January 7, 2020 Cory Carlson

Do you think you matter? Make sure you do.

Christmas and New Years were incredible for my family.  During the break, we celebrated in three different cities – Cincinnati, Kansas City (my side of the family), and West Plains, MO (Holly’s side).   We even spent our first actual Christmas as just our family of 5 – it was even the first for Holly and me during our 20-year marriage!  So an incredible and memorable time.

However, I hit a low right around New Years Day. 

Did you? 

Maybe I was missing the adrenaline of work, or the never-ending pull to get stuff done.  I don’t know if it is my Enneagram #3 wiring and the need to always be achieving.  Or my temptation of Approval (I talk about the 3 temptations Approval, Appetite, and Ambition in my book that the devil uses against us).

Regardless, I felt defeated.

I was wondering, ‘Do I matter?’  ‘Am I even making a difference?’ 

I know what fueled it.  I was scrolling social media and seeing everybody’s 2019 highlights and 2020 goals.  On a good day, I can handle seeing everybody’s highlight reel.  Matter of fact, the majority of the time, I actually find it inspiring.  However, this time the devil was gaining ground.

To my surprise, (although I shouldn’t be surprised anymore 🙂 ) God was already at work.  Right then, I received an encouraging email from somebody who worked for me 3 years ago – and we have not talked since! 

The email goes on for numerous paragraphs to talk about how our short time together has made a lasting impression on him. Enough to even make some life-changing decisions. 

As I thought more about it, I realized this is what it is all about. Each day we are to be making investments in people, whether we see the result or not. If we go after each day, each conversation, each meeting with the intentionality of how can we plant a seed, how we can invest in them, then we are doing our job.

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So maybe at times, we don’t feel like we matter, however, if we are intentional with our interactions, then we are making a difference. 

Granted we don’t always get lucky enough to get an email or a note that we made a difference, so we have to be careful do not use that as a measure of success. But have faith you are making a difference. But have faith you are making a difference!

I don’t share this email from my friend to brag, but instead to remind each of us that when we are intentional it matters.  We are making a difference.  Reality is only a super small percentage every circle back to say thanks, but we need to have faith that we are planting seeds.

In my reflection on this, here are a few reminders I had that may help you as well.

What is your ‘why’ behind your work? 

At the time this guy worked for me, I was operating under my life vision of “connecting people to greater performance, and even more significant purpose”, which I still do to this day. So although I was President of Sales for a national contractor with 30 sales reps, during my time in that role, I had shifted my ‘why’ from being just about the bottom line to instead about purpose and people.

  • How can you make your ‘why’ and purpose of your work be more about the people than the profit?

How are you investing in those you lead?

This individual was busy in their life and I was trying to help get them gain margin and direction. Granted some of my questions to this individual were selfish because I was trying to get him more productive for the company, I also knew his pace was not sustainable. So, I was helping him think through what to prune and what to pursue.

  • How can you ask questions to people to help them improve their life? their schedule? relationships?

What can you do to be more present?

I know over the years of traveling with sales associates, sometimes you are present, other times you may be in California making sales calls, but you spend the whole time in between appointments on the phone with a rep in another state. Thus you are not present mentally. Or even if not on the phone, you are just looking forward to getting back to the hotel or home.

  • How can you be more present when you are with your coworkers?

How can you get God involved?

Over the years my questions and statements to employees got more pointed or personal because I was asking God for help.  Instead of just winging it, or playing it safe, I was going to God for help on how to lead my team.

  • How can you be more intentional throughout the day to ask God for guidance in conversation with your direct reports?

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Here is one more clip from my friend’s email to inspire us all that change can happen in not only our own lives but those we lead and invest in.

So, the summary is – to keep investing in others.  It matters and so do you.

Thank you for reading,

Cory

If you are looking to grow more in your leadership at home and work, check out my new book, Win at Home First. This book was #1 Amazon new release in 3 different categories, and appeared in FORBES as ‘7 Books Everyone on Your Team Should Read.‘ Thanks for your support and let me know if I can help you grow!

Cory Carlson

Cory Carlson is passionate about connecting people to greater performance and more significant purpose. Cory's competency of extensive sales/marketing and team development mixed with character of helping people have greater impact allows him to transform businesses and their leadership. As the leader goes, so does the company...and home. Cory's professional experience includes being President of Sales for national contractor, interactions with private equity ownership, boardroom meetings, to sales call with sales personnel. Coaching experience ranges from one-on-ones with CEOs/Executives to team workshops/retreats. If looking for holistic growth, let's connect!