This morning, I had the pleasure of going to a local networking breakfast where the featured speaker was Cindi Bigelow, CEO of Bigelow Tea, which has its headquarters here in Fairfield County. I expected to meet some nice and interesting people and to feel a sense of community, which I did. But I did not expect – on this unassuming, chilly Wednesday – to be so inspired.
Cindi had good stories, and lots of good advice, but a phrase that she referenced over and over again really struck a chord with me: Mission Over Self. She stressed to the crowd that when you are in a challenging or uncomfortable situation with a work colleague, do not react impulsively or emotionally. Take the time to process the moment and focus on Mission Over Self. Then act accordingly.
It took me a few minutes to understand exactly what she meant. At first, I thought she meant having discipline over yourself, or keeping yourself and your actions under control. But I soon came to realize she meant to think of the big picture – whether it’s the mission of your company, or what you intend to get out of the meeting you were having. or the outcome of the project you are working on – and take yourself out of the equation so you can focus on what you are trying to accomplish.
Of course, we’ve all heard some version of this before in our careers, but the way she thoughtfully continued to remind herself of this within the stressful situations and conversations she had experienced over the years made quite an impression on me. Before you react, think Mission Over Self. Act for the greater good, take you ego out of the equation, and there will be less of a competitive atmosphere and more of a collaborative one so your team can get real work done.
I’m inspired to incorporate this concept into the daily conversations I have with executive-level clients and candidates to see if they use some type of this strategy to manage their teams. It would seem this approach is an effective and thoughtful way to keep your interactions at work professional and productive while fostering a positive environment. Collaboration over competition. Mission Over Self.
I like it. Thanks, Cindi.