do because “blood is thicker than water?”  Well, people have been misquoting that for years.  The actual quote is “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” The meaning of this saying is actually the opposite of the way we use it. The saying actually means that bonds that you’ve made by choice are more important than the people that you are bound to by the water of the womb. The saying reflects the fact that the bonds you choose for yourself can mean much more than the ones you don’t have much say in.  So the next time someone tries that out on you, you can let them know that actually, that’s not true.

Whew!  That felt like a big ol’ brain dump if I’ve ever heard one.  It may seem like I completely hate Christmas but don’t get me wrong.  I don’t.  I just hate how the holidays can bring so many folks so much stress and anxiety and for what?  If you are one of those people, my advice to you is to sit this one out.  Global pandemic aside, you don’t have to spend your holidays with anyone you don’t want to.  And, you don’t have to give anyone full disclosure that you don’t want to.  I simple, “thank you for the invitation but we’re not going to be able to make it this year” will suffice.  Let’s move on to New Years!

First of all, I want to share with you this Irish New Year’s Eve tradition that I came across.  I have no idea if it’s actually true, but I think it’s awesome anyway.  Supposedly, at the stroke of Midnight, they open their front doors as a way to let the old year out and the new year in.  I freaking love the symbolism of this!  In fact, I may just open every single door and window in my house to make sure that 2020 has left for good!  Second, I’ve been really thinking about my personal growth for the upcoming year and how to be more intentional with my time.  I don’t know about you, but after the shitshow that was 2020, I’m so ready to move on.  It seems like at least once a week I tell Chad that we watch entirely too much television and it wouldn’t hurt us to read more books.  So that’s what I’m doing.  I have rekindled my romance with the library and have been checking out books and actually reading them.  I’ve set a goal for myself to read 50 books in 2021 – I know, I know, that’s pretty lofty but when I think about how much time I spend in front of the TV I think I can accomplish it.  So if you have any book recommendations I’d love to hear them!  Next, I spend a lot of time helping others figure things out and so 2021 is the year for me to spend some time on myself trying to figure things out in my own life.  Things like, what brings me joy?  What doesn’t?  And finding ways to be in a deeper relationship with God.  As I’ve mentioned in previous episodes, I’m a big fan of therapy and I will continue on that journey for the foreseeable future.  It has truly been so helpful these past 5 months.  Let’s be clear, therapy is not for the faint of heart – it requires a lot of self-reflection and the digging up of past experiences and trauma which can be draining in the moment but ultimately empowering.  And the last thing I want to share about the upcoming year is the pivot I’m making in my business.

I think I mentioned a couple of episodes ago that I was considering changing the name of this blog/podcast.  I came to this decision after working with a personal brand coach who told me that the word “adulting” is just too vague because it can mean different things to different people.  While this was something I hadn’t considered before, I totally get it.  Plus, no one in real life calls me CJ, aside from some of my former students so that just doesn’t make sense either.  A while back I reached out to a few folks who know me best and asked them to give me ten words that best describe me and the most common phrase was “gets shit done.” So, I’m leaning toward Getting Shit Done with Kamron.  Haven’t totally decided on that yet, but I’m really digging it, and here’s why.

In 2021 I am offering my services to those nonprofit leaders and other entrepreneurs who are stuck in their businesses and need help with administrative tasks, which they need in order to grow.  I will do one-on-one coaching, intensive training of their newly hired admins or support staff, or for those who haven’t hired anyone yet, I will set up a personalized system that they can hand off to whomever that person may be.  In other words, I’m helping them get shit done so I thought it was only fitting for my show to be called that as well.  One thing I learned in 2020 is that I cannot produce this blog weekly, so I’m moving to releasing episodes every other week.  Some of the upcoming topics include why routines are a good thing, how to ask for help, and my top 5 tools for getting organized.

Finally, I want to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed having you all as readers.  I appreciate every one of you who has left ratings and reviews and I hope you’ve been able to take away some pearls from these last 26 episodes.  My original word for 2020 was momentum, but I really think it ended up being metamorphosis because I’ve grown much more in this year than ever before.  And I believe that has happened in part through the love and support you have shown me.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for coming on this journey with me.  I hope that you can find some comfort and peace during this chaotic time of year and I love you all.

