Oftentimes, people feel like they don’t need to be working on leadership skills because they’re not a leader yet. They’re not a Thought Leader, presenting to hundreds of people. They’re not a Manager, with direct reports looking to them for a career advice. Or, they’re not the “Lead” on the project.

If you reframe those “I’m not yet’s…” into “I could be somedays…” you can actually take some great steps towards them. Not only will it help you prepare for when you’re in that role, it will also give a nod to your organization that you’re hankering for the opportunity to take on that kind of responsibility.

Read on for some ideas of what you can be doing right now!

  1. For the Thought Leader: start honing in on your craft. Read articles, buy books, textbooks, attend lectures, watch youtube videos. Test out different methodologies and see what works, what doesn’t. Start to write. Write what works, write what doesn’t. Whether you write it for yourself, your blog, Medium, or submit it to fastco, getting your thoughts on paper on what you’ve learned will help you create your point of view. Consider asking your organization if you can present some learnings at your next all-hands meeting, or, a smaller team meeting in your discipline. Share your POV, and ask folks for feedback, maybe even consider taping and rewatching. By working on both your content and your delivery, you’ll be developing the skills to be on stage in no time.
  2. For the Manager: begin to develop your ability to receive and deliver feedback. By soliciting feedback, and working with managers to develop plans to improve, you’ll be getting better at figuring out how to navigate sticky conversations with future employees. And, even better yet, once you start soliciting feedback, you can begin to practice giving upward, sideways, downward feedback which will help you learn tactful ways to communicate what people need to hear. Which, will make you an even better manager because you’ll be able to push your employees to also give you feedback so that you keep improving, too.
  3. For the Project Lead: try out tactics that you think are important for a project to be successful. Some ideas you may want to run by the project lead (which they’ll probably appreciate since they’re likely already overwhelmed) and others you can probably just try out to cultivate a strong team dynamic. Some ideas? Organize team outings, ensure folks step away from their desk for lunch, practice inclusivity, or try a team norming exercise to learn about everyone’s different working styles and boundaries.

So, there you have it. Whether you want to one day become a Thought Leader, Manager and/or Project Lead, there’s a lot you can be doing right now to get ready!

Oh man, Libby is super cool. We met over a cup of coffee one early morning at my favorite cafe, and after learning more about what was next for her, I asked her to let us in on all of it. Read on.

Hi! Who are you?! What do you do?
Hello! I’m Libby, an aspiring farmer/agricultural educator. I’m currently (newly) transitioning from a career in tech to a career more aligned with my food and agriculture dreams. My day to day now consists of getting to work on the operations team at a local food hub, as well as at a sustainability-minded restaurant.

Work/Life/Passion Balance, what’s your method?
It’s funny you ask me this, because I’m in the thick of the process of figuring this out. So far, I’ve realized that no matter how much you love your job, you still need ample life outside of work. I’m slowly learning the best ways to spend my free time, particularly how to fulfill what I need that day or that moment.

To unwind, I read, talk on the phone with my parents, brothers, and friends, jog, give myself a morning to cook a nice and big breakfast, do some personalized stretching/yoga/meditation combo, or find and consume the nearest scoop of ice cream, or peanut butter cookie. To really clear my head and/or perk myself up, I listen to music and walk around my favorite neighborhoods in the city to people and place watch. I also find I’m never in a better mood than when I’m in a third space either on my computer or writing and also kind of eavesdropping on what’s going on around me. It sounds goofy but it gives me faith in humanity and makes me love people. I’ll also occasionally strike up a conversation with a stranger, which really gets me going. Talking to someone who knows nothing about you can be very freeing, and it’s also telling what you choose to present about yourself.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a grocery store cash register attendant, because I loved the “beep” noise the bar code scanner made, how knowledgable the attendants looked punching buttons on the register, and thought it was cool that attendants get to see what kinds of food people buy for themselves. I also thought they got to keep all of the money in the register.

Now that you’re pretty much a grown-up, what do you think you’re going to be when you grow up?
TBD! But if I had to decide the job I’d have for the rest of my life tomorrow, I’d be a farmer within a coop. Goats, chickens, veggie/fruit/herb fields, and a greenhouse, with educational programming.

Thanks for chatting! Where can folks find more info about you?
Thank you! People can find me on instagram (ebelyon) or email me at ebelyon@gmail.com

Welcome to Monday folks! For today, all we’re going to do is focus on transitions. When I say transitions I mean long or short, like your commute to work, walking to your next meeting, grabbing lunch or refilling your water bottle. When you’re in a period of transition, try to just focus on the change in direction and movement in your brain and body. Normally we’re so caught up in our own thoughts (or cell phones) to pay attention to the process of change while moving from one activity to the next. By letting yourself focus on the transition, when you arrive at your next destination you may find that you’re a little more present and prepared!

