Profile in Bravery: A Small Giant

This is a story about showing up.

This is a story about taking small steps to get to the big leap.

This is a story about perseverance and the pursuit of better.

This is a true story about bravery. This is a true story about Meg.

I became acquainted with Meg over the past several months as she attended several workshops I facilitated around different aspects of job transition. Invariably, she was the smallest in stature of the 30+ professional men and women in the room.

And yet, through every round of introductions, at every opportunity to learn or respond take the initiative, Meg stood a head taller than everyone else. She had a polite intensity, always gracious, a keen listener, welcomed comments and responded thoughtfully. Meg seemed very much in control. 

Over other sessions, I learned more and more about Meg's unflappable spirit. She was relentless in her pursuit of landing the right position – a task which requires considerable effort in seeking and building new relationships.

Her consistent initiative to reach out and meet new people flew in the face of all our insights.

A top fear among executives is meeting new people, networking and putting oneself out there. 


And that includes professionals at all levels – from executives with 15+ years of experience under their belts to those just starting out, cutting equally across genders. Our research shows that a substantial reason for this is most feel they don’t know how to begin a conversation, let alone keep it engaging. And contrary to what all those popular listicles would have you think, it’s not merely a millennial issue either. 

Meg never let the obstacles of meeting new people and entering new organizations for interviews in a tough, competitive market get her down or slow her momentum. She became a role model of bravery through her consistent and gracious perseverance (I confess, I admired her math wizardry too). 

Within a few months of our first meeting, she came by my office to discuss an offer she received from a top global financial services organization. A couple of days later she came by again, sealed deal in hand. But not for an affirmation of her hard work having paid off or a round of congratulations.

After having gone through the grueling process of transition and succeeding, her first impulse was to ask, “How can I improve myself further?”

Immediately after completing the process of transition, her first impulse was to ask, "how can I improve myself further?" I was speechless. We all know how hard it is to step outside our comfort zone and persist and when we do, we allow some breathing room, even a celebration of sorts before taking on our next goal. Not so here.

She was still deeply curious about learning how to better engage with people and build stronger professional relationships, a skill she thought would be crucial to making an impact in her new position.

Meg exemplifies bravery: always looking for ways to do better; to be better; being comfortable in change and vulnerability. 


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