Episode 26: What Christmas Doesn’t Mean To Me and My Plans for the New Year

In this final show of 2020, I’m sharing my thoughts about what Christmas doesn’t mean to me as well as my ideas for 2021.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • What Christmas is going to look like at our house
  • Blood is not thicker than water and what the quote really means
  • A New Year’s Eve tradition
  • How I’m pivoting my business for 2021

Resource mentioned:

Butter Swim Biscuit Recipe

Connect with Me:

Please leave a Rating and Review:

If you enjoyed this episode, I would really appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to do a review on Apple Podcasts.  Reviews on Apple Podcasts are one of the best ways to get the word out about podcasts.

 

What to Expect at Your First Mammogram

What to Expect at Your First Mammogram

Today, I want to share my first mammogram experience with you and what you can expect on your visit.

In case you didn’t know, women 40 and over should begin screening mammograms once a year, unless they’ve had a family history of breast cancer or tested positive for the BRCA gene in which case your doctor will suggest you start getting mammograms earlier than 40.  Screening mammograms are just that, a screening of your breast tissue.  Should those images come back with something troubling, then you’ll have a diagnostic mammogram done to take a different look.

In my case, I chose to go to a diagnostic imaging center, meaning they do all sorts of screenings.  However, you may feel more comfortable going to a breast care clinic – they still do the same testing, but they only do breasts as opposed to all body parts.  Regardless of where you go, you want to choose a place where the employees are concerned about you as the patient rather than their bottom line.  I was pleasantly surprised by how well the Diagnostic Imaging Center prepared me before my visit.  They gave me a list of dos and don’ts as well as a video of what to expect.  For example, you should not wear deodorants or lotions the day of your scans because they look for calcium deposits and certain deodorants and lotions can skew the images.  They also suggested wearing upper body clothing that is easily disrobed.  The most important piece of advice, however, was to stay as relaxed as possible.

As you may have figured out by now, I tend to do most things in life through the lens of humor.  Laughter is the best medicine as they say.  I also tend to use humor to disarm people in tense or stressful situations.  Sometimes, all everyone needs is a good laugh.  So they took me back to a room where I locked up my personal belongings, changed into an upper body gown, and away we went.  The woman responsible for me was amazing.  She was very patient and answered my 10,000 questions.  She explained to me exactly what she was going to do, how the machine worked, and that she would be taking a total of four images, two on each side.  The most important advice she had was to breathe and stay as relaxed as possible.  She said that the more relaxed I was the easier it would be to get my placement just right in the machine which would make for the best scans possible.  My first instruction was to do something with my arm from the gown and I was like, can I just take it off?  I mean, the woman sees boobs all day long and I’m not shy.  So why wrestle with the gown thing when it’s just easier for everyone to be bare?  We get going and she’s telling me how to hold my arms and where to look so I don’t smack my forehead into the plexiglass and then she tells me a pretty good story about how one day she was placing a woman and somehow the woman moved, and she slipped and smacked the lady’s boob with the side of her face.  She apologized to the woman profusely and they both had a pretty good laugh about the whole deal.  All in a day’s work as a mammography tech, right?

You hear horror stories from women about how painful mammograms are, and maybe they were worse when technology wasn’t as good, but I didn’t feel any pain whatsoever with mine.  Pressure, yes.  Pain, no.  Once the scans were done, I went back to the changing room and waited for the radiologist to read the results and report back to me.  Fortunately, everything looked great and the results were classified as benign.  They gave me a short report that included my breast tissue type, my lifetime risk of breast cancer as estimated by the Gail Model which takes into account factors such as the age of your first period, race, pregnancies, etc.  You want that percentage to be under 10% and mine was 11.1%. The reason for this is based on the fact that I have no babies and I’m taking HRT or hormone replacement therapy.  This is why it’s important to have mammograms done on a yearly basis starting at 40.  Because everything was normal, the doctors now have a baseline scan in case something ever comes back abnormal.  Plus, regular mammography helps detect early signs of developing breast cancer so you can treat it right away rather than it growing completely out of control.  What can you do if you are under 40?  Give yourself regular self-breast exams.  The best place to do this is in the shower and what you’re looking for is anything unusual, lumps, bumps, etc.  And make sure you’re checking in your armpits too.  When I was working for the American Cancer Society one thing I found amusing was that quite often, men are the ones finding irregularities in the breasts of women…for obvious reasons, right?  For a while, Hooters hosted events for men that taught them what lumps could feel like which I thought was a brilliant idea and I hope they are still hosting those.

