(Re-)focusing on fueling my purpose – my people, my passion, and my pen – was both challenging and infinitely rewarding. And scary. Did I mention ‘scary?’
An Intro from My Dear Friend (Who Happens to Be My Boss).
A Foreword from Kris Fannin:
I believe in hiring and role staffing based on an individual’s passion as opposed to simply career choices. Why? If you’re passionate about something, you will do it better, with less effort and faster than anyone else. It’s true.
Recently, I was quoted in a Spark Hire article about what we ask in the interview process at Intelivate:
“What are you most passionate about?”
What ignites excitement and fire in your heart? The common denominator of success and happiness is painfully simple – it’s our fuel of purpose.
A life fueled by a purpose of passion will always create more passion. Passion begets passion; positivity begets positivity.
So, an interviewee that is able to identify their passion in their career choices is one step closer to being able to work toward – and for – that passion, which will, in turn, yield happiness and, ultimately, success.
I believe in the same approach as a leader and colleague with everyone with whom I partner at Intelivate.
Ebony is one of the most passionate and talented colleagues I’ve had the fortune to work with in my 20 years. I loved her the moment I met her.
As with any relationship, we recently went through some growing pains. We had a month or two of conflict. I am a huge believer that conflict is good if approached correctly.
Conflict is basically a negotiation of ‘your needs coming together with my needs.’ I could tell that something was off – I knew what it was, but my approach is to go through a process of self-awareness as that’s the most effective way for significant and sustainable change.
And as with all good things, it’s not easy.
When Ebony asked for an impromptu video conference one day, I quickly popped on. What happened on that video conference demonstrated one of the bravest, most self-aware and healthy forms of change and accountability.
It demonstrated Ebony’s powerful leadership – of herself and of others.
What she did is something most leaders won’t do but should do. In the end, everyone’s happiness balanced, we figured out a solution and more importantly – Ebony is happy, passionate and that’s brought the successes of her efforts and career choices
Below is the letter she wrote and read to me on that fateful video conference.
The Legend of My Legacy .
It’s a story I’ve told countless times before, but it bears repeating as my legacy is – and has always been – defined by the passion and impact of the people my grandparents influenced.
“We’ve all had dreams. Big, impossibly lofty dreams. And the small, unimaginably humble dreams, like my grandfather’s dream for a can of tuna.
Born the 13th child to an impoverished family in a small Cuban town, my grandfather quit school in the 4th grade to work in construction with his father and brothers to help support his family – and a can of tuna, something so small and seemingly single-serving, was, in fact, a communal family protein.
But he dreamed. And a small dream of a can of tuna became a big dream, an American Dream.
With a young wife and two young sons, he left the only life he had ever known – a life now rife with the impending onslaught of a suffocating and merciless dictatorship – with nothing but change in his pocket and legendary chutzpah in his guts – defying the naysayers, the pessimists, the Communists and all of his friends and family who advised him otherwise.
He had a 3rd-grade education. He didn’t speak the language. He knew no one. And he came alone.”
But he succeeded.
He and my grandmother were people of honor, of infinite integrity. They were humble and were never swayed or driven by ego.
What they had, they earned, brick-by-brick, dollar-by-dollar, neither asking nor expecting anything of anyone.
And where their legacy ended earlier this year, mine continues. My passion – much like theirs – is painfully simple.
My faith. My husband. My children. My family.
Everything could crumble around me, my every worldly possession burn to the ground, and I would still have everything. It’s not a unique sentiment. But recent conversations with you have given me pause.
“Why do you want this?”
You asked me why I wanted ‘this’ – ‘this’ being my leadership role with Intelivate. And I thought I knew. But I took the time to reflect on my career choices.
My mind and my heart have been circling the drain for weeks – but really, if I’m honest in light of all the events this past year – it’s been closer to nine months.
Just breathe, Ebony.
I’ve come to learn that breathing, while biologically an irrepressible human reflex, has become laborious at times; it’s become something I have to remember to do.
But in spite of the sorrow, the conflicts, the growing pains and the tragedies of this year, I know my legacy and the career choices I need to make.
Sure, the reflection was tearful, fearful, painful and confusing, but anything worth doing is worth fighting through and fighting for.
My legacy is, was and always will be my relationships – the tribe of people I’ve collected over time, with whom and from whom I grow – through love, failure, pain, success, and conflict.
I wanted to continue in my current role because – of the three human responses to fight, flight or freeze – I instinctively choose ‘fight.’
The fight to challenge myself.
The fight to be a person of unwavering determination without concession.
Historically, I have always chosen to bleed. To fail. To scare myself.
It is a deeply rooted instinct, but at this moment, over these last few months, and with a ‘Come to Jesus’ recently, I determined what my lesson was: I choose my people, my pen, my passions.
It is rarely easy, but my choice is simple.
A Shift and Reset of Mindset.
Contrary to what instinct says, my legacy with Intelivate is not to prove that I can lead, but rather to accept that I shouldn’t lead. That rather than fighting to prove that I can, the lesson is to accept that I won’t.
But given a continued opportunity with Intelivate, I will excel at what I love professionally – pouring my guts through my pen – and more importantly, I will excel at what I love personally: My tribe. James. Connor. Caleb. My family and friends.
And my Intelivate family, who deserve better than having the pre-qualifier of ‘work’ family.
You are family, period. Like it or not, YOU Kris Fannin, are family. We are family.
A motley crew, a band of misfits, but a family. And I am resolute in my determination to honor this family; I would rather do one thing exceptionally well in my career choices, fueled by passion, than do a litany of things, for the sake of challenge and growth, at the expense of our family.
So I choose integrity. I choose honor. I choose truth. I choose my passions – my people and my pen.
Sure. It’s not technically a ‘pen’ per se but ‘Chromebook’ sounds far less romantic.
It’s all I need; those are my passions, and will forever be my legacy.
I know it; you knew it.
But sometimes, my instinct to challenge myself blurs that focus.
So I ask that you consider this my official letter of ‘resignation’: I resign myself to (re-)focus on and (re-)commit to my passion, that which fuels me, makes me happy, and ultimately, successful – writing – and humbly hope that with your partnership – and more importantly, this Intelivate family – I can do just that for us.