Have you ever had an “ah-ha!” moment? It’s that moment in your life, or in your career, that initiates a change in how you think, work, live, etc.
I recently had a few “ah-ha!” moments myself around the work I do at Cisco. (It’s truly one of the best places to grow both professionally and personally. I love it here.)
Cisco has been putting a lot of focus on what makes great teams succeed. I was asked to participate in a Beta program of a new tool – that will roll out to all of Cisco soon – called TeamSpace.
This platform is designed to serve the needs of the team and the team leader. One great part of the tool is that when you start, you take a StandOut assessment (based on StandOut 2.0 by Marcus Buckingham.) Think of it as a personality test, but for your career strengths. This tool gave me my first “ah-ha!” After completing the assessment, it described me as a “Bright Light.”
My top standout roles fall into three spaces: a connector, an influencer and an advisor. I see things as one plus one makes three. I live to influence people to take action and connect them to resources and most importantly people that can benefit their life in some capacity.
I was blown away by this information because it reminded me of what truly drives me to excellence, and fit in perfectly with my life motto of “Leading with integrity to courageously inspire change.”
What was most interesting after I dug into the information further, this confirmed (what I probably already knew about myself) that I was in a role that did not align to my strengths but was heavily loaded with tasks that drained me. Another “ah-ha!” for me. It was like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders and prompted me to change my career path and pursue my passion: marketing, innovation and diversity.
I began to share this with fellow colleagues and family members and granted the opportunity to share my “Aha Moment” with the Cisco Global Connected Black Professional organization (an Employee Resource Group within Cisco). With over a 100 people attending globally, I was able to encourage them to complete the assessment and begin that journey to self-discovery.
Now, I understand ME, and what makes the best ME I can be. I started with a goal to stand tall and accept who I am. (I’m a 5’10” black woman, and it can be difficult to own this height when you have been the tallest kid in the class, family, and office; taller than most of the men in the room, so there was double meaning here.) Now, I’m following my dreams.
I had great role models. My father started his newspaper and radio station in a time where black people weren’t necessarily starting media outlets in the south. He is now struggling with Alzheimers and Parkinsons and fighting to hold onto the memories of his legacy. My mother is another source of inspiration. She recently won her fight against breast cancer and in the same year, wrote her very first book. Their love, their examples and their encouragement motivates me, and in this instance, Cisco not only gave me the tools I needed but the opportunities to take control of following in their footsteps and making my own mark on the world.
Want to join a great Cisco team? Join us!
See the LinkedIn post that Modupe wrote that inspired this post!