In all seriousness, I know that body part screening is scary to a lot of people.  They think if they don’t get screened then they can’t find anything wrong.  I also know that many people don’t have insurance to cover preventative treatments.  However, there are many organizations out there that can help with the cost of preventative measures and many hospitals host free screening days during certain times of the year.  For example, a lot of places hold free skin cancer screenings in the month of May.  Plus, there are many local healthcare places that operate on a sliding scale that’s based on your income.  Why am I telling you all of this?  Because you really have no excuse to not get your yearly check-ups.  Trust me, your friends and family want you around for as long as possible so don’t let fear keep you from taking care of your health.  And like I always say, you have to be your own advocate for your health because no one is going to do it for you.  Get your questions answered, push back on your doctors, and make them see you as a person, not a statistic.  Or do what I’m about to do and break up with doctors who give you terrible advice or treat you terribly.  Obviously, I’m willing to let a bit of bedside manner fall to the wayside for a doctor who is highly intelligent.  However, there’s lacking bedside manners and then there’s straight-up jackwagon.  You don’t have time in your life for a jackwagon.  Doctors are humans and sometimes they need a little reminder that they are in fact humans, as are you.  And in case you didn’t know, if you ever come across a doctor, nurse, or any staff that behaves badly, you can always report them to the customer service department of the hospital they work for, and in cases of extremely inappropriate behavior, a lawyer.  For the most part, I believe that doctors go into medicine because they want to help people but just like everyone else, sometimes life circumstances get in the way and all they need is a little nudge to remind them what they are there to do.

 

Episode 25: What to Expect at Your First Mammogram

Today I’m sharing with you my mammogram experience and what you can expect on your first one.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • Screening vs. Diagnostic mammogram
  • How to get the best scans possible
  • Why it’s important to get your yearly screenings
  • What to do if you don’t have insurance

Connect with Me:

Please leave a Rating and Review:

If you enjoyed this episode, I would really appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to do a review on Apple Podcasts.  Reviews on Apple Podcasts are one of the best ways to get the word out about podcasts.

 

A Look Ahead…

A Look Ahead…

Last week I celebrated my 40th birthday!  It’s funny, I had no problem turning 30 because I felt like people would start to take me more seriously and I was celebrating the fact that I survived my 20s considering all the really dumb things I did in that decade.  However, I’m not gonna’ lie, last night I was seriously mourning my 30s.  But then when I was on my morning walk, I started thinking about how it really does me no good to dwell on the past because I can’t change it.  And while there were some fun things that happened in my 30s like competing in my first quartet, joining a new chorus, and moving to a new city, there were also some really terrible things like two major surgeries that all but wrecked my body and a new virus that was introduced to the world that’s killed a ton of people.  So rather than have a pity party I’ve decided my time would be better spent looking to the future.  And in the words of Doc Brown in Back to the Future II, “no one’s future has been decided yet and it is what you make of it.” Today, I want to share with you some of the things I’m doing to ensure my future is as bright as I can make it.  After all, this is the blog about adulting, so might as well talk about what it means to “adult” at 40.

First, I’ve been seriously dreading getting a mammogram.  It’s probably going to suck, but there are worse things than getting your breasts smooshed…you know, like getting breast cancer.  But when you think about it, how amazing is it that we even have the technology to detect any sort of cancer cells?  Think about all of the women who died from breast cancer who didn’t even know it because they had no way of knowing.  In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer is 90% which is the average.  But when you look at the localized number, meaning it hasn’t spread outside the breast, is 99%!  I’d definitely call that a win. My mammogram is scheduled in two weeks so if you are 40 and over, you need to get yours and also remember to self-breast exams at least once a month.

