The resume came through first, and then an email, and finally a phone call. The person trying to connect with me is someone whom I have known for a long time. When they let me know that they were searching for a new opportunity and asked me if I would be willing to help, I enthusiastically agreed. This is a friend and former colleague whom I hold in very high regard.
As I reviewed the resume and cover letter, I was a bit taken aback as neither document spoke about the person that I have known for years. The information and accomplishments were understated to say the least.
The poor resume wasn't what was really bothering me, it was more than that. This was someone whom I respected, loved, and appreciated. My next step was to call them and schedule a time for an immediate video call. I wanted to be able to see them, their eyes, face, and posture as I knew something wasn't right.
When we began our conversation and got past the pleasantries, they asked me what I thought about their resume. Instead of answering, I asked if I could ask a quick question first. I asked them this, “What happened to the person I have known for the past 10 years?” They were a bit confused and a little shaken.
I said, “Look, as I read your resume and cover letter, I didn't see anything exciting or noteworthy, there were no mentions of the three massive projects that reshaped the business trajectory of your company, nothing about the team's achievements, and I was shocked that any reference to your thought leadership was also absent.”
They had let me know that the past 20 months had finally gotten the better of them. Early on it was losing people because they had to make cuts. Then it was being burnt out and overworked, and then it was losing people because they had better options or just didn't want to come to an office any longer. My friend took all of this very personally. Finally, the executive team placed the blame squarely on their shoulders for the lack of people and lack of productivity. The pressure was just too much.
As my good friend and coach Tom Ziglar says, this was a perfect, “Are you kidding me?” moment. That means after I ask, “Are you kidding me?” I follow that up with questions and comments about all their past accomplishment and successes. I reminded my friend that what they had achieved was nothing short of extraordinary. So, I asked one more question, “When you look in the mirror, what do you see?”
The response included words such as tired, worried, afraid, mad, and a disappointment. I responded as if looking into the same mirror with others who knew them too. “Yes, we see someone who is like so many others out there in the world right now, we see tired, worried, and afraid. Do you know what else we see? We see someone who needs a different mirror. We see someone who needs to see what the rest of us see, eyes with reignited passion, unparalleled wisdom and knowledge, someone who loves people, intentionality of purpose, courage, and we see the most hopeful person we know, the person who stood by each of us when we were down. We see the winner in you.”
This week my friend was hired into a bigger role than they had ever had before.
The moral of this story is that each one of us has someone in our life that may be struggling right now. And maybe what they need more than anything else is to be reminded to look at themselves the way that we see them, through the lens of accomplishment, and with the eyes of renewed hope. Do you know anyone like that? I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org, and when we can help people to see in themselves what we all see, it really will be a better than good year.
Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.
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