I had an interesting conversation with a young manager: She was quick to beat herself up for her youth and inexperience, feeling she hadn’t paid her dues yet, and could claim any lessons learned. Hers was not a case of extreme humility, but one of disbelief and cynicism: Surely more time and more work was needed no matter what she had already achieved.
I can think of no more fatal mistake, than a manager who resists believing in herself.
Young managers will have a lot of Don’t!(s) and Not Yet(s) thrown in their path as unfortunate obstacles. One of the greatest character strengths anyone can have, is self-efficacy, where Do!(s) and Now!(s) flow from within them courageously because they believe in their own abilities and ever-growing capacity.
Lessons learned happen daily. When we get in the flow of our HO‘OHANA and energies and ‘IKE LOA intentions, they’ll happen hourly and from minute to minute. Learn to recognize them as the small wisdoms they are, and accept them with grace. Collect, and keep them close with gratitude. Use the value of MAHALO to see them in a more elemental way — keep them simple and uncluttered, for there is such a thing as being overdone. There is such a thing as having too much experience, as threat to your open-mindedness, natural curiosity, and sense of adventure.
I say “with grace” as courteous goodwill, whether you give it to others or to yourself.
I think of grace as a very attractive demeanor of unconditional acceptance, blending three of our ALOHA values: MAHALO, HA‘AHA‘A and HO‘OHANOHANO.
Grace is one of our Twelve Aloha Virtues:
“I once heard grace called ‘unmerited favor’ and I love that. I want to be gracious, always.”
Please: Stop and think about this right now. What did you learn yesterday, and how are you keeping that learning as the small wisdom you’ll add to? What did you learn in the hours or minutes before you stopped to read this? What are you learning right now?
Your age is irrelevant. Your ALOHA attitude and HO‘OHANOHANO demeanor can deliver everything you will need to succeed in your efforts with managing and with leading.
From Frank Chimero, a September 2013 update:
“I have a tendency to change my work every couple years. I’ve gone from packaging design, to user interfaces, to illustration, to writing. I’ve always shielded myself by saying, “I have no idea what I’m doing.” It makes for a funny meme, but you know what? I’ve tried this for years and it only trips me up and makes me feel worse. Fuck it.
How about this? I do know what I’m doing, because I’m writing for you guys, and I feel like I have a firm grasp of what’s going on and what you all think, and what you’d be interested in reading. And years before that, I was designing books, so even though I didn’t know how to ship a book when I sat down to write one a couple years ago, I knew how to make one, and figured out the rest. I have the ability to think in systems and can be incisive and empathetic by understanding how things fit together. I have a knack for saying things lots of other people are thinking. I can have the special courage of stupidity and privilege, because I don’t have to risk much to speak up. Etc.
This isn’t to brag, because if people are paying attention to what you do, you have your own special menu of skills like these… I am sick of hearing the people I respect the most undercutting themselves. You are awesome and big, and I will carry you on my shoulders for miles if that’s what it takes to get you to a place where you can see how great you are.”
— The Inferno of Independence
Here is some additional reading on self-efficacy:
- A Manager’s Calling: The critical beliefs we start with in Managing with Aloha.
- Ethos: Be true to your Values
- Trusting Your Intuition and Beauty in the Work: “Things Occur to You.”
- Ka lā hiki ola and the ‘Can do’ attitude of Ho‘ohiki
- When the Student is Ready, the Teacher will Appear