Next, if you don’t know how I feel about skincare, you should go back and check out episode 6 of my podcast where I interview Casey Crocker, aka my sister, about all things skincare.  The short version is that if you do nothing else, wear your sunscreen!  I know it’s not something you really think about when you’re young, but trust me, sun damage takes years to show up.  I had some seriously bad burns when I was in my teens and twenties that I so wish I could go back and change because I’m just now starting to see the effects of sun damage on my face in the form of texture on my nose, and dark spots on my forehead.  And never, never, never, ever go to bed in your makeup.  This is a huge no-no and let’s be honest, completely gross.  Not only are you leaving dirt and other crap on your skin, but you’re also spreading it to your pillow as well.  If you’re experiencing breakouts, I’d start there.  For a place to find routines and product information, you can check out Casey’s Facebook group called Beauty, Skincare, Science & You.  If you’re taking a social media break, then I suggest checking out The Ordinary.  You can purchase what you need via Ulta, but I recommend checking out their actual website. They do a great job of explaining how everything works and they advise against buying all the products.  Also, everything is 23% off for the whole month of November!  And no, I’m not an affiliate, I just love their products because you know exactly what you’re getting and it’s extremely affordable.

Third on my list is therapy.  In previous articles, I’ve shared with you what it’s been like on my intuitive eating journey.  It all started when I got bad news about my blood pressure and ridiculously high cholesterol.  After reading the Intuitive Eating book and working through the workbook, I decided that it was time to actually hire a therapist who specializes in intuitive eating.  However, she’s been so much more than that.  I realized that my disordered eating had nothing to do with the types of foods I eat, but from the diet culture nonsense I’d been fed all my life as well as trauma from my past.  The hardest part is accepting that the intuitive eating process is non-linear, which can be extremely frustrating.  It’s not easy making a paradigm shift when all you’ve ever heard is how restriction is the only way to be healthy.  Therapy is not for the faint of heart because it gets ugly some days. It’s difficult to drudge up past trauma, but I truly feel like it’s the only way to heal the past in order to make better choices for the future.  Plus, let’s be honest, 2020 has been a dumpster fire of epic proportions so if you’ve been contemplating seeing a therapist, I highly recommend it because it works and because your mental health is vital to achieving all over health.

Next on the list is about finances.  If you take nothing else away from this post, take this.  It is never too late to start saving for retirement.  Set a monthly budget and start with the 10/10/80 rule, which is how to break down your paycheck.  10% to charity, 10% to savings, 80% to live on.  Start contributing to your 401k if your company allows for it.  Find ways to pay down debt – I’m a huge supporter of the Dave Ramsey method and you can watch his stuff for free on YouTube.  Hire a financial planner who will help take you through the paces of wealth-building.  There are a number of ways to control your money rather than it controlling you.  And remember, money is like food, it’s amoral meaning it’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is.

Last on the list is I want to share with you about my newest adventure.  As you know, I left corporate America a year ago to start my own business.  And it’s been one of the most challenging years yet because there are all these gurus out there telling you how to do everything which makes it really difficult to figure out who’s right and who’s full of shit.  Pardon my language.  For me, I want to align myself with those who are ethical, have proven results, and a positive message they send out into the world.  When I started on this path, I started a virtual assistant business and now it’s moving into more of a coaching and training avenue for nonprofits who are looking to hire administrative assistants or already have them in place and need training for them.  Originally, I set my word for 2020 as momentum, but what it’s turned out to be is metamorphosis.  And this is what happens in life.  We start out thinking it’s going to go one way and then it ends up going in a completely different direction.  And while growing pains aren’t always fun, they are necessary in order to make change happen.  While I’m still planning to cover topics related to adulting on this podcast, I’m contemplating changing the name and moving in a slightly different direction.  Regardless of the title, I still plan to bring you relevant content that I believe will be beneficial to you no matter where you’re at in your walk of life.  Stay tuned for more information on that.

Here’s what I want to leave you with today.  Whilst we were all super excited for 2020 and this new decade, so far, it hasn’t turned out exactly as we’d hoped.  And while we face a lot of uncertainty, it’s never too late to say a kind word to a neighbor, to perform random acts of kindness for your fellow man, or to take time to reflect on how we can each become better versions of ourselves and humans in general.

Episode 24: A Look Ahead…

In this episode, I’m sharing with you my thoughts on turning 40 and how I’m choosing to look ahead rather than behind.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • Scheduling your mammogram
  • Taking care of your skin
  • Why I feel therapy is important
  • Saving for retirement
  • My newest adventure

Resources mentioned:

Connect with Me:

Please leave a Rating and Review:

If you enjoyed this episode, I would really appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to do a review on Apple Podcasts.  Reviews on Apple Podcasts are one of the best ways to get the word out about podcasts.

