New Job, Mistakes, Travel, Family, and Discovering My “Why”

dr demma.JPGIt’s been a wild two months. Here are some updates on starting my new job.

Traveling 40,000 Miles in 10 Weeks

It’s been fun, exciting, challenging, and exhausting all at the same time. 8 of those 10 trips were to the west coast, and 6 of the 10 weeks were to places I’ve never been before. It’s great to see new parts of the country like Arizona, up and down California, Washington State, Indiana and British Columbia. I’m becoming a business travel ninja a la George Clooney in “Up In The Air.”

I’m working on making my travel time more productive and more restful. It’s hard to stick to my diet and exercise routines, but not impossible, and I make most of my mistakes when I’m tired. I’m getting better at sleeping or meditating on planes and cutting out alcohol helps since even 1 beer seems to throw off my sugar levels enough to disrupt my sleep and make me crave junk food.

My Awesome New Job and Some Mistakes I’ve Made

NVA is as great of a company as I thought it would be. The senior leadership team and my support partners are smart and energetic and it feels like the company is growing every day. My coworkers have been exceptionally welcoming and open. I am inheriting an excellent field leadership team and we will be supporting a great group of doctors, staff, and hospitals, many of whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting during my travels. Their energy and passion around their practices is inspiring, and I hope to be able to lead and support them to achieve their goals in the coming months and years.

Contrary to the absurd and unrealistic expectations I have for myself, I have made some mistakes during my on-boarding. They’re mostly centered around my ambition to start contributing quickly and my obsession with getting things done, a personality trait of mine that can quickly oscillate between a gift and a fatal flaw.

My first mistake was not recognizing that you don’t get to bring your track record with you to your new job. Over the course of a decade or so, I built up a pretty good (not perfect) reputation for myself at my last company, and that gave me a foundation of credibility for my interactions with coworkers. It wasn’t until a week or so ago that I realized that my reputation had stopped preceding me, and that I was coming across as overly confident and overly opinionated.

The second mistake I’ve made has been underestimating how different the culture is on the west coast. I was told that the people would be more “laid back”, but being out west is more like being in a totally different ecosystem. I remember experiencing this to lesser degree after my last two moves. Connecticut was different than New York, and Virginia was different than Connecticut, but this is a bigger leap. Sometimes it’s fine, and my east coast way of being is kind of charming, in a quirky way. But sometimes I come off as blunt, cold, and too focused on the business of getting things done. It’s tricky thing because if I don’t adjust my style enough it will make leading others difficult, but if I change too much I could become inauthentic, someone I’m not, or someone I might not want to be.

The good news is, I do believe that you get second chance to make a first impression, and a third for that matter. I’m still here and I’m going to keep trying to get better. I’m a bit of an acquired taste.

Family Updates

Moving to Seattle is proving to be every bit the challenge we thought it would be. The cost of living is very high, and the real estate market is so hot that good rentals get snatched up in a day.

We are eager to move. It will be great to be rid of the uncertainty that comes with not knowing where we’ll be living, and once I live in my market I’ll be traveling overnight much much less. That being said, June and July are busy months, so we’re shooting for an August 1st move now.

Jack, at 6 years old, has been a little emotional about the move. He was 3 when we moved to Virginia, and even that was harder on him than we thought it would be. Now with his kindergarten graduation right around the corner he’s getting a little sad about leaving his teacher and friends behind. I think he’s equally excited though, especially about some of the great things the Seattle area offers like the idea of getting out on the mountains this winter.

Our extended family and friends have been super supportive, so thank you to everyone for the words of encouragement and advice. I also found out that an old friend from high school is moving to Seattle about the same time as us, which I’m pumped about.

I’m doing a lousy job keeping in touch with my old coworkers, so I’m sorry about that. Miss you guys, and hope you all had a great week at BEDtalks.

My wife is doing an amazing job on the home front. She is definitely better at her job than I am at mine. Thanks to her Jack is doing great at school and with soccer, Gracie is loving ballet and ‘nastics, and baby James is happy as ever scooting around the house. Everyone is excited to see me when I get home, the house is clean, and everything is running like a well-oiled machine. Did I mention she’s amazing?

Discovering my “Why”

I recently finished a book called “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek at the recommendation of my new company. The concept is simple. Sinek suggests that understanding “Why” we work is more powerful for creating long term success and fulfillment than understanding “what” we do or “how” we do it. I’m sure I’ll write a full post on this someday, but after reading the book and going through some exercises, here is the latest draft of my Why Statement: “To challenge myself to be a better leader so we can achieve greatness.” Explains a lot, I reckon.

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2 thoughts on “New Job, Mistakes, Travel, Family, and Discovering My “Why”

  1. Good morning John. I admire your energy and enthusiasm. Congratulations on your new move and position and wish you the absolute very best for you and your family in self-fulfillment and health

  2. Hi John, another great blog. You definitely stepped outside of your comfort zone and i know you will be able to “modulate” in your new career path. I am glad to hear that your 3 kids are doing well, having a face to the names makes it more emotional. Your team misses you and would love to catch up 1 more time before you and the family heads west.
    ~ Mark

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