Having been in leadership roles for a significant part of my life, this journey has contained numerous self-taught lessons as well as a highly valuable piece of advice from different people I’ve been lucky to cross my paths with. The main takeaway? I don’t always need to “put my hand in the oven to make sure it is burning hot”, but can also learn from the experience of others to succeed. Hence, here are the 10 hacks that have helped me to get where I am today and keep leading me towards where I want to go.
Use your voice
Sharing one’s thoughts in a professional, constructive, and respectful manner is the very basis of a transparent as well as productive collaboration. Whilst there have been times in my life when I’ve questioned whether my voice is powerful enough, then years ago I made a conscious decision to speak up, and learned first-hand how it leads to truly compelling relationships. Not only, but this has allowed me to really add value in the variety of the roles in my life: in my daily mission in driving the business strategy via people-related matters, whilst practicing this also as a facilitator, mentor, author, and motivational speaker. The feedback a la “This really changed my life!” has given me the assurance that I do have a voice to make an impact and change the world – for people and communities alike.
Settle only when it serves you
Whilst sounding like a cliché, then life is way too short to put up with things just for the sake of putting up with them. I choose to live a life that serves me with a sense of fulfillment and purpose – I want to experience these “THIS IS IT!” moments! It is vital to give one’s very best in everything that matters to you, however, it has to also give back. Should it not be the case, then thank life for the experience and move on. Having said that, it is still essential to acknowledge in real-time when things are going right for you and enjoy the present to the fullest. Hence – settle fully when things are serving you the way you want!
I truly believe that in a world where you can be anything, be kind. Kindness isn’t niceness per se as the latter is all about being agreeable & pleasing. Kindness, however, is about sincerely caring and being really open without losing one’s true self in the process. Also, being kind in unkind situations requires incredible strength, empathy, ability to forgive, and let go. It is absolutely ok to disagree, but always treat the other person with dignity and respect – that’s what kindness is all about!
Follow your passion
Do what you love and you never work a day in your life! There’s a significant difference whether you have a job or a calling, which is why I’ve dedicated my life to be on the mission that truly drives me – making an impact by building outstanding company cultures that correlate with an outstanding business!
Know your worth, but remain humble
I am a 100% self-made professional: I don’t believe in lucky chances but in huge and consistent work. Have I been in my life feeling uncomfortable negotiating a salary, blushed to the roots when receiving praise, and having had internal dilemmas about whether I’m good enough? I most certainly have, however today I’ve come to know who I am and what I’m capable to deliver. Also, I’m fully comfortable admitting what I don’t know yet and am eager to keep growing. I’m a work in progress with my strengths and areas of improvement – I accept myself as such, also openly.
Embrace never being ready
Since I always aimed to know everything, then this used to be a challenge for me to come to terms with. Yet, today I’ve come to truly embrace the thought that I’ll never be ready – isn’t it exciting that I can keep learning something new as well as grow as a professional and person along the way?! Being really curious by nature, then my successful day is packed with ahaa moments – whether that’s learning something new, having an inspiring conversation with someone, or somehow challenging myself.
You are your own brand
Be you, do you, and know that people always remember you by how you make them feel. This means how you interact with them, the way you present yourself and collaborate, and –first and foremost– how you treat others around you. Your brand isn’t limited to you only as a professional, but you as a whole human – at all times.
Take care of yourself
Whilst my profession makes up an important chunk of my life, then as essential is balancing it out with “me time”- nurturing my mind and body with what’s the very best for me. For me, this means quality time with my family, doing sports, and creative writing. Since I’m a firm believer that a healthy mind lives in a healthy body, then by prioritizing myself I can ensure that I can give the best version of myself to others and take care of them the way they deserve.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
One can be popular as a “yes” person or being neutral as Switzerland, however, leadership is all about doing the right thing. This again means facing challenging situations as well as making (at times also unpopular) decisions. It is not about being liked by everyone, but being respected for doing what’s right and being transparent in openly explaining the reasons for the actions taken.
It is very humane to always focus on what we lack; however, it is key to appreciate what one already has in their life and appreciate what has been achieved. It is vital to celebrate the journey and this incredible gift of being alive which again results in an overall positive outlook and empowers one to achieve whatever they want. And yes – gratitude is the very basis of happiness, so isn’t that what life is all about?!
Katri Delimoge is an internationally CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, London, UK) certified HR professional, internationally accredited solutions-focused coach, facilitator-trainer, author, and motivational speaker. Currently working in a fintech sector as the Head of People & Culture, and has a successful track record in building tech companies' people functions from the scratch.