 

Final Thoughts on Leadership

Final Thoughts on Leadership

Over the last several weeks I’ve taken a look at a few topics about leadership that are near and dear to my heart and I hope that you’ve been able to find some good takeaways to apply to your life.  Whether you’re a leader, manager, parent, whatever, I feel like there’s something in there for everyone.

When it comes down to it, in order to be a great leader, you have to be great at relationships.  Now, of course, there’s a long list of attributes that makes for a great leader, but if you have no idea how to connect with people, regardless if you’re an introvert or extrovert, then you will have no followers.  And what’s the basic definition of a leader?  Someone who has followers of course!

I want to leave you with a final thought on leadership.  This is not going to be easy for many of you.  Especially for those of you like me who just really want to help others.  As a leader, if you are trying to develop leadership in adults, you have to get used to not helping.  Chances are, you work with an amazing group of people who are incredibly talented.  So, get out of their way and let them do their jobs.  This is a challenge for me because my brain is really good at figuring out systems and processes and so it’s hard to not dive in and tell everyone how to do something.  Who knows?  Maybe their way is better than mine, but I’d never know it because I’m in the way.  Your role as a leader is to be there if needed.  This is also hard when your team gets stuck.  If you are trying to build leadership skills in your team, then you have to stop yourself from jumping in and fixing problems.  Now, if you are working with teenagers or young adults, you have a bit more leeway because chances are, those folks just don’t have the experience yet and need some guidance.

This is partly why when I was teaching in the traditional classroom that I loved and also hated rubrics.  Rubrics can be the death of creativity.  Yes, there were those students who wanted to know exactly what was required (admittedly, I was one of them) and when I wouldn’t give that to them, they struggled really hard to get projects done and had 10,000 questions.  It truly breaks my heart to see creativity stolen away from students through the use of rubrics because it’s cuts corners on critical thinking.  I believe this is why so many Gen Z struggle in their first jobs.  School beat the creativity out of them and instead they were told exactly how to perform every task if they wanted that A so when they get out into the real world, they don’t know how to do work on their own.  Another reason that we should do away with grades, but that’s a topic for another day.

The point is, as a leader, sometimes you have to step back and let the chips fall as they may.  If you’re always doing to the work for your team, how will they ever learn to do it for themselves?  You have to be ok letting them “fail” so that they can pick up the pieces and start again.  It’s how ingenuity happens.  It’s also how team synergy happens.  You can’t always force the creative process as much as you might like to.  Finally, stop waiting for or expecting perfection.  It doesn’t exist.  If you are the type of leader who requires perfection out of your team, you’ll soon find you’ll be a team of one.

Let’s wrap this series up!  Here are the key takeaways:

  • Great leaders have integrity, are honest, and humble
  • Get to know yourself and your team
    • How do you work?
    • How do they work?
    • What motivates them?
    • What motivates you?
  • If you’re stuck in a toxic work relationship or environment, it’s time to move on – life is too short for you to be unhappy.
  • Looking to find a mentor or how to become one? Go back and listen to my interviews with Sheri Hart
  • Get used to not helping – even when you really really want to
  • And finally, when life’s challenges get tough remember that some things are just “over the L”

Episode 23: My Barbershop Journey

In this episode, I’m introducing you to my experience with barbershop music.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • Where it all started
  • What it means to compete in a chorus or quartet
  • How I ended up in Kansas City with Vocal Standard

Resources:

Vocal Standard Chorus
Vocal Standard on FB

Connect with Me:

Please leave a Rating and Review:

If you enjoyed this episode, I would really appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to do a review on Apple Podcasts.  Reviews on Apple Podcasts are one of the best ways to get the word out about podcasts.

 

How to Become a Mentor with Sheri Hart

How to Become a Mentor with Sheri Hart

On the podcast last week, I interviewed my good friend Sheri Hart for round two of the topic of mentorship.  Sheri is an Associate Connections Director in Performance Content at VMLY&R. VMLY&R is a global brand experience agency made up of nearly 7,000 employees worldwide, with one of its principal offices located in Kansas City.

Sheri has been a leader of people for more than 10 years, and her passion is making sure that there is grace that allows for humanity in the workplace.  Here are the takeaways from that interview:

What made you want to start mentoring?

