Ninety Days into my new role with Align Technology, and I am loving life. The joy I get from working with our leadership team, as well as our Early-In-Career group, provides different perspectives on how I can positively impact our future generations. Each week is different with focused time spent with both groups. I am fortunate to have a strong group of leaders to work with, learn from, and challenge me daily. Thank you Joe, Josh, Alex, and Joel for the selfless daily commitment you display to developing others.
One of the projects we give our Early-In-Career team is to have them conduct a 5 minute Ted Talk on any topic they want and present it back to their peers. This is usually our first chance to see each individual’s baseline presentation skills and how they share information to influence a group setting. There are a lot of nervous feelings before these presentations, and that is common. The current class we have is our 23rd class since this program started, and when I see the talent we have brought in with Classes 21,22, and 23, I know that our future is very bright. The topics consistently change from class to class and here are the topics presented during the most recent Ted Talks and how I left this 90 minutes inspired to be better:
- Handling Adversity is an essential component of life
- Overcoming Disappointments – Don’t fear failure; embrace it
- Eat More Sugar!
- A 30-minute “Hot Girl Walk” can help you decompress from a hectic day
- Embrace past experiences, both the happy and sad
- Self-Care is important
- The positives of being an organ donor
- Trying a new hobby like golf made her feel refreshed with early morning weekend tee times
- Travel Internationally
- Run towards a storm like the buffalo
- Need to re-watch Reservoir Dogs
- Develop a growth mindset and not a fixed mindset
- Need for commitment and sacrifice – “Things don’t happen to us; they happen for us”
- Be self-disciplined like Michael Jordan, the best basketball player ever
- Have Faith that everything is going to work out by taking risks, working hard, and being agile
- Overcoming Imposter Syndrome which is a collection of feelings of being inadequate despite success
- Rely on your friends and support network to turn bad habits and depression into great habits and positive outcomes
- Live in the moment and watch the road
I think we are going to invite more departments into our next Ted Talks session with Class 24. Hearing this younger generation talk about personal obstacles they have encountered, being open, and presenting authentically with emotion was so refreshing to hear. It was a great way to end a crazy Thursday.
It also reinforced to me that this millennial and Gen Z generation has a different mindset at work and at home than what I do. They are very critical of themselves. If they accomplish 20 tasks in a day with 19 being positive and 1 being negative, they usually only focus on the negative. Our job in developing them in their career is to provide them with the knowledge and skills to be successful and to pick them up when they stumble. We use the mindset of “Never expect to fail but when you do, learn to accept it and learn from it”. Some of the most important growth in my life occurred when I started a project, and it failed.
This younger generation is also very open to sharing their personal experiences of success and failure, whereas my generation rarely shared the negatives of life. My generation viewed these signs of vulnerability as being weak. This new generation also suffers from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). They want to be involved in everything, and if they miss something, they will quickly conduct a google search or find a youtube video on what they missed. They understand how to be resourceful in this current digital age and are way more conscious than I was at 22 years old.
I recently participated in a leadership workshop that started off with the question “what do you fear” or “what are you most scared of”. It took me a couple of minutes to think through my answer. I had a tough decision in front of me in how I answered this question. I decided to follow the lead set by our Early In Career group, and be vulnerable. My greatest fear is not waking up after falling asleep. Suffering another seizure is still a possibility after last year, as we are still battling the after-effects of cancer. The 6,000 grays of radiation I received over 30+ treatments in June/July of 2022 cause me consistent headaches and tremors in my hands. I am in daily discomfort and have not taken any pain pills since February, yet we continue kicking cancer’s ass, being in remission since October 2021. I still have an open wound on my forehead with open exposure to the Titanium Mesh plate in my head, which is sort of scary. I will have another 6-hour surgery in November which will have our surgical team conduct multiple tests on my brain and the radiation necrosis I suffer from as they try to close my head once again.
I also have a serious case of FOMO if something were to happen to me. I want to be involved in everything and cannot imagine not being able to see my kids graduate from college or get married. I cannot imagine not being by my wife’s side as we get older. We still set short-term goals to make it to the next holiday, birthday or anniversary (Happy 22nd Anniversary to my wife this week). But I am so happy to be alive today, taking no days for granted. I love being a part of live and in-person daily interactions at work and even went to my first live and in-person concert in July with Connor and Christy, seeing Whiskey Myers and Shane Smith and the Saints play for three hours on a rainy Saturday night (Picture included in this post). Being able to attend soccer games for my kids moving forward is also a blessing. Being back to live and in-person experiences is so great compared to the year of covid and the year of cancer we personally experienced in 2020 and 2021.
Two closing thoughts for today:
1 – Learning is not about the answers given but about asking the right questions to get to these answers.
2 – Emotional intelligence says you must find a way to break the habit of making permanent decisions based on temporary emotions.
Well Done > Well Said