By Kathy Coffey / Leadership Snohomish County
Members of the Leadership Snohomish County classes of 2019 are out in the community leading us now, and the classes of 2020 have been selected and are poised to begin. With classroom anticipation in the air for all of us, we have that sense of what is possible. We know that work is needed to get from here to there.
Leadership Snohomish County kicks off our programs next month, but before we do, I find myself reflecting back on the remarks that Arif Ghouse, director of Paine Field, shared with us back in May at graduation. I think revisiting his insights can be very grounding as we transition through the end of summer and look ahead to fall. With his permission, I’m sharing some of his personal thoughts about his professional journey.
“You’re more likely to succeed if you love what you do, and you have a better chance of bouncing back if you run into a bad episode. Of course, many of you are probably already many years into your careers. But don’t be afraid to switch. I started off doing civil engineering but was miserable. No offense to civil engineers! It just was not for me. I switched to business and loved it. Then, by chance, I took a summer job at London Heathrow with British Airways and fell in love with aviation.
“I took a temporary detour into maritime but found my way back, even though that meant taking an initial significant pay cut at the time. I realized that I was happiest in aviation.
“Years later, I’ve realized the career journey never really ends, does it? There’s always another goal to reach. Even after retirement, people still have goals, just different kinds.
“Life is a continuous journey. You might as well enjoy the ride instead of just racing to the end.”
We hear a lot about following your passion — especially at graduations. In the workplace, we talk a lot about metrics, deadlines and return on investment. We value output. A healthy bottom line is vital. How true that our career journey never ends and is just one of the many paths we travel in our life. That brings me back to anticipation and what is possible.
Leadership Snohomish County is celebrating leadership as a non-partisan platform at our fourth annual Leadership Day on Sept. 23. We will be bringing Galen Emanuele as our keynote speaker. He is all about shifting yes! All about potential, possibility and honoring your authentic self and journey. This would not have been possible without the collaboration and support of the Snohomish County Human Resources Association.
As you look to your own life paths, who can you connect with to affirm and see your best self in a new way? I always say that we never see ourselves as others see us. Take time to think about what makes you happy when you do it. When do you feel your best self? What have you finished that feels like time well spent? For Arif, it was aviation. For me, it is community and acting as a champion for the human spirit and the potential of the individual. What makes you feel alive in a way other things don’t?
The Leadership Snohomish County classes this year will begin their journey to create thriving through alignment and engagement in themselves, their teams and their workplace. They will start with identifying their authentic self and their strengths. It is a journey to define purpose and to create the path to get there.
We welcome you to our Leadership Day on Sept. 23 to find out how to shift yes and hear from Galen Emanuele.
Here is just a piece of Galen’s advice on how leaders begin to walk their path: “They’re real and they care. They show up authentically and hit the balance of knowing what to do and inspiring confidence, with knowing how and when to be vulnerable. They don’t rely on title or power to elicit performance from their teams. They earn trust, loyalty, respect and discretionary effort by proving first that they care about people as individuals and have their backs. Great leaders know better than to demand things that can only be given at will; instead they seek to earn them through their actions.”
I trust I will see you on the path. The journey never ends.
Kathy Coffey is executive director of Leadership Snohomish County, the local organization that connects, ignites and develops leaders to strengthen our communities. To learn more about Leadership Snohomish County, visit www.leadershipsc.org.