Workplace Wisdom for 2022

Dec 14, 2021 Beth Monaghan

Is the tech boom sustainable? Will Omicron worsen the supply chain? What’s the purpose of an office? Will we travel for work? Or stay home?

Our crystal balls mostly told us to buckle in and be ready for anything. That’s why we’re ending the year on a high note by sharing some workplace wisdom. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way: 

Perfectionism doesn’t get you anywhere. It only asks us to judge ourselves and everyone else harshly, which makes it impossible to understand each other. We all need room to try things out and mess up so we can find a new perspective.

Mistakes are misunderstood. Sure, they can be evidence of carelessness, but they can also mean that we danced close enough to the edge to reach for a new move.

Grow into yourself. My people showed up when I took risks and said real things about myself. We often think of mentors as people who gave us an opportunity at work, but mine are the friends who helped me grow into my own skin. 

Make your own path. No one's career (if it's going to be meaningful) is a straight climb up the proverbial ladder. “The trouble with ladders is they give you no room to move around. Just room to fall." Thanks to ⁦⁦Matt Haig⁩ for this wisdom from “The Comfort Book.”

Knowing can’t be forced. Getting stuck in a decision can mean it’s not time to decide. Sometimes we have to just follow the resonance. 

Resistance is a signal. Too much is a sign to shift down and ease up. Too little makes it hard to find a reason for doing it. The right amount is enough to hold your curiosity. It’s a bit challenging at first, but when you press into it you find momentum. 

“Command a room” by being you. The way to command a room is to know your stuff and be your whole self. Sure there are some tips and tricks, like don’t sit in a swivel chair because you’ll look nervous fidgeting, or keep your arms open not crossed so you take up more space. But when you are comfortable with who you are, those things naturally follow. 

Having emotions at work is normal. Because we’re still human when we’re doing our jobs. I’ve cried while addressing the entire Inkhouse team when difficult things were happening — economic downturns, racial injustice, Covid fears... Strength is how we acknowledge feelings and move through them. Courage is being scared or vulnerable or anxious or feeling unequal to the challenge — and doing it anyway.

There’s a difference between winning and being right. When things go wrong, everyone wants to be right. But we keep any good partnership by focusing on the common goal and compromising to get there. Winning might look more like what a lawyer once told me: a good outcome is when both parties are mildly unhappy in the short term, but will be happy in the long term and still respect each other. If we always need to be right, we’ll never find peace. Oh, and sometimes winning is avoiding the fight altogether. 

Embrace feedback, the good and bad. Feedback of any kind shifts from criticism to information when we begin from a place of believing in our own value and knowing what motivates us to keep learning. 

Wishing you happy holidays and a bright New Year! 

Topics: rethINK PR
Beth Monaghan

Since the early days working around her kitchen table, Beth has grown Inkhouse into one of the top independent PR agencies in the country. She’s been named a Top Woman in PR by PR News, a Top 25 Innovator by PRovoke, and an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. Beth designed Inkhouse’s signature Storytelling Workshop to mirror the literary hero’s journey and to unearth the emotional connections that bind an audience to a brand or idea. She also uses narratives to build Inkhouse’s culture, most recently through two books of employee essays, “Hindsight 2020” and “Aren’t We Lucky?”

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