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
Normal guy with comedic tendencies... introverted with extroverted tendencies... yogi with stressful tendencies... over 30 years old with under 30 year old tendencies