There’s no doubt that the current environment is challenging all of us to do things outside of our formal roles. And I’d argue that no one has embraced these circumstances more than my colleague, Sybil Schooler. She has adapted to the brave new world with style, grace and determination—showing everyone that these challenges present a unique opportunity to reinvent ourselves for a brighter future.
With that in mind, I put together the following list of three ways we can follow Sybil’s lead to broaden our horizons for personal and professional growth.
1. Evolve Your Unique Strengths for Today’s Environment
Sybil wears a lot of hats at Seed Strategy, but one of her primary roles is handling in-office events and coordination. She’s the smiling, friendly face who greets you upon arrival, and the one responsible for all of the amazing snacks and lunches. As you can imagine, many of Sybil’s traditional job responsibilities were put on hold when our offices shut down. However, Sybil has done anything but sit by the wayside. Instead, she has leveraged a creative and action-oriented mindset to reinvent her role for the needs of today.
As just one example, Sybil found a way to adapt her signature brand of hospitality to the work-from-home environment by assembling goodie bags for an all-company meeting and personally delivering them to every Seedling’s home in the tri-state area—all so we could have a shared experience and feel special.
How might we bring our personal superpowers to life in new ways? Utilizing a little creativity within our current constraints can set the stage for personal success not only today, but also well into the future.
2. Push Yourself Beyond Your Comfort Zone
Perhaps even more remarkable than the way Sybil has adapted her hospitality role, is the way she has embraced new skills and opportunities that are even farther outside her traditional responsibilities. For example, shortly after the office closed, Sybil trained as an interviewer and started conducting phone surveys to support our call center, which was experiencing staffing issues associated with stay-at-home orders. She has quickly become a go-to resource for this need and she’s done it all with a smile and commitment to becoming the best interviewer she can be.
How might we take an unexpected task and reframe it as an opportunity for growth? Sure, it may feel daunting at first, but seeking out these challenges and attacking them with positivity and determination can energize us with a renewed sense of purpose and fulfillment—potentially taking us to fruitful new places.
3. Keep Learning AND Sharing Knowledge
Another way Sybil stepped up and spread her wings was to attend the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI) conference. While Seed is a regular sponsor and is always well-represented at this event, Sybil’s other responsibilities usually keep her from attending. But not this year. Now, when I say she embraced attending, she EMBRACED attending. While most of us made sessions when we could, Sybil attended almost EVERY session. Why? Because she found them interesting and loved exploring new things. And because she wanted to share the valuable knowledge she gathered with her colleagues that couldn’t make the sessions.
How might we use our time to broaden our knowledge base or grow our expertise? New challenges require new skills and learning. By acquiring new knowledge, and then disseminating that information to others in your organization, you’ll be seen as an invaluable go-to expert and proactive team player. And both you and your company will be better for it.
While we can’t all be Sybils, perhaps if we do our best to apply these lessons from Sybil to our own careers and personal lives, we can all reinvent ourselves to capture just a touch of her spirit, making us better colleagues and humans in the process.
Catherine Salzman is Director Social Science and Analytics at Seed Strategy where she uses her 10+ years of experience across strategic, media and research disciplines to illuminate vibrant stories that compel action and inspire clarity.
Edited by Adam Siegel. In addition to being the Editor of The Accelerator, Adam is VP, Creative at Seed Strategy where he draws upon his diverse experience in advertising, research and innovation to craft breakthrough creative and winning concept copy.