Like many people, I was introduced to the idea in the workplace. While I wasn’t always in a “people leader” type role when I first started out, I found that there were a lot of situations where I found myself listening to what others were dealing with and wanting to help. A lot of times people can find their own solutions just by discussing their problem out loud, and I enjoyed spending time listening and looking for questions to help guide them along the way. But you have to make yourself approachable or people won’t even think about starting a conversation in the first place.

Later in my career as I was promoted into roles where I had Direct Reports, it became my job to manage them, but I found that by not just doing the requisite reviews that the company requires, I really get joy from the opportunity to build relationships and extend the topics we were covering to broaden the process beyond Managing to Leading.

If someone is looking to be a Mentor, what steps should they take to make that happen?

Honestly, some things you can’t MAKE it happen. But for the most part, it is about building relationships and being a good role model or example in the workplace or whatever field that you want to be known in. People will tend to migrate your way if they see you modeling empathy, doing good work, and being good on your word. Trust is a huge factor. If people see you as trustworthy, they are so much more likely to feel comfortable opening up and discussing what can be some personal topics. Feedback can be difficult for many, trust is key.

If you’re moving this direction because you have direct reports, set up a formal structure. I typically meet with people for an hour each month, formally, and then whenever they ask if I have a minute we can find some time to talk if something more immediate comes up.

Things to consider:

This is THEIR career or situation….they should be the owners of the time. Think of it like they are driving the car, you are the GPS. Help guide them through the conversation, providing “are you supposed to turn here?” or “you might want to make a U-Turn here”…along the way.

That sounds great, but how do you do that?

As for them being the drivers, let them know that they are responsible for bringing the agenda to each meeting. It can be a certain situation they want to discuss or general questions that they have, so nothing major…but they can’t just sit down and expect you to make it all happen for them.

As for guiding….I find it is all about asking the right questions. I try to never ask a question that can be answered with “yes” “no” or “fine”. It’s the difference between saying “How are you?”, which can easily be answered with “fine” and the conversation stops, and saying “What is going well?” and letting them search their thoughts to provide any small wins they might have had.

So, clearly, questions and seeking more information are a key piece of the puzzle…what other things do you look to have in your toolbox?

There are a ton of different assessments and activities you can explore to either help you understand your mentee better as well as help them understand themselves.

Not the least of which is the Enneagram test which you have explored on your podcast and in your blog.

There is the old standard Myers-Briggs. There are free versions out there and a lot of content available on how to read and understand the various types. I’m an ENJF….but the N and J are flexible…the E and F are NOT. J These things are helpful to know if you were going to be mentoring me.

I use a short list I created with the different types of things that motivate people to explore what drives them. Do they love public praise or does that mortify them?  Are they driven by how much money they make or what benefits are provided? (PS…that’s not a bad thing and it’s OK if that’s your answer.) It just makes a difference in the types of goals you set and the type of workplace you may be looking for.

I have a list of, I think 16 different motivators….we go through them together and rank them. It doesn’t mean that the 16th thing on the list doesn’t matter, it just means less than the one they ranked as #1. Those things help me know what they can be doing to find those things in their career, as well as what I should focus on when given them positive reinforcement or guidance.

For example, I’m a “celebrate every victory, no matter how small” kind of person, but someone else might think tiny wins are nothing, they just want the big GOAL. Neither of us is right or wrong, but it’s helpful information to have as I work to provide leadership for them.

There are also exercises about writing your own personal mantra or finding your core values. Again, some people respond to these exercise with enthusiasm, and some would rather poke themselves in the eye with a fork than go through them, so you can’t just blow in with all of them and overwhelm with your “toolkit”, but it’s helpful to have a lot of them so that you find the right mix for each individual.

It’s a lot to think about, what would be your final thoughts on Being a Mentor?

I guess one additional thought would be that while you are a mentor and a guide, unless you are trained to do so, you are not a mental health expert. If someone is dealing with something serious and needs help, your role is not to try to fix that, but to help them find the resources to do so.

Mostly, that it’s not about YOU. It’s about THEM.

But, that if you find yourself with an opportunity to be a mentor, you will find that it is highly rewarding for you as well and that sometimes you’ll have a session where you learn way more than they do.

To hear the entire episode, go to www.adultingwithcj.com/podcast/021.

Episode 22: Final Thoughts on Leadership

In today’s episode, I’m wrapping up my short series on leadership and leaving you with my final thoughts.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • How to stop helping
  • Why rubrics kill creativity
  • Key takeaways from the series

 

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