A little bit of awesome

The ATEM Friday Retro meeting on 2 October 2020 was a bit different from the usual.

We started with a live video cross to an office building on Collins Street in Melbourne’s CBD, where three peregrine falcon chicks were hatching. How lucky that we were meeting via Zoom – otherwise we would have missed it!

You can watch the falcon nest on YouTube Live, any time.

One of the Retronauts also recommended Alaska’s Fat Bear Week, when bears are (right now) preparing for winter hibernation and humans can vote for their favorite cuddly fuzzballs (check out the webcam views).

The Retronauts’ conversation this week focused on awesomeness and how to nurture it. I captured a few of their comments as we chatted… 

First, don’t give up. Keep chipping away and awesomeness will follow.

Being a pioneer is difficult – but worth the effort. What you achieve is more than anybody else has (so far), and others (including you) will build on it in the future. A long-term outlook is important. 

Paying attention to quality – figuring out how to make a new task or system as simple as possible to use and maintain – can bring a great deal of satisfaction.

What’s preventing you from letting yourself excel? Stand out from the crowd?Know your own strengths and weaknesses well, so that you can promote (and use) your strengths. Don’t avoid your weaknesses, figure out how to develop them and convert into strengths.

For your LinkedIn CV, and for interviews – ask some colleagues:

  • Where have I added value?
  • What four words would you use to describe me?
  • What are my key strengths?
  • What is one thing I could improve?

Let people know what you do, the value of your work. This why networking is worth your attention. Keeping up with LinkedIn and other networking activities doesn’t need to feel like a burden: it can take as much or as little time and effort as you want to invest in it.

Give yourself the gift of time – half an hour per week for networking, connecting with LinkedIn friends, staying in touch with former colleagues… 

Staying in regular contact with people can deliver benefits when you’re ready to take advantage of them. And if you don’t ask, you probably won’t get help, support, higher salary – be prepared to ask and negotiate for what you need (and want).

The group generally agreed that we don’t want awesomeness to be once a year. Doing something awesome makes us happy and gives us energy – it’s important to keep that regular feed of awesomeness happening, every few months if possible (at a minimum). What milestones can we celebrate, to make sure we don’t lose sight of awesomeness as it happens?

Treasuring bits of awesome along the way is how you keep going. Most projects have milestones or other moments of achievement. Don’t wait for the end of the project – acknowledge and celebrate meaningful progress along the way.

(The quote of the week was from Kathryn: “Project management is banging your head on the wall until the wall falls down.”)

A casual morning or afternoon tea gathering is an opportunity to acknowledge the work of team-mates and to share news of successes both small and large.

On an individual level, some Retronauts said they keep a file or list of their achievements and add to it during the year. Not surprisingly, this habit has fallen away in 2020 when so much else has been happening.

We also talked about the idea of a ‘resume of failure’ – a list of things that didn’t turn out as planned or hoped. It’s not about chiding yourself for failure; the important thing is reflecting on the experience and learning something useful from it. (That’s one reason our Friday Retro jamboard asks the question: what happened in the last fortnight that was unexpected?)

Keeping track of your achievements and failures needn’t be difficult. Your quarterly work plan, project plans and other work-related documentation already captures what you’re trying to achieve – you just need to re-use that information in a form that helps to build your CV and prepare for your next performance review. It’s much easier than relying on your memory!

Categories: Lead, Learn

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2 replies

  1. Yesterday’s Retronauts discussion on being awesome really resonated with me Margaret and reading your blog on awesomeness has really reinforced the concept. I am genuinely inspired about this so much that I feel like a veil has lifted and I’m excited about both recognising and continuously creating the conditions for Being Awesome. Thank you so much for this valuable insight. Sharon


  2. Thanks so much for your reply, Sharon! I’m thrilled that the conversation was so helpful to you.


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