Sheila Lirio Marcelo is the founder and chief executive of Care.com. Early in her career she had the foresight and personal courage to challenge herself by hiring an executive coach. Not many people are willing to undergo the kind of intense scrutiny that is involved in having a high caliber person look over your shoulder and tell you how to change. Fewer yet have the ability and will to follow council and actually change.
In Marcelo’s words*:
“The first thing she gave me advice on, and I give it to everybody, is to journal. Write things down. When you come out of a meeting, or you come out of an interview, or you just finished running a session, what’s on your mind? How did it make you feel? How did you make people feel? What’s going on? Again, it was raising my self-awareness around my management style. (It) was critical.
“…(T)hen she taught me a lot about meditation. At first, I will tell you, it was the hokiest thing I’d ever heard. Why would I even consider this meditation thing? And now I meditate. It’s this belief around “turning the mind into an ally,” and there’s actually a great Buddhist monk who wrote a book with that title. It’s about how you talk to yourself. And it’s getting to know yourself.
“The key thing is self-stability. People ask me all the time: How do you juggle so much? You’ve got kids. You’re running a company. You do it all. And I always tell them: It’s not really doing it all. It’s learning to kind of manage my mind and create the stability. And it’s not always balanced. It’s not always great. And I have to do a constant check-in with myself to just say, O.K., I’m doing O.K. I’m going to get through this day.”
It is enlightening and empowering to take just a few moments at the end of each day to reflect back on it, to write down your thoughts and triumphs and stumbles, the lessons and impressions. It quiets and stills the mind, refreshes, renews, and rejuvenates.
“We should every night call ourselves to an account; what infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abort of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.” – Seneca
“I am, indeed, a king, because I know how to rule myself.” — Pietro Aretino, Italian author, playwright, poet; 1492–1556
“He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.” — Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher, founder of Taoism, author of “Tao Te Ching”; 600 BC-531 BC
* The New York Times, The Corner Office, August 7, 2010