FastTrack is Next Jump’s advanced mentorship program. This past fall, four NxJers were selected to participate—Holly, Tarun, Lokeya and Nayan. In late February they were asked to visit and speak with our CEO’s mentor, Jim Loehr. The following post describes their experience and some key takeaways from their trip.
“How have you all grown at Next Jump?”
Jim Loehr asked me, Tarun, Lokeya, and Nayan this question during Charlie’s presentation of our Culture Deck during our visit to the Human Performance Institute. I wasn’t sure what to expect during our trip, but getting a direct question from Jim Loehr, who has continuously shaped and supported our culture, was unexpected. I would have been thrilled simply to observe and listen intently to the conversation about what makes our culture extraordinarily unique. It was so meaningful that we were brought into this conversation and asked to participate.
The four of us went on to recount various personal stories all with one underlying theme: we felt like we had grown more in the last six months than we ever had before. We have been, and continue to be, challenged through experiences that pushed us far outside of our comfort zones and encouraged us to make mistakes that were crucial to our growth.
For me personally, it meant more than I can adequately express when I was put in charge of HR, despite the fact that I had no HR experience. As I stumbled along in my new role, I made many errors. I never felt discouraged, however, because I was growing, and that growth was supported and encouraged by Next Jump. It’s a familiar story for most Next Jumpers, but I fear we have forgotten that the scope of investment Next Jump makes in personal growth is simply unmatched in other companies. At Next Jump, we believe each person tends towards either arrogant or insecure when in stressful situations, and it’s this imbalance of character that prevents us from achieving our goals. As in tennis, Next Jump encourages us to practice our backhand; in order to become more balanced, we must deliberately practice the weaker side. In other companies the words “arrogant” and “insecure” are taboo.
During our discussion at HPI, Jim mentioned that placing yourself into these buckets of either arrogance or insecurity makes you realize you’re not alone. I deeply appreciate that Next Jump takes the time to help you understand your backhand, and how to exercise it. In fact, Charlie and Meghan took the time to mentor all four of us during our flights. On the flight from New York to Boston, Lokeya and I sat with Meghan and had the opportunity to get her advice on practicing our backhands. The three of us tend toward insecurity, so her advice really resonated with me because we had many similar behavior patterns when stressed. Nayan and Tarun sat with Charlie to discuss their backhands, and on the way back to New York, we switched.
One of the most impactful pieces of advice I got from Charlie was to be selfish. As an insecure person, that idea makes me feel really uncomfortable, but that’s the point. The willpower to practice your backhand isn’t enough; you need to deliberately hunt for practice. The week after I returned from our trip to HPI, I hosted a Coronitas in Boston. I knew that planning the activity would make me feel paralyzed, and so I decided to practice being selfish. I personally enjoy a nice glass of wine to relax, and so I planned a wine and cheese tasting competition. I took something I enjoy and made it into an event for the whole office. By focusing on making the event work for me, it ended up being something that many liked as well. I got a lot of great feedback on it, but my favorite piece of feedback was Greg asking, “What have you done with Holly?” I was doing something very out of character and out of my comfort zone, and that felt great.
I’m honored to be a part of FastTrack 3.0, and in the company of three NxJumpers who I especially admire. Getting to know Nayan, Lokeya, and Tarun before, during, and after the trip was an unintended, amazing result. Our goal coming out of the trip was to hold each other accountable for continued growth. It would be easy to squander this opportunity –to not practice what is difficult for us. We’ve also been holding Brown Bag sessions within our respective offices to share our takeaways. I held the first session, where I normally would get so paralyzed on what to do, I would do nothing at all. We learned so much during our trip, and we want to make sure those lessons are accessible for all Next Jumpers. The sessions have opened up great dialogue around character muscles and helped provide support for each other as we practice our backhands. It’s incredibly challenging to do, but we’re already starting to see our hard work pay off.