knowing when to level up


I had a lovely Mother's Day:  I got breakfast in bed, Marcus cooked me a wonderful dinner, and we watched Black Panther again -- my choice.  I also received a lovely silver bracelet I'd had my eye on (from Marcus), and a little desk nameplate that says BEST MOM EVER (from Alex).  And I also got a little bonus gift -- the mug in the picture above.  It says, "You are a good mom" on the front, but note that at the top on the inside of the mug, it adds, "That's all."

This might be my favourite Mother's Day gift of all time.

I love it because I'm a constant tea-drinker, and I love a mug that has some heft to it, which this does.  But I especially love it because this mug is so Alex.  My daughter is nothing if not understated, and a hallmark of her understatement is her incredibly dry wit.  She bought me this mug because she got the joke -- it's the anti-effusive-wind-beneath-my-wings sentiment that is so prevalent in Mother's Day gifts.  It's like she's saying "you are currently meeting all maternal expectations."  I couldn't stop laughing when I received it.  (And I was also really touched that she made sure I understood she was joking with the little BEST MOM EVER nameplate that was also tucked in the gift bag.)

I've used this mug probably a dozen times since receiving it yesterday (did I mention I'm a constant tea-drinker?), and while it's obviously about motherhood, it actually has me thinking about work.  I mentioned last week that I'm working on "engineering big," and as part of the time that I've been taking to plan just that, I've begun realizing just how comfortable I've been in my work for the last few years.  

I am a good speaker. 

I am a good blogger. 

That's all.  

I am "currently meeting all speaker/blogger expectations."  And of course, that's good.  But is that enough?

The idea that this was enough was starting to make me uneasy a couple of months ago, and it's for this reason I've been spending the quiet time I currently have between travel gigs to focus on leveling up.  What would it look like to exceed expectations?  Is "speaker/blogger" what I want to be known for?  And if not, what?  And how will I make that happen?  And why is it important for me to do so?

As I go through this process, I realize that it has been an incredible gift to be in this down time to ask myself these questions.  And I'm also realizing that I need to periodically ask myself these questions -- because that's how growth happens.  


Soundtrack:  Thunder by Imagine Dragons