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4 work (and life) lessons on the anniversary of “Build it”

I can’t believe that it’s been three years since my second book, “Build it: The Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement”, was published. During this time I’ve heard from people around the world about how much the book, the Engagement Bridge model, and the plays (stories) have helped them.

And for this I am grateful, for this is exactly how my co-author Glenn Elliott and I decided to measure the success of the book - not by how many copies were sold, but by how many people we helped.

So in the spirit of helping, in this blog I’d like to share with you four things I learned in writing the book about work and life.

1. Be brave and walk in the door

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us." Helen Keller.

I’m a firm believer that life is all about taking chances, and bravely walking in and out of doors that are both open and shut. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but that’s just life.

Had I not walked into a new and slightly risky door by joining Glenn to write the book, the new chapter of my life would never have begun. In “Rising Strong” Brené Brown says to “walk into your story and own your truth”, and that’s exactly what I did, entirely re-writing my story.

I encourage you to be brave and walk into doors, both open and shut, and to find the truth and story that is right for you. Trust me, it’s worth it!

2. Value and invite in differences

One of the biggest lessons I learned in writing with Glenn was the power of differences, something that I believe made the book more rebellious and more impactful. Had we not come with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives the book would have been one dimensional instead of the multi dimensions that came across on the pages.

In a world that is talking and focusing on diversity, I think it’s important to understand and embrace this power, inviting and welcoming diversity into everything you do. It pushes, challenges and makes your work and you better than it could ever be on your own.

3. Old dogs can learn new tricks

When I joined Glenn to write the book, I had been doing traditional HR for over 20 years. This meant that my ‘playbook’ was filled with the kind of strategies and practices that our book was actually trying to remove from the workplace. But through my learning journey in writing the book, my mindset and my ‘playbook’ completely changed, proving that anyone, regardless of age and background, can change if they really want to.

I share this with you because too often we make judgements about people based on their age, background, etc., which gets in the way of progress. I’m a firm believer that if you explain the reason and impact of change, and then give people the tools and support to change, change will happen.

Btw, one of the reasons I share this with you is that before I joined Glenn to write the book, I was interviewing and had a recruiter call to say that a role he'd put me forward for had decided not to interview me because I was “too old to be creative and to do things in this new world of work”. All I can say is . . . . I think I’ve proved them wrong!

4. Be kind and pay it forward

My job title at my company is Chief Pay it Forward Officer, which is actually the title I suggested to Glenn when I was working with him. I felt it described the work that he and I were doing in our writing and speaking, paying it forward by sharing our tips, stories and inspiring others to change, and that's exactly what I’m doing now in my new company.

I share this tip because I believe that we all have something to pay forward, something to help one another, and some way to make a difference.

Glenn taught me the power of this as he constantly and generously shared with everyone and anyone, not worrying about whether they were a colleague or even a competitor. I proudly continue on this mission, and hope to make him proud in every action and difference that I make.

Thank you for joining me for my anniversary blog, and I wish you all the best today and tomorrow!


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