Challenge, Teach, and Push

This tweet via Bill Gates is exceptionally useful:

Thanks Bill!

Bill went on to tweet a bunch of different things to the class of 2017 but it was #7 that really caught my attention.

Meanwhile, surround yourself with people who challenge you, teach you, and push you to be your best self.

He mentions how his wife, Melinda, does that for him and I found myself silently nodding in my head as I think about my own spouse and partner who’s stuck by me over the last 12+ years that we’ve been together.

It also requires a moment of reflection and it begs the question for you, and for me… are we the type of people that challenge, teach, and push others to be their best selves?

Or, do we (intentionally or… unintentionally…?) do more harm than good, intimidating folks into action (or inaction), demanding that people do things our way, and generally desiring others to be anything but their own best self?

I’d like to think that over the course of my short-but-ever-expanding career that I’ve been able to challenge and teach and empathetically push people to become a better version of themselves but that’s probably not true.

I can remember my first time as a manager and how careless I was with people’s minds and hearts and how ignorantly callous I was to their needs. I didn’t do it maliciously but I also didn’t engage with the person where they were and actively listen to what was really going on.

Now, as a slightly older person, I think on how I could have done an infinitely better job and yet, at the exact same time, I’m not entirely sure how I could have learned some of these object lessons without failing my way through them.

Perhaps I just hope that the folks that encountered an earlier version can forgive my shitty behavior and poor leadership skills. In fact, they were a smart group and I’m sure they knew that I was inexperienced and ill-equipped to do a great job. Oy vey…

The goal, of course, is to do a better job the next time I’m at bat. And after that… a better job still. And after that…

Also published on Medium.