I just returned from Las Vegas where I facilitated a firm leaders conference. It is an annual event where a group of partners from around the U.S. meet to discuss leadership in their firms and confer with each other for advice and guidance. It was an exceptional conference and one that inspired and equipped them to move the needle in their firms.
One of the exercises had each person rate their level of career satisfaction and explain their selection. As you can imagine, their estimations were all over the board, from very low (barf every morning) to very high (livin’ the dream). At the conclusion of the conference, they identified what they wanted to accomplish in the next year.
Reflecting on the two days together and having known them for over a decade, I observed that their careers have waxed and waned over time. Some years were great; other years not so much. You can learn a few lessons from their experience.
Lesson 1. Enjoy it when things go well and don’t overreact when things don’t go well. Regardless of where you are now, it will likely move the other way. Nothing stays the same. So take a breath and keep everything in the long term perspective.
Lesson 2. Take charge of what you can control, strategize how you can influence, and accept that some things aren’t going to change. From a psychological perspective, we know that stress is created when the level of your involvement is inappropriate to the situation at hand. Trying to get people and situations to change when they are outside your ability to control them is a terrible place to be. Sometimes you can get so involved in the things outside your control that you that you forget about the areas in your control.
Lesson 3. Sometimes you have to allow things to unfold in due time. You can’t rip open the rosebud petals just because you want the full bloom now. Your impatience makes you and everyone around you crazy.
These are hard lessons to learn but they are true. So whenever you experience strained relationships or conflicted strategies, remember these lessons. At least you won’t barf every morning.