Episode 28: What Do You Want People To Say About You?

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Hi, I'm Victoria Hefty and welcome to Activate Purpose where I talk about finding purpose through action while balancing motherhood and career. In today's episode, I'm going to share how I came across a question that is helping me to shape, not only how I do my work but how I act and relate to others at work.

So it's 9:00 PM, actually it's a 9:11 on a Wednesday night. I am sipping a cup of, I should say luke warm, dark cherry flavored tea. And most importantly, the kids are asleep. This is the only time I've had today to have a moment to breathe. And I haven't recorded in four weeks because life has been crazy, and so I wanted to take the time to share some updates that have been going on with me, but I'm also share I think one of many concepts that I'm learning, but this particular one that has really been resonating with me over the last few weeks.

As I said, it's been another exhausting day, but I'm still smiling. It doesn't sound like that. Well, now it does. I'm still smiling. It sounds contradictory in many ways, but my days are so full of these like high highs and low lows. So the highs are when I wake up and I don't have to go to an office. I can see both my little preschooler off to her nursery school and then I can be with my infant, and I really enjoy that time in the morning. And then I also have a babysitter come in and do a couple of hours while I'm on calls and get work done. And I just am really, I'd say blossoming and in many ways truly thriving in my new role.

So for those who haven't been listening to me, I've sort of evolved from being a market research consultant, strategy consultant into more coaching and doing leadership development and professional development for an organization. So I'm kind of melding my strategy background, sort of like the skills that I've learned at business school and post business school, along with sort of this new avenue of really sharing my love of, I think learning and professional development and how to just grow as a person. And so for the first time in my life, I'm actually getting paid a significant wage to do something that I truly love. And I don't think I've ever really been able to say that. And so that in and of itself is a huge blessing.

That being said, it's a role that I want to do well in, so that means applying a certain level of excellence that I demand of myself. And so that just doesn't leave a lot of hours in the day once I'm with the kids and then once I do my work and then also to just take care of a home and cook dinner and be with my husband, and there are just not enough hours in the day.

So balancing life and motherhood has been difficult. And so I don't think there's any reason to hide that; it just has been. And at the end of the day, I just ... I usually just get in bed and I'm like, "Okay. I made it. I made it through the day. I don't know how, but I made it." And like I said, I'm learning to use the babysitter a couple of times a morning, usually two to three mornings a week. I'm learning to delegate more and to take it hour by hour, as I've talked about in my last podcast, like literally distilling it down to, what is one thing that I need to get done today? And that is it. No more massive to-do lists; we're over that.

And I guess I should say why I'm sharing this, right? Is to say that while things are difficult to balance at the moment, I am going to bed feeling professionally just so fulfilled and waking up excited to attack the day. And that actually brings me to today's show and what I want to talk about.

So as I was doing research for this leadership development program or initiative that I'm working on at work ... I always like to listen to podcasts, but I happened to be listening to this podcast. It was on, I guess what people are calling like personal branding. But we don't need to get fancy here. It was an episode by Luvvie Ajayi. And people may know her around her [Love 00:04:31] Nation. If you don't, she's got a great Ted Talk as well as a great podcast. And I will include links in the show notes. But she was interviewing this famous event planner that throws these amazing events for celebrities. And Luvvie asked her the question, "When you leave the room, what do you want people to say about you?"

And so my ears perked up. I always love a good question or challenge. And so I immediately hit pause. I didn't want to hear what the woman was going to say because I just ... I don't know, I was in the moment and I was like, "Oh, let me hit pause." And so my mind started working and I started thinking about, "Well, how would I answer that?" And then I realized that actually this is part of a bigger story because whatever I put down as my answer actually has implications for how I relate to other people, how I act in a room. And I had, before I even like I said, wrote out my answers, I realized that it was forcing me to think about whether my actions at work or interacting with people, are they taking away from what I say I want to be known for?

And so what, I'm sure you guys are curious what I wrote down. Well, here it goes, again, no judgment. This is just for me, and I think it's important to share it. I'm not worried if someone thinks it's arrogant or not interesting. This is just me sharing my truth so to speak. And so the question again was, "When you leave the room, what are three things you want people to say about you?" Well for me, I would love it if people said these three things. One, Victoria was full of joy. Two, Victoria helped me rethink how I was framing a question in my head or challenged me to just be a better person. And three, Victoria was a force to be reckoned with.

So let's break that down. I know that last one might, you know, rub some people the wrong way, but again this is just my journey. So the first one, Victoria was full of joy. So this is something that I just try and bring into every ... I don't know, into every conversation in some way shape or form, even if it's ... It doesn't have to be all smiles and giggles all the time, but I do want them to know and to feel that there is a sense of joy that I think carries me through the day and that is something that is very genuine to me. People always say they can hear my laughter down the hallway, and I just want that to be something that resonates with people because I do think that joy spreads. And so that was one that I think was the first one that immediately came to mind. I want them to say that she was full of joy.

