HBR has a newsletter series for young leaders called Ascend. In last weeks publication the readers were encouraged to conduct a values test. And so I did. I mean I had the time and I do enjoy these reflective exercises that help me learn more about myself . I won’t go into mechanics of it. You can read it here. But I was happy with where I landed with it. A five bullet summary. The exercise is open ended in terms of how you arrive at the conclusion, based on the categories you divide your values in. I divided them based on aspirations, needs, joy, seek, living values. Here’s my summary –

I aspire to be a visionary leader who leads with humility.

I need independence and autonomy to execute.

I enjoy recognition and growth.

I seek balance and challenge in my life. Those are the two guard rails I work within.

I am a passionate, cheerful, credible and responsive professional who values accountability, teamwork and relationships.

Now pairing that with my strengths finder results – Responsibility , Futuristic, Activator, Relator and Communication, makes a sum total of who I am and who I want to be. Take it or leave it.

As I took some time off to reflect on my journey thus far I realized how grateful I am to have my way, despite the economy, and all odds. I’ve been able to keep my portfolio diverse, and rich with high quality projects and accomplishments. It was a good mix of the help of a lot of leaders, a stroke of luck, and sheer hard work that I don’t shy from that got me here.

Sometimes people think I am on some quest. As if I want to make it to the next level in some hurry. Quite the opposite. As my biggest critic I am painfully aware of my short comings. But what I cannot tolerate is unfair attribution of success. I want credit for my effort. And I want that recognition and growth that comes with it. And if I don’t deserve it I will accept. But I cannot hear bravo, you are not there yet! Reserve the bravo for when I am there. I can deal with a slow progress. I just want honest evaluation and fair attribution of my work. That’s all. It sometimes frustrates me when I don’t hear what I should do more. I like actionable feedback that I can use to become better. I don’t like vague feedback and I don’t like the guessing game.

I am at an interesting point in my career. When I joined Google if someone had asked me what role I want, it is this role that I am playing now. So it took me five and a half years and a few u-turns but I am here. And when I saw it I knew it. You cannot take the consulting DNA out of me. What does this mean in the long run though? I don’t know. And I don’t want to ask.

In the long run I want to be satisfied and happy. Whatever path takes me there, I will take that. I didn’t chalk out my path thus far. One thing led to another. I am not a career enthusiast. I am a hard working professional who seeks joy in working with good people. That’s all. On my way way I started leading them. It gave me joy seeing them grow. I grew with them. My aspirations are humble. And are true to my strengths and values. That’s all that matters.

So cheers to another role and another phase. May it be a fulfilling one. And may I find joy in the company of the people I work with. May we all grow together and have a lot of fun while doing so. And may we share honest and trustworthy feedback with each other so that we can all become better versions of ourselves. And if we just get that out of this journey, it will be enough. Amen 🙏

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