Black and White

End of year is a time of extremes. It’s extremely cold. Extremely dark. Extremely festive. A time of great happiness for those surrounded by loved ones. A time of great sadness if you find yourself alone. This extreme range of emotions flows into our professional lives as well. Ecstasy if you got promoted. Disappointment and heartache if you didn’t.

Black and White.

We fail to recognize that a sea of gray lies between the black and the white. The success and the failure. The win and the loss. That sea of gray has many names. A Daily Process. A Learning Journey. A Set of choices. A Life circumstance. It behooves us to pay attention to this gray and to lean into it. Focusing on the end result robs us not only of perspective but also of the lessons and wisdom. During the course of several conversations at the end of this performance management season, one key takeaway for me has been the importance of obsessing about competency over result.

The idea is to focus on yourself. Not in a selfish way but in a getting-better-everyday way. People who focus on promotions and results and going up the ladder, not only send the wrong signals but also fail to grow professionally or personally.

So as we head into another year in our professional lives let us focus on doing our jobs well, getting better everyday and helping the people around us. Success comes fastest to those who don’t run after it.