Being Defined vs. Being Meaningful

My daughter Jeri (a high school junior) came home from school yesterday feeling defeated. She had made a B on an AP Psych test. Many of you know how I feel about bringing home B’s! While I have no problem with B’s, I knew how hard she had studied for that test. She had every word and its definition on separate index cards. I reviewed all the words with her, and she didn’t miss any in our practice sessions. She put forth an effort any parent would be proud of. However, the test revealed that the teacher didn’t just want the students to know the definitions. The exam was all about situations that involved having to clearly identify the meaning of the words through circumstances that were being described.

While I was bummed for Jeri because I knew how hard she worked on hundreds of definitions, I was impressed and taken by this learning moment. (more…)

I recently had a conversation with a friend I’ve known for some time. She’s a very accomplished, sophisticated, strategic professional who finds great fulfillment in her work and defines herself, in part, by her career. Needless to say, we have a lot in common! Haha.

Her career, however, has undergone a lot of changes lately. The corporation where she works is going through some major restructuring. Some of her responsibilities are being delegated. Her title is being downgraded (though her pay and expertise in advising peers will remain the same). For a producer who has defined her success by accomplishing tasks and making decisions, the changes haven’t been necessarily welcome or easy to accept, at least at first.

Yet, instead of focusing on all the things she didn’t like or couldn’t change, my friend and I decided that this new reality gave her an opportunity to redefine how she views success. (Hint: it shouldn’t lie in our title or position.) (more…)