So, deep down, I’m competitive. And impatient. Competitive and impatient. I angle my cart at the grocery store for the fastest register. I want to be the first off the line at a green light. I have never let a kid win a board game on purpose…(don’t judge).
In other words, I am all too familiar with the urge to grab an opportunity that might, somehow, put me in a position to be ahead. But lately I am wondering where this has gotten me besides totally stressed out and glared at. And, actually, I hate the automatic separation it creates– a me against you. A winner or a loser. Power.
Of course, there are plenty of societal examples of the value of this mindset– unprecedented fantastic feats or broken records– but it still seems only fueled by adrenaline and singularity and loses track of the common good. Does it have to be the glory for one only means diminishment for all the rest?
Earlier this month, based on the idea from Ben and Roz Zander’s book The Art of Possibility, I asked each person on my team to write a letter now, in January of 2019, dated December 31, 2019 reflecting back on what they had accomplished in the year we just had. A bit of a daunting task to stand on the very precipice of a nascent collection of minutes, hours, days ahead and comment on anticipated outcomes. Here with nothing yet before us, the exercise asked that we muster up the imaginings of the best and the worst in mastery of an undaunted spirit. Rather than armor up, tuck in, and run to the finish line, what would it be like to see what we might dare make possible?
Well it turns out: Ruthless compassion. Radical transparency. Ferocious accountability. My words for what I found inside each and every letter. A competitive impatience for sure, not with the external world but rather with a restlessness in coming to terms with self and with expectations of our work teams. “Good enough” just slid out the back door in defeat.
I came into my own this year. I built a certainty in my confidence since January. I constantly asked why and didn’t accept the first answer. I asked my colleagues to support my growth and learning and that held me accountable. I took computer classes that gave me different tools as a manager. I practiced being a good listener and so I started to hear. I honored my motto “we are born not for ourselves but to help others”.
Here’s the thing; I’m pretty sure if you asked any one of us if we are competitive you would receive a “hell yes!” But all of that competitive energy is getting poured into projects and processes and systems; simply us getting better as individuals and as a team. Our competitive natures need an outlet, a tangible representation, a win!
Welcome to an F.H. Perry Builder job site, every day, all year long. Your crazy, technical, modern design? Your need for a job where you can seamlessly deliver your craft? Your dream house? Raise that bar, ask for more, push our nagging competitive impatience because, well, if you don’t we have nowhere to bring our fierce resolve or our promises that we made to ourselves in our Future Letters.
I invite you to join our company in this exercise. Tell us what 2019 was for you. Tell us who you ought to be and we will load up our grocery carts with determination and meet you at the check-out line. You can go first.
Here’s to the future!