℅ Monica Sweeney. Coming out February 2016

℅ Monica Sweeney. Coming out February 2016

Meet Monica Sweeney, who is probably living your dream job right now. I was pretty excited to learn more about her current role and how she looks to the future. Read on!

Hi! Who are you?! What do you do?
Hello! I’m a human, but right now I’m a human who works for a conceptual book agency called Hollan Publishing. We’re a bit of a literary agency and book packager hybrid, which means we come up with book ideas, find expert authors to write them or write them ourselves, and then sell those concepts to a larger publisher. This makes me a bit of a hybrid, too—I spend my days working closely with authors and illustrators, thinking, wordsmithing, analyzing book trends, managing projects, and then hoping I’m doing all of it well.

Work/Life/Passion Balance, what’s your method?
My work-life-passion balance at the moment is a very delicate one. I’m in a publishing grad program in addition to my full-time job and a part-time waitressing gig. I adore sleep but get very little of it, so I rely on the people close to me, yoga, walks around my very beautiful city, an expensive concert-going habit, and various forms of delicious food to keep me centered. Part of the reason this all works is because everything I’m doing right now is just sensory overload of things that are inspiring and stimulating to me: the book business and even the law behind it, creativity and collaboration amongst incredibly talented and clever people, and, well, beer styles and food trends. I’m an avid complainer that I don’t have enough time for anything, but I’m not totally sure what I’d do with my time if I did have more of it.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
My childhood career goals shifted based on the (sometimes bad) media I watched. When Twister came out, I wanted to be a storm chaser; when Dante’s Peak came out, I wanted to be a volcanologist; and when I spent my early adolescence watching Buffy, I wanted to be some version of a strong, witty, scrappy feminist who did things that benefited people (though I was and still am unsure how to translate that ass-kicking into the non-fiction world).

Now that you’re pretty much a grown-up, what do you think you’re going to be when you grow up?
Someone asked me what I wanted to do with my career recently and my response was something along the lines of, “idk, run shit.” I have high expectations for myself and I want to be a leader in my field, but I want to earn it and always feel like I’m still reaching. If I ever feel like that’s not happening, it’s time to change careers. I would also welcome a role as a burrata, ceviche, and cookie taste-tester, though not all at the same time.

Thanks for chatting! Where can folks find more info about you?
Googling my name is a really silly and confusing experience, even for me. I’ve written books that appeal to a number of different proclivities and interests, so there’s that. Or just send friendly tidings via some form of social media.

Anything else you want to share?
The best fortune cookie I’ve ever cracked open said, “About time I got out of that cookie!”

During the day we can get caught up with the hustle and bustle of activity. Try adding a reminder in your phone to check in with yourself. It could be just a moment that you focus on the breath, or even just look away from the computer. If you really want to take the check in a step further, use it as an excuse to take a lap around the office, get some hot tea and breathe for a moment. There are plenty of applications out there that you can install on your computer to remind you to look away every 15 minutes, or get out of your chair every hour. Or, if there’s a regular sound in your office, say, the doorbell, use that as a reminder to take a deep breath and check in with how things are going.

My friends. My really wonderful cup of joe habit is exploding with excitement about having been able to hear from the founder and CEO of Joe, a coffee company in NYC and Philly (I’m pretty sure I’ve been to all of them). Read on to learn about how a caffeine-fueled endeavor meets balance!

Hi! Who are you?! What do you do?
Hello!  I’m Jonathan Rubinstein and I founded and am now the CEO of Joe, a coffee company in NYC and Philadelphia with 13 retail locations and a roasting wing. I started it with one little storefront in Greenwich Village 12 years ago and it’s been quite a ride!

Work/Life/Passion Balance, what’s your method?
I have to work really hard to find work-life balance.  Joe was my life and was fairly all consuming until 6 years ago when I decided to have a child, solo!  So now my work life balance is 49% Joe, 49% my daughter and 2% squeezing in a little Yoga, a book or two and a dinner out, maybe once a month.  It’s tough but I make it work!

I also threw a dog into the mix last year and maybe that didn’t help the balance very much….

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Though it has zero to do with what I do now, I always wanted to own a summer camp.  Hm….

Now that you’re pretty much a grown-up, what do you think you’re going to be when you grow up?
Retired?  Rich?  Tending to my garden at my country house?  A man can dream, right?

Thanks for chatting! Where can folks find more info about you?
Joenewyork.com
@joecoffeeNYC
Instagram joecoffeecompany
Facebook Joe New York
OKcupid but you gotta find me

Anything else you want to share?
Daughter, Coffee, coffee, coffee, tea, daughter, dog, coffee, coffee, yoga, coffee, coffee, coffee, daughter, coffee, coffee, sleep.

%d bloggers like this: