I was the first woman to hold the title of COO for my previous employer and held the longest tenure in the role. In the technology world, that’s kind of a big deal. But almost a year ago, I quit.
I decided I could be more fulfilled by helping other companies, leveraging the experiences I had gained up to that point in my life and career.
I wanted an opportunity to not have to play along with corporate politics. I wanted an opportunity where I would be the only thing in my way, not anyone else. And I wanted an opportunity to feel what it is like to take a big, huge, giant risk. So I did it. I went out on my own.
As I look back on this year and look forward to coming years, I realize there a few key things I’ve learned that keep me happy in what I am doing. Rest assured, I am not sharing my list as motivation for people to make the leap I made. I share because some of these realizations may help make you happier right where you are.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
And it really is (mostly) all small stuff. Whether you are fuming about a little jab from a manager or a co-worker who dropped the ball, remind yourself that it really doesn’t matter. Don’t get caught up in it. Do good work and keep moving forward.
It’s not what you say, it’s what you do
In the corporate world it is easy to get caught up in worrying about what others think of you. But I see, more clearly than ever, it’s not about impressing “the boss.” It’s about being authentic and transparent and delivering against your commitments.
Help a sister out
I continue to be amazed by the generosity of others. In my younger days, I was afraid to ask for help when I was in over my head. But I learned, over time, that asking for help and giving a helping hand not only benefits you, but the other person as well. Pay it forward when you can.
Flexibility is addicting
Being on my own, I am just as busy, but twice as productive. Why? I can control when I work and how I work. And I don’t take that for granted. If you have a team, be brave, trusting and find ways to provide this powerful flexibility to them.
Put your health first
Mental and physical sacrifices can come with corporate life. You need to make sure you take time for you. Health and work don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
At the end of the day, don’t let your job define you. Figure out what you need to be happy and healthy and go for it!