Let Me Light Your Candle

A candle does not lose its flame when it lights another candle – Akinyi

If there is anything I have learned in life, it is that we are always fighting against each other to be number one.

Whether it is witholding information so we can seem smarter than our colleague or not truly listening in meetings because we need to be ready to refute what our teammate is saying because we have a better idea and need to look better than s/he, it’s all still the same. When we try to outsmart each other, not truly listen or, in essence, not be a true teammate – we are missing out.

If  I interrupt someone in a meeting to give my idea (which maybe have been what my colleague was going to get to before I rudely interrupted), that person will feel small. If I do everything I can to withhold information (lack of knowledge transfer), my team loses out.

I absolutely struggled with this my first few years out of college. I was trying to prove myself; my team needed to know I had a brain and that I could use it appropriately. In doing this, I created a monster: me.

I always felt like someone was trying to make me feel small. I thought it was the culture so,in turn, I did it to people who were hired after me. And guess what that got me? You betcha – absolutely nothing.

What did it create? A walking-on-eggshells sort of relationship with my cohorts. I was always on edge, wanting to be the first to have the answer, to have the new and innovative idea and to be the best. I’m a middle child so, of course, I wanted to be the best. It’s who I am, it’s in my blood.

But what if my TEAM is the best?

When I look at work teams that are strong, I see cohesiveness and team members working and learning together as one. I learn a lot more from others than from trying to be the best me on my own.  The more I allow myself to accept the flames of others, the brighter I’ll be. If I take my flame, turn to my colleague and light his/her candle, the brighter we will burn together.

Photo credit iStockPhoto

About the Author

Cindy Janovitz

Cindy Janovitz works for a great Fortune 500 company in Minnesota. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communications and Spanish from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. Cindy has a passion for working with and helping people and a love for organizational culture. Three words Cindy uses to describe herself are energetic, passionate, and driven. You can connect with Cindy on Twitter as @cindyelizabeth

1 Comment

Dwane Lay

One of the most interesting things to me in large meetings is watching people bring up an issue or a topic when they clearly have nothing to say, but don’t want to be the one sitting quietly for an hour. It’s painfully obvious they really aren’t adding anything except length to the meeting.

I’ve been working to master the art of staying focused while staying quiet. It’s not an easy task, to be sure.


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