Remember to Share the Journey Behind Your Success
Patricia Asp, 4word Board Member and founder of ASPire, dives into the power of encouragement and sharing your life’s journey with those around you and how learning to encourage others will help you be more open to acknowledging your own successes.
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“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”1 Thessalonians 5:11
Why do you think some of us find sharing our successes uncomfortable?
I know exactly why I’m uncomfortable: it was the way my parents raised me! Our accomplishments were for us personally or within the family to be proud of and celebrate. Throughout my education and career, I was blessed to be a “first” in my career progression, but if my parents or family shared about me, it was not while I was present. Here is some insight: my dad was receiving an award and he was asked what he was proudest of. Now mind you, the reason he was receiving the recognition was that he hit every performance metric out of the park! His response was he was proudest of partnering with my mother to raise three great kids! It was never about them; it was always about others! Hence my discomfort of sharing personal successes.
How does sharing your personal accomplishments help you mentor someone?
I think that if I can show the reality of accomplishments to others, it can give them hope and insight that they also can achieve their goals. So frequently when people look at where you are currently and your achievements, they don’t realize the hard work, sacrifices, failures, mentors, coaches, great teams and lessons that you’ve experienced along the way. Sharing that journey helps build the confidence of those we are mentoring that they too can succeed.
Many years ago, the chairman of the company gave me a little book that is now out of print titled “The Turtle on the Fencepost.” Picture walking down a country lane and seeing a turtle on top of fencepost. Your first thought is that the turtle didn’t get there by itself. So it is with our careers. Nothing is accomplished alone.
Do you have someone in your life whose life journey was inspirational for you?
Many people have been inspiration for me. Not only professionally but also personally and spiritually, which really are all intertwined. Starting with my parents and siblings, 4H Leaders, teachers, professors, friends, bosses, those that I’ve had the privilege to lead. And most importantly, my husband, Glen. I get inspiration from so many of life’s encounters and can recognize God’s hand in why I’ve met these people.
While I was Company President, my 42-year-old COO was diagnosed with a devastating cancer with a 25% chance of living two years. We had grown up together in our careers in the same company. And I was not going to shy away from the painful reality of the situation but stay close to his wife, family and sons, insuring I was doing everything possible to insure their security for the future. Three days before he died, while he entered hospice, I was working on getting his stock options exercised and all that it entailed and asked him if he trusted me to just get it done on his behalf. His response said it all: “Pat, I trusted you with my career and accomplished more than I ever dreamed possible because of your coaching and leadership, and would trust you with my life.”
To me, that said it all! Building trusted relationships that withstand the highs and lows, good and bad.
What are your favorite ways to offer encouragement to women in the workplace?
I try to take every opportunity when I am with someone to ask if there is anything I can do for them if it is not obvious and where I can be of assistance, whether it is advice, an introduction, prayer, or just being empathetic and listening. And when I’ve seen, read, or heard of their accomplishments, taking the time to congratulate them and sharing their success with others is another way I like to offer my encouragement. It doesn’t need to be something BIG, just recognizing a job well done.
4word’s founder Diane Paddison is great at this. Anyone that has worked with or knows Diane realizes she is always encouraging and giving positive feedback. It is no wonder that our reason for existing at 4word is “to help women in the workplace reach their God-given potential with confidence.”
What advice would you give to leaders in the workplace that want to acknowledge the accomplishments of their team members?
I think 4word’s values say it all: “Servant leaders who are real, passionate, faithful and want to be in community.” Being present, authentic, and relevant when acknowledging the team member’s accomplishments is foundational.
But most importantly, knowing the person well enough to understand how they want their accomplishments acknowledged; privately, with their immediate teammates, in the company, with the board, on social media or with their spouse and family. Annually, I would send a letter to the spouse or other family member thanking them for supporting a particular executive and acknowledging their role/s in the person’s success. Recently, I attended a reunion of one of the companies that I led. One of my prior executives asked if she could talk to me privately. She brought out a letter I had written to her husband over 20 years ago! She had saved it all that time and it served as a reminder to me how much a personal gesture of heartfelt gratitude can mean.
Another example was when I was leading a global initiative that included 14 operating companies that encompassed 5000 locations, I did not want to be acknowledged in the presence of the operating company leaders who I had to engage and count on for the execution of the plan. They were the most important for the success and the ones that needed to be acknowledged.
Anything else you’d like to share?
For many of us, self-promotion is painful and difficult. So if we make it a habit and take every opportunity to promote others, it can and will be contagious!
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Meet Patricia Asp, 4word Board Member, Principal and Founder of ASPire. After witnessing the dramatic weakening of core values of great companies during successions, mergers, acquisitions and rapid growth, Pat launched ASPire as a commitment to the strategic preservation of the goodness of companies and organizations. Using two proven methodologies for measurement and accountability, ASPire’s clients align Purpose and Culture and business strategy for growth and sustainability.
Patricia Asp is a senior Transformation and Operating executive with over 25 years of diverse business experience in Fortune 500 and small privately held companies in the service, education, healthcare and photography industries. Her specialties include business turnarounds, strategic planning, culture and values sustainability, and multiple location/distributed organizational models with emphasis on performance and process improvement. Throughout her career she has held operations, sales, activations, finance, human resources, and business transformation positions, including CEO, COO and President of companies. Each role required significant strategic redirection and performance improvement.
Be part of a global mission to impact 10 million women to integrate their faith at home and at work. 4word is a global organization with expansive networks connecting women every day. Join us and be part of the journey. To learn more about Journey 4word, click here!