When you’ve put away the holiday decorations and nibbled the sugar out of that last Christmas cookie, what will you say about the year gone by? Will you say 2012 was the best of times or the worst of times? Will you drink a little extra eggnog in celebration of a year well spent? Or will you carefully put away the decorations and close the door on 2012 with a resigned but audible sigh?
Contemplating 2012 led me to some realizations. In 2012, I learned to ask the right questions. My mentor, Bruce Peters once asked me, ““What is the one question that if answered would make it impossible to remain as you are?” Interestingly, I can ask that question every week and all it does is uncover more questions. However, it’s worth asking and worth thinking carefully about. Which is why I revisit it at least once a month and recommend others do the same.
This is the year I learned to stop worrying so much. I’m a fretter – I worry about what might happen, what should happen, what didn’t happen. I began to realize my wasted effort after I came across this Swedish proverb: “Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.” There I was, wringing my hands over a late client payment, knowing the utility bill was due, while my husband was finalizing a contract for a new client, never doubting the late payment would show up.
“Worrying won’t get it here any faster,” he’d say.
It was hard to admit he was right but...he was. Therefore, in 2013, I’m saving my worrying for important things – like, if I don’t eat the last cookie, will my husband eat it or will it just sit there and go stale?
2012 gave me insight into my ‘role’ in my company. Most of us work within the confines of a “job description.” This is a bulleted list of tasks your employer expects you to complete, at any given moment. A job description generally gives no indication of how you should perform those tasks, or why they are important to the success of the company. It just says, “Do this.”
A role, on the other hand, is focused on performance. As noted in this HR blog, a role is focused on the individual as opposed to the task at hand. “In short it describes a job, and the personal qualities required to do that job well.” (my italics)
As CEO, my role requires me to provide the tools and support my team needs to complete their required job descriptions. This year, I learned that providing the tools and support was the easy part of being CEO. The hard part of being CEO is remembering that you are always on. You are the face of the company across all channels, and in today’s heavily-trafficked social media landscape, a CEO is scrutinized by many eyeballs. Not one of those eyeballs cares about the ‘job description’ but all of them have something to say about the “role.” Remembering that gives me pause before I Tweet, or write on Facebook, or pen a blog post. Who’s watching? I ask myself. Everyone, I answer. And, I act accordingly.
2012 was a pivotal year for me and for my company. As it draws to a close, we are perched on that all important tipping point, so described by Malcolm Gladwell back in 2002- embracing the meme we helped create in the pet industry, yet careful to remember that the memes we create and the business we do, at all times, yesterday, today and tomorrow, is a product of the people – those customers and clients that make us who we are.
It’s time to bid 2012 a fond farewell. As BlogPaws begins to move past the tipping point, into new challenges within the pet industry, as we follow the memes our devoted community creates, as we abandon worry in favor of expectation, and as we embrace the insight that comes from accepting our role in the world, as well as in our company, we can face the New Year fully engaged.
“2012,” we’ll say, “was the best of times, because we made it so.” May next year be the same.
I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa's. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner's success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa's small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.