Life’s Valuable Lessons Bobbie Shrivastav

There are lessons to be learned all around us, if we are open and willing to see, hear, and receive.  When we are in this state of receiving, we are also open to inspiration.  Inspiration can come from anywhere, life events, our environments or influential individuals. 

A colleague, working mom, friend, fellow #RGGSD (because Rothy’s girls GSD), Bobbie Shrivastav recently posted a memory on LinkedIn and shared some valuable lessons that I think are so relevant for this time.  I’ve invited her to join in this co-blog, so we can dive a little deeper into those values and relate them to our GSD Factor attributes.

Bobbie, thank you for collaborating on this.  The first lesson you shared was this:

Ethical Leadership and the importance of having a moral compass that guides us as we lead our organizations–this is the foundation of the type of character and human with whom I want to be associated – personally or professionally.

First and foremost, it’s important to define your own values and moral compass.  Before you can align with people or an organization, knowing who you are, what you stand for,  and what your boundaries are are key.  Defining, knowing, and living out your true, authentic self not only allows you to be you, but it allows you to attract others that align with you as well.  Your character, being unapologetically you, with your moral compass brings about an energy to life like no other.  People are naturally drawn to positive energy and vibes because they spark creativity, inspiration, and dreaming big.

Once we have defined who we are it’s important to be inquisitive when we are looking to align with an organization.  Looking at the leadership, diversity, culture, mission and values set by the organization is important, but asking questions and having meaningful conversations with existing employees is key to understanding where that company is today, what they stand for, and where they want to go.  

What do you say, Bobbie, to an individual whose moral compass has been shaken and maybe lost  and is, therefore, impacting their ethical leadership?  Is it recoverable?  

Bobbie’s Response:  Absolutely, it is recoverable.  There are scenarios, situations, and often-times our drive may cause our moral compass to be shaken.  The steps I would recommend to individuals are the following:

  • Reflection and Introspection – Take a step back and reflect on what happened.   Explore any personal experiences, influences, or circumstances that might have contributed to this situation. This process can help you identify areas of improvement and gain insights into your actions and choices.  As a practice, I hold a “retrospective” on myself on a monthly basis.  This is very similar to what my agile teams do at the end of the sprint. It is a great way to understand areas that are going well and areas that there are opportunities.  This is a framework I use to create goals of what I’m going to start, stop, and continue.   
  • Seek feedback and perspective: Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or mentors who can provide objective feedback and guidance. They can offer different perspectives on your situation, challenge your thinking, and help you realign with your moral compass.
  • Practice self-awareness: Cultivate self-awareness to monitor your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Pay attention to any cognitive dissonance or moral conflicts you experience, and use that awareness to make conscious choices that align with your values.  I journal daily and it becomes a great tool to document my experiences.  
  • Take small steps: Rebuilding your moral compass is a gradual process. Start by making small, ethical choices in your daily life and gradually expand your commitment to acting in alignment with your values. Each small step you take reinforces your moral integrity.

The second lesson you shared was this:

Global perspective with hearing stories from other executives on growth and scale–this really helped me as I’ve grown in my career and my entrepreneurship endeavors.

We were never meant to go at it alone.  Through community, our tribes or our clans, we learn from one another, and we support one another; it’s iron sharpening iron.  We learn what to do from one another, but more importantly, what not to do.  There is power in empathy.  There is comfort in knowing that you are not alone and that others have walked in similar shoes.  There is strength in leaning on others, being carried by others when you are too weak to walk in that moment.  

What I wish more entrepreneurs would be willing to do is to share the bad times, share the ugly truths, share the failures.  Social media has created this world where we have to show all the perfection and none of the imperfection.  Entrepreneurship is hard.  Business is hard.  There are more bad days than good sometimes.  It’s important to know this before you embark on this journey.  

What advice would you give your younger self about entrepreneurship, knowing what you know now?

Bobbie’s Response:  There is a quote that I will never forget – “You don’t get what you deserve – you get what you negotiate.”  It is by Chester L. Karrass who is known in the business world for his work on the importance of negotiate.  When you read this quote, it is emphasizing the importance of negotiation skills in achieving desired outcomes rather than relying solely on merit or entitlement.  This has been a valuable lesson I’ve learned when it comes to what I’ve negotiated – whether it is with your founders, partners, etc.  

Third and final lesson was this:

Community Engagement on the importance of having civic responsibility– It is a blessing to be given an opportunity to serve our community whether you are on a board, mentoring others, donating to causes, etc.

A spiritual reference comes to mind when I ponder this: “It is better to give than to receive.”  When we give to others, in any capacity, it is harder for our hubris or arrogance to get in the way.  It naturally keeps us humble and kind.  It keeps us accountable and in check.  Money, fame, fortune, and success can do crazy things to people, literally, but if we remain community driven, focused on giving  and mentoring the next generation to go beyond us, it keeps us aligned with what truly  matters.  

Have you found that the type of your community engagement has changed over the years? 

Bobbie’s Response:  When I think about the community engagement – for me, I choose to engage with people that are about #noexcuses. When you think about RGGSD – it is about female leaders that are truly getting shit done and with style.  When there are opportunities, we don’t host pity parties – we are solution-focused, driven leaders. To create the change we want to see, we must execute.  

Again Bobbie, I so appreciate your authenticity and vulnerability to post these lessons learned and to allow us to dive a little deeper.  

What final lesson or thought would you leave with our readers today?

Bobbie’s Response:  Do Good.  Be Good.