In 2004 I began my career as an executive assistant. Throughout the last 15 years I have worked in a few different capacities while working in this career. I dabbled as a Sales and Marketing Coordinator, a Customer Service Representative, a Team Lead and a Project Manager. However, much like Dorothy, I always went back “Home” to role of an assistant. The skills that helped me be successful as an assistant, helped me also be successful in the other positions.
The skill that best enabled me to be successful as an executive assistant was the ability to sense a situation and proceed with the most appropriate way. At one point during one of my reviews, my boss referred to this talent, as being able to read the tea leaves. He stated that I had a unique skill to be able make decisions based off instinct. I have always referred to this as my gut feeling but reading the tea leaves and making decisions off instinct sound so much more mature and sophisticated compared to “gut feeling”.
When I start a day, I don’t always know what to expect. I guess this is par for the course when it comes to 1). Life in general, 2). Living with a Mental Illness and 3). Being a Mom. In each role, we are thrown curve balls and have to learn how to roll with the punches and make the best as we go.
Each day, I have a game plan of what I hope to accomplish, I have a concise list and I decide that I want to achieve at least one or two items to feel like I have had an accomplished day. I have learned that setting the bar too high, in that aspiring to achieve too many things in one given day, can back fire and leave me feeling like I am a failure and good for nothing. Therefore, I set a main goal, and a superstar goal and I try to land somewhere in between, but I know that there are days where I may not hit even the main goal and that is ok, because not all days are going to be gold star days.
Today I had a list of a few items that I needed to take care of. I had an afternoon meeting and enough time to prepare for it. I had a pretty good idea of the direction that I was going to take in my approach for the meeting, although I was not 100% sure. I was nervous, and I wanted to be successful, but I stopped. I took a deep breath. I re-evaluated my approach, sensed the mood of the meeting participants and then rethought out my approach. I modified how I was going to work through the data I had pulled and how I was going to lead the meeting so the meeting would be as productive as possible based on how I sensed the mood of the participants. The meeting was successful, and a new process should be implemented within the next week.
Things don’t always go as planned.
Actually, I think more often they go differently than planned compared to as planned. And this keeps us on our toes. It’s nerve wracking and anxiety inducing, but it has taught me so incredibly much. As I look back on today, my day did not go as I planned. It did not go badly, or poorly, just differently than I expected. But, sitting here now thinking about it, I feel like I was exactly where I needed to be at the exact time where I was needed, and for that I am incredibly grateful.