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What Shape are You?

My post before this was a kind of therapy / Buddhism / personal growth kind of deal, but I also spend a lot of time thinking about how to run effective teams and to be a responsible, thoughtful manager of people. It is my work: I am a lead engineer at Bungie, an independent video game developer of about 300 employees (though not for long, we're growing.) There are some unique aspects to making videogames, and I'll use game development terminology here as I refer to, say, texture artists or sound designers or programmers, but when I talk to friends in different creative industries - film, industrial design, other software development - I find these themes are pretty universal.

If you're going to manage people, you're going to have a lot of conversations about employee performance. It's just bound to happen. Sometimes, like during reviews, it might seem excessive. You might wonder if's worth all the time it takes. It is. It's OK that you spend a bunch of time on this. As a manager, that is your job. It's your job to have well-formed opinions about how you evaluate people and how you work with them to help them grow. If you aren't spending time on that, then you may be succeeding as a leader, but probably not as a manager. Apples and oranges.

It is, however, important to spend this time well. During conversations about performance, everything you talk about should boil down to one thing: the value they contribute to the team. What is their value, and how can they become more valuable?

I find a lot of review conversations tend to focus on strengths, weaknesses, and specific work results. These seem like reasonable topics, and there's value there, but I also find this often leads to a review that looks like this:

I Don't See Purpose or Fulfillment

On V Executive Coaching

A large majority of people go through out their entire lives feeling as if something is missing. More money, more vacations, more pleasure, or maybe more happiness, all seem to be at the solutions to this feeling of half-full. All these answers seem to make others happy but does it make them feel complete and fulfilled?

There is a very special group of people who have to go through the tribulations of mental disorders but for the majority of the human population, that is not the case. A large amount of people often confuse their empty feeling with depression and anxiety disorders but the truth of the matter is that is not the root. Finding the root is one of the most sought out mysteries of today’s society. You can find thousands upon thousands of related research or medicine that seems to cure this emptiness. Unfortunately the majority of the solutions are only half-baked. They offer a temporary and situational relief from the pains and agony that haunt our everyday lives. That’s exactly it though, it is sadly, ever so temporary. Doctors will more often than not prescribe anyone who is looking for mental relief, an anti-depressant. Now there is no denying that there is a group of people with real neuro-chemical imbalances that are so severe that it exhibits signs of cognitive degradation. That very small group of people on this world can be positively affected by the anti-depressants. Unfortunately, for the majority of individuals who are searching for some ease on their worries don’t truly require medication.

Think of it this way, imagine you are building the tallest skyscraper (your mind) but you are still stuck on the foundation which has some cracks in it (your anxiety or problems.) Now how does one fill the cracks to your foundation? You can mask the problems by simply putting a piece of cardboard over the cracks. But you can’t build a skyscraper on a half-baked filling of the cracks. No, the building will come tumbling in on itself. Instead you can fill in the cracks with cement and then only then can you truly build a skyscraper where the sky is the limit. You can have a stable and fulfilled foundation that allows you to evolve into a better image of yourself than the day before.

The cement that fills you is created from a special mixture of ingredients in your life, passion, hope, joy, and security. Do you truly know what you’re passionate about? I’m not talking about what you’re good at or what you find easy to do but what moves you. The activity that moves your spirit when you think of it, when you feel it, when you see someone else doing it, that is your passion. When your passion is uncovered you can experience hope, a deep desire for positive outcome. And when you know your future is brighter than the rising sun, then you can feel true joy. Finding not only big events in your life as pleasurable but finding the minute by minute experiences of everyday life beautiful. And finally when you can see the once invisible golden tone that beautiful things emit, a profound sense of security will come over you. For when you feel the raging passion inside you, see beauty in mundane occurrences, and witness the irrefutable success that awaits in your future, you find comfort. Comfort that everything is going to be ok, that no matter how much debt you have, no matter how wobbly or insecure your foundation may have been yesterday, today is going to be ok. And so will tomorrow, and the day after that, and the week after that, everything is going to be ok. Feel secure, my friends, for a life waiting to be filled awaits you tomorrow.

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