Glennon Doyle is an American author known for her New York Times bestsellers Love Warrior and Carry On, Warrior. She is also an activist, thought leader and president of Together Rising, an all-women-led nonprofit organization that has raised over $25 million for women, children and families in crisis.
Her newest book, Untamed, isn't the most obvious choice for a professional development read, but reading it brought to mind several business lessons.
Unconscious bias, internalized sexism and racism
Doyle is very open about her struggles with mental illness and how when she was a child dealing with an eating disorder, therapists and doctors wanted to "fix" her instead of fixing the toxic messages she received from the world around her.
Doyle relates that experience to sexism, unconscious bias and internalized racism. Sexism, racism and bias are so embedded into society's fabric that many people don't recognize they're there. We need to be honest with ourselves, learn to recognize the embedded biases, expectations and beliefs, and do the work to unteach ourselves. Without that uncomfortable and hard work, we will continue to have organizations and systems that harm and exclude people of color and keep women out of leadership positions.
Struggle leads to growth
Doyle says the goal of parenting today is never to allow anything difficult to happen to your child. Children are led to believe they win every competition they enter, everyone likes them and they must be constantly entertained. As a result, they're shielded from experiencing – and learning to process – uncomfortable human emotions. People who don't fail, don’t grow. That struggle and growth process is how we learn to have empathy for others.
In life and business, failure is an opportunity. People with a growth mindset know that failure is a necessary stop on the road to success. When we try something new and face failure, it's an opportunity to learn, change tactics or apply extra effort to improve your results.
Uncomfortable truth is better than comfortable lies
Doyle writes, "Every truth is a kindness, even if it makes others uncomfortable. Every untruth is an unkindness, even if it makes others comfortable."
I can think of several ways this relates to work. In talent management, most people have dealt with a toxic person in the firm. Everyone knows the person's negative attitude is infecting the rest of the team, but nobody wants to hurt their feelings by addressing the issue. This isn't a kindness – it's unkind because that person will never learn and grow to become a welcome and productive team member.
This also applies to sales conversations. How many times have you lost an existing or potential client because someone isn't giving the full truth about their needs or expectations? People need to hear the truth, even if it's hard. That's the only way we can move forward.
Write your goals down
Doyle talks about journaling as a step between discovering her vision and making it a reality. She writes, "As every architect or designer knows, there is a critical step between vision and reality. Before imagination becomes three-dimensional, it usually needs to become two-dimensional. It's as though the unseen order needs to come to life one dimension at a time."
If your firm's vision and strategic plan aren't written down, they're just dreams. The process of writing things down forces you to clearly define your goals and bring clarity to your intentions, making it more likely that you'll achieve them.
I loved Untamed, and the essays in the book helped me connect several thoughts. Whether you read it for pleasure or professional development, it can really make you think about who you are and the impact you can have.
Do you want the tools and accountability to start from where you are now and get where you want to be?
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As a Solutions Advisor for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Megan works to provide the highest level of client service to existing and new clients through building and maintaining relationships. Her primary focus is on Vendor/Sponsor relationships. Megan is passionate about helping clients excel through Boomer Consulting Services.