How Portland’s best tacos and business operations sparked my journey for reaching my fullest potential...
A few years ago I sat by myself in my new found favorite taco spot (shout out to Por que No) having a second round of guac and chips along with a pineapple margarita as my flight was delayed. In a buzzed reflection, I began to realize I had accomplished one of the defining moments of my early career. After traveling back and forth from Boston to Portland, OR for three out of five weeks this particular spring/summer, I fell in love with a city, the people and really this way of being. It was my sweet spot of passion, fulfillment and responsibility.
I took on a leadership role and executed against a plan that I helped build. I was responsible for something and made an impact. Not knowing at the time, this would shape my purpose and vision today. What I knew subconsciously back then is that I have the ability to make an impact. When I believe in myself, I am powerful and authentically make a difference.
When I say make a difference, I didn’t realize the impact I have in meeting and interacting with people. It wasn’t easy and by no means was the job complete, however, I grew more as a person and employee than any other stretch of my career. We get surrounded by lessons with people each day, each minute almost. Each time is an opportunity to learn something about ourselves in how we either react or don’t.
This period of my life sparked a fire about finding my purpose by not settling and reaching my fullest potential.
Two things I’ve invested a majority of my time in and experience in my life are Business Operations and Personal Development. It dawned on me that Personal Development is as important to a person as Business Operations is to a company… in my opinion. I have a bias being an Ops person for nearly a decade now and a lifelong personal developer. As a firm believer of both being extremely valuable/essential, it really hit me that they are very similar in how they contribute to the greater purpose.
If you aren’t clear, Business Operations is how an organization functions. It’s about system tools, people and overall health of the business and how it “operates”. Within that, there are processes and efficiencies. Personal Development is also about maximizing potential, creating awareness and more efficient ways to resolve challenges in life.
I remember first being introduced to “Ops” and diving in and really loved the idea of building this perfect plan to make things efficient and clear and optimized. Or solving a problem with a creative solution and creating an amazing process. What I quickly realized was my love for the plan was rarely aligned with others feelings about my plan. Early on I didn’t understand why others weren’t excited about the possibility of creating a “better” way to do things. I felt that the result was important where senior leadership saw the value. Yet getting people to align was often very challenging.
How was this similar to Personal Development? Business Operations is about efficiencies, yet it takes investment, time, energy, money and support in order to see the result. Which by the way may come but not right away or at all in some cases. UNLESS you are bought into the process, you have constant evaluations, checking to see what’s working, what’s not. It’s fluent where it requires time, effort and new strategies to really break old patterns and processes that either isn't working and/or need an upgrade to adjust to where the person/business is at in terms of growth. The two are the same in the sense that the more you put in the more you get out. Finding that balance of good enough is the challenge. Perfect being the enemy of good as a mentor once told me.
As I paid my bill in Portland little did I realize that my life would be forever changed. Had I not been exposed to this experience of being a leader, in an area I’ve become an expert i.e. the person in the room that know most about a particular subject. I probably wouldn’t have started to open my eyes the possibility of reaching my fullest potential, or at least not for a while. What was really powerful was realizing that my mind operates in the gray area of business and of life. Not many people think in this way and even less voice their opinion about it. It’s not flashy or easy… yet it’s the foundation of setting myself up for success.
“Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.” - Winston Churchill
How many times have you gone “all in” and started something with the intention to never slow down? And when you do slow down you beat yourself up? And then you feel like you ruined the momentum and there’s no point in picking it back up because you’ve wasted time?
If this is you… It’s OK! You are not alone.
My intention with starting a blog on personal development was really about expressing and sharing my story to empower others. I got caught up in the mechanics of needing to post at specific times and if I didn’t it was inefficient. I know I’ve made an impact and that I’m living my vision based on feedback I’ve received. These past few months have been so incredibly powerful. However, I’ve had such a difficult time actually sitting down and reflecting on what I normally would reflect on. I completed a really big milestone last month and jumped right back into the fire without taking a break. I had been in this mindset that if I do X, then Y is going to suffer so I was continuously letting different areas of my life suffer at the expense of being obligated/loyal to others. I created results that have excited me yet have impacted my daily, weekly and monthly routines, causing them to fall to the side. Living in a new way of being intentional with my actions, I’ve accelerated growth in both leadership and starting fresh has instilled a new sense of focus and purpose.
Having said all this what has been coming up as a theme for me is creating win/win or “both and” as a few of my coaches and trainers have coined. For me, I thought for a long time that I am limited in my amount of time, energy, money, love, etc. that I am able to give out. If I put my energy into one thing then I’m taking away from another. And that mindset has really created such limiting beliefs, not allowing me to even entertain the possibility of having both. Hence, why such a long break in blogs. To be clear... the break I’ve taken has been intentional in the sense that I created a block for myself where I’ve been attached to the result of quality and not just doing things to check a box. What hasn’t been intentional is falling back into a mindset of “either or”. Instead of being focused on a few things I shifted to be focused on a lot of things. What happened was being open and focused on more things created being closed off to the possibility that other areas got to suffer. I’m sure many people can relate… think of parents who chose work over family. Or vice versa parents who chose to stay at home and raise children over pursuing dreams/career. Neither is right or wrong however both stand that one has to suffer over the other.
I know when I have a lot going on and things start to flow traditionally I’ve chased that “feeling” of being accomplished and relied on that as momentum to fuel my drive. This has caused me to cut corners and not do my best work because I’m focused on the result instead of my way of being. If I’m checking boxes to check boxes my work is going to suffer. I’ve made huge strides here and I’m not perfect and the awareness of being able to catch myself and shift has been such a gift. I’ve set my foundation and have prepared for what I get to execute on and know it’s not going to be perfect. I get to be OK with that. I’m not intending for screw ups but if I’m unable to be confident and flow and be creative then I’m doing myself a disservice.
I’m excited that I’ve created a support network, structure and vision for my next phase of where I get to take my passions and career and life. Now is the fun part, I get to put action into place on the plan. And in order to be successful in this I get to continue to practice creating “both and” because if I’m letting other areas of my life suffer at the expense of creating success in other areas I’m not setting myself up to win in the long run.
I invite you to create “both and” in your life as well. This doesn’t mean signing up for everything under the sun. It means be open to all possibilities that by creating a state of mind of being able to do it all, things will fall into place. Maybe not how you envision them however that’s where you get to not be attached to the result. It might mean that you get support or you get to do a smaller portion of what you wanted. Not to sacrifice one part of your life in order to serve the other. Living in the possibility of being open to being able to negotiate what you want and if you can’t make that happen by being in that mindset I am open to
Going forward, you can count on at least 2 blogs per month. With very well thought out content that will support you the reader in your own personal development journey! I’m excited to continue to share and empower others to grow.
Normal guy with comedic tendencies... introverted with extroverted tendencies... yogi with stressful tendencies... over 30 years old with under 30 year old tendencies