From the Media Capital, to the Global Ethiopian Community
Sunday November 19th 2017

Drawing Inspiration from the Unlikeliest of Sources


My boss, let’s call him David, can be loud, pushy, and difficult.  In heated situations, and there are plenty, he speaks in a tone that makes me revisit my childhood years. 

For years I tiptoed around the office making sure to avoid David.  Meeting rooms became panic rooms with the thought of giving a presentation in front of David frightening me until the point of becoming sick. 

I became the Alice in David’s Wonderland and kept getting smaller until I would eventually be depleted- or so I thought.  Then one day a light bulb went off.

I discovered that in the midst of his ‘take no prisoners’ attitude were leadership skills that I could draw from and implement not only in my work but also in my personal life.  One doesn’t become a leader of a Fortune 500 company before the age of 40 by chance.  It appeared that my boss was indeed exceptional and my nightmare was turning into opportunity.

The Office and Beyond: 5 Lessons Learned from My Tough Boss

Speak Up and You Will Be Heard

To everyone else it can seem that David is yelling but he is only trying to make his point clear.  So he raises his voice and gets out of his seat in the middle of conversations.  Almost always, he comes up with solutions that benefit the team.  So now, whether I am in meetings or grocery shopping, I make sure that I speak up in a clear voice so that everyone can hear me.  Overtime I started to command meeting rooms, something that my boss not only noticed but gave me kudos for. 

No Great Feat is Unachievable

Why reach for the stars when you can have the moon?  From redefining goals to implementing new projects that seem impossible, my boss has taught me that accomplishments, no matter how big, can be met.  And so I have started the process of taking on new projects outside of the office and investing in them wholeheartedly.  

Goals Are Meant to be Surpassed

David has taught me that I shouldn’t just aim at reaching my goals but that I should surpass them.  Now I look at my personal finances differently and budgeting has taken on a new meaning.  I’ve surpassed my goals of saving a certain amount monthly and am able to get closer to meeting my bigger goals in life.

Business is Business, No Room for Emotions

Perhaps one of the most important lesson my boss has taught me is that in the business world emotions should be kept in control.  In past situations I would have either had a melt-down, or stormed out of the office in fury.  But now I have learned to take things in stride and move on.  After all tomorrow is another workday.  In my personal life this has meant being keen on avoiding conflicts and if they are to occur, to be level-headed and try to see things in more general terms.

Shine in Your Own Right

Praise is good and while I have been shy to accept them at work, I have become comfortable with the spotlight on me and this is all thanks to David.  While he is quick to let you know when something is wrong, he also has no shame celebrating you when the time calls for it.  Every day I do little things to celebrate myself.  Whether it’s turning my phone off and enjoying a relaxing bath, or taking a long stroll, I take time out to let myself shine.

I would have never thought that my boss, once deemed cruel, would have played such a prominent role in positively shaping my views on career and life and that what once used to be intimidation would be the drive to my inspiration.  

Whether it’s an unruly boss, or a difficult teacher, if we dig a little deeper we can all discover important lessons that can turn the most pressing situations into something positive.

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One Response to “Drawing Inspiration from the Unlikeliest of Sources”

  1. yw says:

    Yet another brilliant article! It honestly opened my eyes :-)

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