Life Lessons from Amy Lyman, Co-Founder of Great Place to Work®
I asked Amy Lyman, co-founder of the Great Place to Work® Institute, what she would do differently if she could start over.
She said, “I would not do anything differently as I don’t think about my life and work in that way. What I do try to do is think about how to go forward, taking the lessons I’ve learned along the way to make my life better and the lives of others better.”
5 life lessons from Amy Lyman:
- Go forward in life with confidence that what you have chosen to do is valuable to the world at large and important to you personally.
- Take time to choose wisely. Pursue a career or way of life at a reasonable pace that enables you to enjoy being alive.
- Treat people with respect and fairness, without manipulation or deception, so that you are always able to look people in the eye.
- Share the joys and burdens of work with your colleagues and co-workers, and when you have the opportunity to do so, share the rewards as well – fairly and equitably. From my many years of work with people in great workplaces in which relationships are built on trust, I’ve seen again and again the power of shared burdens and shared rewards.
- Pursue happiness – our time on earth is brief in the grand scheme of things and a bigger car, bigger house or corner office pale in comparison to being happy.
When I hear Amy say, “Go forward in life with confidence…,” The words, “believe you matter,” bounce in my head. Stop trying to matter and know you do. Now, go do what matters.
More from Amy Lyman:
- Her blog: An extended response to the question: Choices for the New Year.
- Her book: The Trustworthy Leader. (Highly Recommended)
Amy on Leadership Freak:
- How to Create Buy-In Before You Blowup
- The Secret to a Great Place to Work
- How to Move Through Uncertainty to Opportunity
- Amy Lyman Kicked my Assumptions
Which of Amy’s life lessons gets traction in your thinking? Why?
What life lessons do you frequently share?
The lesson that gets the most traction is the first, “go forward with confidence that what you have chosen to do is valuable. People often don’t hold who they are or what they do in high enough value. If you don’t believe in yourself or what you do, no one else will either. And, if it has value, bring your best game and confidence with it.
The life lesson that I share most often suddenly seems similar to your post… “Know why you’ve come. Do that… well.”
Good morning Martina and thanks for consistently adding value to the LF conversations.
Looks like great minds think alike.
However… I love the specificity of “Know why you’ve come…” Dang, how many times have I just responded to situations rather than setting a course or destination… you can see that “know why you’ve come” means have a clear destination in mind to me.
They are all really powerful, but I like “Share the joys and burdens best.”
It’s all about teamwork. I think leaders are often scared to be truthful of the situation – “maybe they will want my money, maybe they will quit will they find we’re losing.” That type of thought process just doesn’t work.
Thank you Todd. I find sharing burdens, in particular a challenge. I tend to carry them by myself. Sharing burdens can pull others down. I think sharing them with optimism is essential.
I love how she lives with no regrets. Everything happens for a reason, and she uses her experience to create a great future.
Thank you Skip. I’ve asked several authors and leaders to respond to the same question. It’s not unusual for them to express a “no regrets” approach to life.
I haven’t got there yet…. although I affirm your statement, it’s still troubling. I would glad do over some of the things I’ve done in the past that hurt others, for example. Having said that, the past both pleasing or displeasing in our classroom… and like you say… Move forward!
“Treat people with respect and fairness, without manipulation or deception, so that you are always able to look people in the eye.” ..so valuable! Treating folks with respect and fairness opens doors, even among those with philosophical differences.
Great point Ken. I find most people figure it out when we aren’t being forthright. When they do, it’s often too late to mend the damage. Broken trust impacts everything.
As Todd said, all are powerful. For me, the one that jumps out is “Take time to choose wisely. Pursue a career or way of life at a reasonable pace that enables you to enjoy being alive.” Looking back, there are times I know I didn’t choose wisely and as a result, missed opportunities to create special memories. However, in the spirit of no regrets, I will not beat myself up for those choices but instead use that knowledge to make better choices now.
Thank you Laurie. Love your last sentence… Learn … don’t regret… move forward!
Best career advice I ever heard was make choices based on opportunity not salary.
Point 5 is so apropos Dan! Great post for the new year!
So true Mike. How sad to live life unhappy. Cheers
A good message for me as I start a new job next week after 18 years as an external consultant. In fact, almost all your posts have been thought provoking and helpful advice. Thanks, Dan.
Hi Glenn, Congrats on the new job and best wishes. Thanks for being a people lifter.
To be worthy of trust…what a gift, what an honor, what an obligation to fulfill….love Amy’s quote! Not only be worthy, but take overt ownership of that responsibility.
The only piece that I wonder about… “and when you have the opportunity to do so, share the rewards as well”….wonder if it could be, ‘make the opportunity to share the rewards as well’. It seems leadership sometimes gets wrapped up with crisis de jour or visioning or other plates to juggle and the sharing of rewards (celebration) gets back burnered or filed under ‘get round toit’…Heck, wonder if it even makes sense to celebrate the burdens….misery loves company! 😉
Thank you Doc. Your comments add value here.
The picture that popped into my mind after reading your second paragraph was of a person with their nose just above the water, nearly drowning. It can be tough to think of others or sharing rewards when we’re struggling to keep heads above water.
It can be tough but it’s the leaders job to think of others even when we hope others think of us.
And yes, misery DOES love company… 🙂
What greater measure of a leader’s worth(iness) than to recognize (and reach out to) others in the toughest of times? That is the stuff of legends!
Choose wisely. Indeed this is true, however not being terribly wise, and only improving as I age, as a younger leader I think number 5 has to top everything, it embraces spirits both young and old and allows for the fact that many of us don’t have the right confluence of wisdom and energy to make wise choices when we were younger, however pursuing happiness is very contagious to your career and your self esteem.
I should add – not for me as a younger leader that’s too late- but as advice to a younger leader….
Thanks Richard. I’m always pleased when you’re able to stop in and share your insights.
I suppose making wise choices when we aren’t so wise could be helped by leaning on the wisdom of others. My problem is when I was less wise than I am now, I wasn’t interested in listening to the wisdom of others.
Funny how when I didn’t have much wisdom, I didn’t think I needed more. Now that I have some experience and perhaps a bit more wisdom, I KNOW I need to listen to others.
I love it when I see a young person inviting experienced leaders into their lives.
Well, I babbled on enough… Cheers.
Amy’s #5 is so critically important. If one is happy, they will reach self-actualization. When I was young, I pursued pleasure and found unhappiness. Yet I always remembered one of my father’s phrases of advice, “if you are happy you will suceeed”.
Love her response to your question about what she would change…nothing. Its in the past. I agree looking forward is the key.
Oh, how much burden is taken off the shoulders just by saying “I wouldn’t do anything differently”. If only we could think on these lines, our lives and our thoughts would be much simpler.
This has been wonderful reading all the comments to my response here to Dan’s initial question. Thanks for all your thoughtful replies.