“Professional is not a label you give yourself. It’s a description you hope others will apply to you.”

“Professional is not a label you give yourself. It’s a description you hope others will apply to you.”

—David Maister, former Harvard Business School professor

If you say something positive about yourself, it is referred to as bragging. If others say similar things about you, it is considered the truth.

What do the people at work and in your career efforts have to say about you? How are you perceived and how do these perceptions compare and contrast from your own?

What would you like others to say and how do your words and deeds warrant such acknowledgment and praise?

EXERCISE:

Seek feedback from a small group of trusted colleagues. Let them reveal the unique abilities, superpowers, and best qualities they see in you. Ask them also about your weaknesses, and the limiting blind spots that may be holding you back from the professional levels you desire.

Thank them for their candid and generous perspective, and promise to act on their wise council.

For extra credit, consider a similar exercise with family and friends.

Feel free to reply to this post to let me know what you discover and how it impacts your life.

Everyone is a moon

“Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”

—Mark Twain, in Following the Equator

Image of a full moon in a volatile sky

Image from Unsplash by Brooke Lark

Did you know that when you look up at the night sky and view a full moon you are seeing exactly what every other human – and for that matter, every other creature on Earth – has viewed for millennium?

Based on the rotational speed of the moon and the position of the Earth and Sun, we only get to see one-half of the moon’s surface.

People are like the moon, in that they often only present the sunny side of themselves. We sometimes tend to keep our dark side – including our weaknesses, fears, and perceived imperfections – hidden from view.

EXERCISE:

How might an exploration of your dark side, and perhaps revealing it to those you trust, create new opportunities and possibilities for you over (at least) the next lunar cycle?

A Strong Foe

“A strong foe is better than a weak friend.”

—Edward Dahlberg, 20th Century American Novelist

Image of The Joker from Batman

Image from tomztoyz.blogspot.com

Most of us have heard the idea that we are a product of the five people with which we associate the most.

If these individuals happen to be weak friends, we may wish to make a few adjustments.

Unfortunately, weakness in those around us often causes us to become complacent and even a bit lazy, given that the bar of success is relatively low.

Strong foes and even adversaries challenge us to rise to compete with ourselves, if not them, to become a far better version of ourselves.

EXERCISE:

How can you use the example of your most challenging foe to thrive and grow, professionally and personally? How can and will you surround yourself with a much stronger set of friends to support your efforts?