The rest of that wonderful quote, which closes the Accidental Creative podcast, is “you need to find your unique voice if you want to thrive.” The Crone in the Corner Office is one year old this week. When I started writing I made a commitment to myself that I would complete fifty blog posts and post one each week (allowing for a vacation with My Most Wonderful Husband).
The first nine were torture, but I knew they would be. Each, less than 1000 words, was created over hours, and often included tears, laugh-out-loud memories and the occasional pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby. I had nine in my back pocket before I posted the first, preparing beforehand for the writer’s block I was sure would come.
It never came. But my topics have bounced around, never quite settling on a theme that would define what I was trying to say. I found I wrote more on gender issues than I ever intended, surprising myself when I dug into some of the psychological, sociological and managerial research on women in the workplace and the unconscious bias and the additional burdens they – nay we – must address to succeed.
I found myself thinking more and more about how our actions at work reflect our values, from refusing to return calls from people who “aren’t important” to showing up late for meetings or, on a more positive note, giving someone the benefit of the doubt and seeing that person as an individual and not just as an employee and how all of those actions shape a company’s culture.
I dwelled on my own fears, inadequacies and mistakes, trying to explain, with hindsight, that a gentler, active examination of one’s fears and shortcomings is more productive than waiting for those shortcomings to set up a hidden trip wire when we least expect it.
Like most people do when they see more of life behind them then ahead of them, I railed against age and age stereotypes, at the same time taking long walks down memory lane. How many bloggers do you read who have referred to the Golden Girls and Jessica Fletcher in separate posts?
I jumped in with both feet, admitting that it was scary for me to change careers, and, if you picked me as your coach to help you change career direction, I didn’t have any easy answers for you. Instead I offered hard work, tough questions and, if all else failed, I offered to read your draft obituary. Talk about marketing expertise! I guess I should be glad my reputation hasn’t gone viral!
The hardest stories I wrote this year mourned the deaths of two friends. Each of those posts was hard to write. I wrote about the death of Judy through sobs (“We Met at Work,” http://www.motherwellresources.com/2016/09/we-met-at-work/). I had tried to speak with her for weeks but was unable to get through and I was afraid she died thinking that I had abandoned her.
Writing about Dan’s death brought up complex emotions, fitting because Dan was such a complex man. (“Work: The Great Equalizer,”
http://www.motherwellresources.com/2016/10/work-the-great-equalizer/). Dan was brave and funny and difficult and made me want to be better than I am. I hope my essay honored him.
Throughout this year I have been grateful to my readers, some perfect strangers who have left kind comments that have moved me to tears, some dear friends who have supported my baby steps with love and support and cheerleading, and most importantly, sharing.
I wrote my very first blog post about my greatest failure as a leader and then described my reasons for writing the blog: “Welcome to The Crone in the Corner Office, a blog reflecting what I learned about management and leadership over the course of my career, including the 13 + years as the CEO of an information services company. I have chosen to focus on the painful lessons, the personal blind spots, and the times where I needed to look inside myself and face a truth that I did not want to see. I am going to try to write about my actual experiences in addressing business challenges that my management textbooks didn’t quite describe.” http://www.motherwellresources.com/2016/06/who-needs-another-leadership-blog/
I have decided to take a break from a weekly blog post and think deeply about the themes that I want to continue to address. I know I’ve had to cover so many topics to begin to find my voice. I hope come September I can write something that my readers will find authentic and interesting.
“I have absorbed my life now. I am ready for my music to unfold. I know time flies, but before the end of this year, the album will be out. Even if it kills me.”