Recently, my husband bought me a leadership assessment with coaching session for Christmas. If you know me, this was a gift that spoke my love language…much like my Glock 43 that awaited me under the Christmas tree the year before. I took the Hogan Assessment online and had to rate a series of statements as to whether they are like me or not like me. Then I had a coaching session with Jamey Gadoury from Outsider Consulting a few days later. This was my first time doing a coaching session and letting someone see my insides. Looking in the mirror is a humbling experience. I’m not as great as I think I am! Ugh! But if I was truly being honest with myself, there was nothing in the outcome of my leadership assessment that I did not already realize deep down. So, after the reality slap to the face—it was time to get down to work.
I love it when people say “I could do that” about someone who is successful. See, but you didn’t. That’s the difference. I saw this picture quote on my Facebook feed this week and it got me thinking about the power of getting it done and not just talking about it. I don’t know if anyone out there suffers with the same issue as me on this—but sometimes I’m afraid to act because I won’t be in control of the outcome, or it may be messy and not “perfect”. I can control the here and now—in my safe comfortable bubble. But once I act, the ball is in motion and the horse is out of the gate. I cannot un-ring the bell.
Driving back from vacation with my family last summer I had a strange conversation with my wife. For the first time in my 28-year law enforcement career I wasn’t sure if I still liked being a cop. Let me give you a little context to help you understand exactly what was going through my mind when the uncertainty struck me.
I’ve got this stack of Fast Company hard copies that I’m slowly working through. Very slowly. I was in a 2014 issue, and a blurb by Stephanie Vozza caught my eye. She shared ways to make meetings better, faster, and more fun. Under “Faster,” she shared author Dick Axelrod’s idea of “asking participants to share what they need to do or say to be fully attentive.” Good stuff.
I used to work at a company with a similar practice. Before meetings and workshops, we’d ask what the “needs and expectations” were. This did two things. It allowed the group leader to understand where participants were mentally, and thereby engage with them more effectively. It also jumpstarted the engagement process by inviting participants to share something personal up front.
In a wildly popular TED TALK, Shawn Achor explains that a brain that is happy is 30% more effective than a brain that is negative, neutral or stressed. Put into context, this means that when you are in a happy state of mind things in your world get accomplished more efficiently and effectively. In addition to these improvements, you start to enjoy your work in a very different way. If all these things are possible with happiness, the question then becomes; what does happy look like and how do we get there?
On Wednesday November 16,2016, I was fortunate to be working WINx 2016. A premier event featuring speakers from around the United States to provide thoughtful insight to influence the now and next generation of law enforcement leaders. At the event, I saw many influential leaders, the Director of Illinois State Police, local Chiefs, Deputy Chiefs and Commanders and others in supervisory positions in law enforcement. Many are acquaintances and a few are friends. All have some degree of influence in law enforcement at the local, state or national level.
In reflecting on my 28 years as a law enforcement officer it’s easy to focus on the ugly, messy, dangerous things that happened during my career—especially when so much is being debated about our profession on social media and in the main stream media. But for me and the legacy I want to leave behind, I need to focus on the positives and so do you.
Legacy is often thought of as what you leave behind when you die. But legacy is something you build every day of your career and your life.
Hanging on the wall in my office is a large print with a portion of President Theodore Roosevelt’s Citizenship in a Republic speech delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris France in 1910. Most people recognize the speech by a section commonly known as The Man In The Arena.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.