Bring your whole self to work.
“Obviously Leah, what else would I do?”
It might sound obvious. And of course I don’t mean that you leave your feet at home or your knee caps or something. I mean bring all the parts of you…body, mind, spirit.
A little story…
I worked with a guy several years ago who has some stuff going on in his personal life that really disrupted his ability to deliver. His manager said to me “He needs to leave that shit at home, and get his work done.”
I was stunned. He really believed this could be done. I said “How does that work? Does he only badge in with the parts we need to get product developed and then pick up his divorce and custody battle on his way back to the car at night?”
Now he was the stunned one. “Is that what he’s going through?”
We can work side by side with someone each day and not know what they are struggling with. It can be family stuff. It can be financial troubles. It can be physical pain. They can be having a crisis of faith or struggling with mental illness.
That, my friends, is the cost of being human. It is also part of being a human on a team with humans. And it definitely is part of being a human leading humans.
We are not one-dimensional automatons for 10 hours a day and then go back to having feelings. Our brains are processing joy, trauma, fear, hope, longing, uncertainty…all the feels…all the time. It’s kind of stunning we still achieve what we do.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard…but our customers are whole humans too. Yes, we might be touching only one aspect of their lives but they are whole entire people with a broad range of feelings…and when we bring our whole selves to what we do, we can actually create something that solves a real problem for them.
By all means…find the resources you need to deal with life. Doctors, therapists, accountants, lawyers, spiritual advisors…these people have an important role to play. Don’t ask your team members to be these people for you.
But…definitely find yourself a team where you can be yourself. Be ambitious. Build cool shit. And bring your whole self