Things That Matter: One Woman's Life Inventory

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Are you focused on the things that matter?

A few weeks ago, I found myself rolling across the hood of a car that had hit me. I can’t say that my life flashed in front of my eyes; however, it was a huge wake up call making me ponder if I was living life fully and really focusing on the things that truly matter.

With new clarity on life, I reflected on what really matters. I share them with you and encourage you to add on, and share your personal stories on life-changing moments and what you did to focus more on the things that matter.

First, family matters. As soon as I got home, I hugged my kids, called my mom, and made a mental note to not forget to give the hubby a smooch before running out the door next time. I admit that we all get rushed, and shout out “love you” as we run out the door. That would have been a very disappointing last memory.

Second, work matters—as does your happiness at it. Does your job pass the Monday morning test? My Monday morning test is three simple questions: 1) Do you love your job? 2) Do you like spending time with the people you work with? 3) Do you jump out of bed on a Monday morning, or bury your head under the pillow? If you don’t like your job, then make an action plan to do something about it.

My advice:
• Make the job you have better – have the conversation with your boss on what is going well, not going well, and how things can improve. If they understand your frustrations, then they can work with you to make work life better. Don’t forget that you hold a tremendous amount of control in changing your destiny.
• Find a sponsor – people get ahead because someone believes in them or helps them. It could be the many coaches you have that you go to for advice on different topics, prior work associates, or other people you helped along the way (remember to always pay it forward), or boss that can put in a good word. Ultimately, your sponsors are people who are believers and can assist you in getting support for the next proposal, that next promotion, or even that new job. Spend the time and make sure you have sponsors.
• Find a new job – If other options don’t work, then it may be time to look for a new job. If you embark down this path, then make a plan and research companies, update your resume and LinkedIn profile, and network relentlessly.

Third, friends and associates matter. Not only are friends and associates great to share experiences with and pick you up when you are down, but they are also the ones that will help you advance your career.

Have lunch or coffee once week with someone who could help you. A great door opener is “you have been so successful, and I would love to hear how you did it” or “I have this opportunity or challenge and would really like to get your advice. May I buy you lunch or a coffee, or call you at a convenient time to discuss?”

Stay visible – so many times we find ourselves immersed in the projects at hand and neglect our networks. While some of us are natural networkers, many of us are not. Visibility is just as important externally as it is within your current company. Make sure to invest 30 minutes a day nurturing and expanding your network.

Last and certainly not least, you matter! Take a moment to make sure that you feel good. After being hit by the car, I went to the hair salon and asked my stylist to transform my overgrown locks into a new swank hairstyle. Remember the old saying, “It’s not how you feel, it’s how you look. And you look marvelous!” Yikes, I did just date myself. But, please do take the time to take care of yourself. Go to the gym, update your wardrobe, or simply enjoy a nice day at the spa. Make sure to take the time to do something that will make you feel great about yourself.

Also, remember to have signature projects, and be proud of your legacy as a woman in technology! It’s great to have at least one for work and one personal. With just more than half of 2012 in our rear view mirror, I am pleased to share that I have many, including the launch of the newly revamped Riverbed partner program and the successful completion of the Riverbed Worldwide Performance Summit Tour in more than 60 cities! On the personal side, I am proud of the work with my son’s school for Project Cornerstone, a community of adults supporting children and teens to help them thrive.

I leave you with a parting thought on the path to focusing on things that matter… Think big, start small, act fast, and don’t forget to enjoy life along the way!

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