And then two, what I've really been thinking about around this, you know, "She helped me rethink how I was either thinking of something or a question I was asking myself or even challenged me to be better." This is the result, I think, of a lot of the more formal coaching that I've been doing, but also I think informal interactions as I've been on this journey of my podcast and sort of self discovery. One of the things that I'm trying to do for myself is really question my limiting beliefs, and what are the things that I've been telling myself that have been either holding me back or just not letting me see my full potential?

And so I've sort of been paying it forward, shall we say, and using that with the people that I coach or the people that I work with and saying ... For example, someone can be like, "I really wanted to apply for that job, but I just don't think it's ... I'm not qualified. It's not the right fit." And I forced them to sort of say ... or I forced them and I tell them like, "Why is that? Why do you believe that?" And so we sort of dig down. And then I think nine times out of 10 people realize there's nothing holding them back except for themselves. If they don't have the skills that they need, for example, for that job, they usually have the ability to either show that or reflect that in their resume and they haven't been or to do a passion project that shows that. There's all of these different things.

But I guess the whole point is it's something that I've been putting my hat on and making sure that in my interactions with people I try and think of ways to challenge themselves to be better, to rethink how they've been thinking. And I'm even, like I said, I'm applying that to myself as well. So it's been really something important that I've been keeping in mind.

And then the last one, Victoria was a force to be reckoned with. I don't know really what this one means except for it came to mind. And I guess my thinking around it is, I don't want to be ... I want to be someone that leaves an impression, I guess whether good or bad or maybe I'm just being vulnerable here. I want it to be memorable in some way. And I don't mean like celebrity type of thing, but I want to make an impact. I want to make a difference in some way, shape or form. I want someone to have benefited, I think, hopefully from either the knowledge that I bring, or to benefit from my hard work, or to benefit from ... I don't know, just me. Just me, the person, and me trying to be the best person that I can be at the end of the day.

And so I think that that is just part of me waking up and being like, "Eh." Do I just want to be like, "Eh, okay" today? like just average. Or do I want to be someone who's a force to be reckoned with? And in many cases I would say ... I don't know, it has a negative connotation, but it could be a force for good, right? I think sometimes people think that that's a negative thing, but it's not. It just means that I want to have impact and to matter. And so that ... Those, I should say, are the three things that were important for me if I was leaving the room for people to either think or be able to share about me.

And so what are the implications for my work? Like I said, now that ... I think all of these were sort of implied, maybe. I don't want to say all of them, but some of them were, I was already doing perhaps, like full of joy was easy. But I think for the other two, challenged me to be better and a force to be reckoned with, I would say ever since I did this exercise, I now try and leave every meeting or interaction with these things in mind. So, for example, it affects how I talk in a meeting, how I present myself when I'm talking to new clients or new people at work, how I engage with others. And even, oddly enough, how I push myself to speak up when I don't want to necessarily.

So I had this important meeting last week, and I didn't necessarily want to say anything. I was just having a good time sort of soaking in all the information and I realized, "No, you can't be silent and be a force to be reckoned with. You need to speak up and make your presence be known." And so I spoke up, and then I asked a question, and then I sort of pushed back on something that I heard. And it was all because I had done this exercise. I probably wouldn't have done that otherwise without it. It's affected me in a lot of different areas. And so again, it's been a blessing and a wonderful guide to remind me, not just how I want to be remembered when I leave the room, but how I want to be remembered when I'm still in it.

And so I'm going to end with my challenge. And as you can guess, my challenge for you today is this. What are three things that you want people to say about you when you leave the room? And ask yourself, how can you start being the embodiment of that right now? Why wait? Be honest with yourself. Don't be scared. Don't be ... And don't think what you want. Don't write down what you think you want people to know about you, but what you actually want them to remember about you. Be bold in your [inaudible 00:12:50].

And as always, I would love to hear what you come up with, if you feel that you can share that. So if you do, again, I would love to know it. Email me at Victoria@ActivatePurpose.com. And as I said, I'll include links to that podcast in the show notes at ActivatePurpose.com/Episode28. And finally, if you enjoyed today's episode, make sure to leave a review, I really, really appreciate them, and subscribe to the next episode. And thank you again for taking the time to let me be part of your morning, evening, or daytime, whenever you're listening to this. And thank you for being part of my journey.

Until next time, bye.

I'm Victoria, your host.jpg
Activate Purpose