At Next Jump, every new hire goes through PLB – or “Personal Leadership Bootcamp.” PLB is a safe environment for new employees to identify their “backhand” – the thing that holds us back from reaching our full potential – and develop practice grounds to tackle it. New graduate Victor spoke about his experience and how he’s challenged himself to become a leader and project owner through his on-boarding process.
Growing up, I’ve always been really bad at making decisions on my own. Part of it was due to my nature, part of it was because I grew up being babied my mother. Upon entering PLB, I really wanted to tame – or at least put a leash on – this backhand (my weakness/flaw) of defaulting to being spoon fed and of being unable to make decisions without feeling like I need to get someone’s permission first. This was due to negative self-talk: I always told myself I wasn’t good enough, fast enough, or accurate enough.
My backhand was evident from day one at Next Jump. I either kept asking my manager what I needed to do or receded into a complete silo to hide from making decisions. Neither approach was productive. To paint a picture, at one point I must’ve asked Christian a dozen questions in the span of the hour with regard to a project I was working on, to the point that he might as well have just taken the project over! I was used to being told what to do, and I didn’t have the courage or confidence to think for myself. This was also evident in FitNut, our health and wellness team, where I was paralyzed by the responsibility of ordering simply snacks and catering for the entire office. I didn’t really start taking ownership of the role until a month in.
Aware of these deficiencies, I set up practice grounds with my coaches, Talking Partner Premdeep, and manager to tackle this head on. These practices ranged from the simple act of presenting my own opinion and blueprint of the solution before asking the question I posed, to creating daily, weekly, and monthly goals. I had to force myself to stay as transparent as possible with regards to my progress and how I felt by talking to my TP and coaches. Five months later, I am significantly better at reining in my backhand, and I want to share with you the findings of my journey today.
The key learning for me was that self-awareness, combined with dedicated practices fighting my backhand, can greatly diminish the natural tendencies that come with your backhand. In some way, it really reminds me of weight training. There’s no pivotal point in which you become buff! It’s only through dedicated, consistent practice do you see results. There’s no miracle pill or process and there’s no outstanding story in which a rep of some exercise suddenly gets you huge. But, there is a point at which you look in the mirror and realize that you’ve come a long way from your old, flabby self. Similarly, I had this moment about a month ago, but concerning decision making and independent critical thinking. I gave a Culture Tour to a group of students in the morning, returned to my desk to work on some engineering, interviewed some potential hires at noon, followed by going to my desk to answer some emails and to pull some stats for a different engineering project, and then finally to work on coding again. That day, I was able to make many decisions on many fronts without needing constant spoon feeding. Results from going to the decision making gym showed.
Nonetheless, there’s still an incredible amount of room for me to grow, and more personal bests to break. But I just want to thank all of you for your support that encouraged me to get in on the decision making gym membership, and let you know that I will continue to go to the decision making gym to flex on my practice grounds, tackle my backhand, and grow my decision making muscles.