As we’ve talked about planning and strategy and what that should look like for Christian women in the workplace, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks from Melissa Peak. But none of those new tools will do you any good if you don’t take action. In her final blog for us, Melissa lays out what healthy planning should look like as you work toward your goals for this year and beyond. She also reminds us of the great quote from hockey legend Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”discusses discovering what your personal and professional strengths are, and how to not completely derail all the hard work and planning you’ve put effort into when failure starts to appear on the horizon.
You can listen to this entire conversation with Melissa on our podcast, Work, Love, Pray! Listen below or click here to find your preferred listening platform.
What does a healthy planning and strategy session look like for Christian working women?
First, assess and get clarity on who you are. Start with a brainstorming session and write down every word that comes to your mind without judgment. When you’re done writing, go back and review what on that paper is serving you and what on that paper is not serving you. Decide what on that paper is true, based on what God says about you. Keep in mind that we all have things that we believe about ourselves that we have to retrain, where we have to retrain ourselves. The best way I’ve learned to do this retraining is by pulling Scripture that speaks truth into that situation. There have certainly been a lot of times in my life where I would’ve said, I’m ugly, I’m fat, I’m a loser. We’re so unkind to ourselves, and I have to go back and say, “No, I’m chosen, I’m adopted, I’m loved. I don’t have to do it all myself.”
Second, look to the future. What brings you joy, what are you excited and energized about? Now, I don’t personally buy into the saying “Find your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I actually did some analysis a few years ago where I surveyed a group of people and asked them what percentage of their workday did they need to be spend doing things they felt passionate about in order for their job to be fulfilling. My assumption going into that was that the more seasoned employees were going to say, “If 25% of what I get to do is something I’m passionate about, then I think the job’s fulfilling,” and the earlier career individuals were gonna be more idealistic. What I found instead was that, across the board, it was very subjective with almost equal representation saying that 25% of their time needed to be spent doing something they were passionate about in order for their job to be fulfilling.
As you’re planning, think about the overall vision for your life. If you’re married or have a significant other, get them involved in your brainstorming process and make it fun! Work backwards and ask yourself, “In order to achieve this goal, what needs to happen in the next year?” Break your year down into chapters, and consider writing a letter to yourself to read a year down the road, including some of those chapters or milestones in the letter.
I’ve got some 10-year goals. I’ve got some five-year goals, and then I’ve got more short-term goals. Some of those goals are just personal that I don’t talk to my spouse about. And some of them I do share. Along with really understanding my personal strengths, this rhythm of yearly planning has helped me make a lot of decisions, because it creates a framework you can bump choices up against. You can ask yourself, “if I make this choice, is it helping me accomplish that goal? Or am I sacrificing a short-term win for long-term gain?” .
There are moments where you do need to take a job, but put some parameters around it so it’s not forever. Recognize this job is meeting a specific need. Choice is the ultimate luxury. Anything that we’re doing where we don’t feel like we have choice and we’re stuck is, for me, the epitome of slavery. Any time you’re doing something and don’t feel like you have a choice, I would question if that’s what God intended for you. We may choose to do things we don’t always love, but at least we chose to be there. Creating a framework that helps us make decisions and hit those long-term goals put us in the position of choice.
One final comment: I hear lots of people say, “I just want to do what God wants me to do.” I understand that God gave each one of us free will on purpose, but waiting for some master plan to get downloaded is not feasible or realistic. God created us as thinking people who can make decisions. He’s given us natural talents and desires and dreams and aspirations. He did that on purpose. So it’s okay to make a decision. It’s okay to say, “I don’t want do that.” Be empowered to decide what is and is not going to work for you, because Jesus sure did!
Any final thoughts you’d like to share as we wrap up our discussion this month?
I’d love to share a quote I have carried with me for years. It’s from Wayne Gretzky, a Canadian hockey player. He said, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” When you’re moving forward, seek and think intentionally about who God has made you to be and what He’s got you here to do. But if you’re not taking any shots, if you’re frozen because you think you have to make the perfect decision, it’s going to be really hard for anything to happen because you’re not in motion. Don’t worry about it always being right. Don’t worry about it being perfect. Lean into the adventure and have a bias for action, because you miss 100% of the shots that you never take.
Melissa Peak, is a seasoned management executive with more than 2 decades of experience leading organizations to growth and customer success, while building an engaged workforce. Leveraging her transformational leadership style, Melissa has repeatedly built thriving teams that deliver unprecedented market penetration, customer satisfaction, and revenue results. Career highlights include delivering double-digit, top-line revenue growth; placing a Fortune 500 company on the Federal GSA Schedule; 40% of direct reports promoted into expanded roles; creation and execution of a strategic digital marketing campaign resulting in a 400% increase in social media engagement after one year.
Melissa has led business operations with teams exceeding 200 people, and managed P&L responsibility exceeding $150MM. Over her career, Melissa has engaged with hundreds of employers as a trusted advisor on key talent strategies. By delivering powerful results for these employers, Melissa has built strong relationships with a large network of CEO, CIO, CTO, COO, CHRO, Diversity and Learning Colleagues across North America, with International impact.
As a first-generation college student, Melissa is a determined advocate for those who are taking a “road less traveled.” Whether it is hosting a conference, roundtable, one on one coaching or serving as a connector for the determine, yet un-equipped, Melissa has opened doors of opportunity for thousands of individuals. Melissa is proud to have been named a “2020 Top Woman to Watch” by Diversity Journal Magazine. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Women Business Collaborative, and an Advisory Board member for Working Nation.
Melissa resides in Goshen, KY with her husband Michael and their five children. She earned her Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan’s School of Business, an MBA from the John Sperling School of Business at University of Phoenix, and a Bachelor of Science in Literature from Indiana Wesleyan University.
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