Growing Pains – Value in the Journey


Employee Experience, HR Community

Growing Pains

This post originally appeared in IA’s April Newsletter. If you’re interested in subscribing, you can do so here.

They say April showers bring May flowers, which is really just a fancy way of saying that in order to get to something good, you often have to endure some challenges along the way.

I’ve been thinking a lot about growth recently. Being the founder of a small business, I sometimes get caught up in the whirlwind of work, juggling multiple balls without taking a moment to set them down and consider why I took up juggling in the first place. It’s a challenge to be intentional about growth when you’re trying to keep your head above water. The good news is, growth happens whether you’re aware of it or not.

Recently, an exciting new opportunity for my wife means I have been playing the role of single parent for much of a 12-week run. When we talked through the logistics, I was confident that it would go smoothly. Like many, I love to think of myself as a modern father, husband, and partner who shares equally in the activities and responsibilities of supporting my family’s home and life. How hard could it be? 

Well, as I’m sure you single parents out there already guessed, it has been incredibly eye opening. Until I had the honor of being fully accountable for the day-to-day running of the household, I had absolutely no clue how little I truly contributed. In speaking openly with friends, neighbors, and colleagues about my “sudden enlightenment,” the understandable response is,“It’s about frickin’ time.” It’s a moment of growth I wasn’t aware I needed, but I’m truly thankful for it. I’ve gained so much appreciation for all the “invisible” work done without my contribution and I am committed to making some changes in how we divide the labor going forward. 

This eye-opening experience has carried over into my professional life as well. All the work the IA team has put in over the last few years may have felt incremental – a tweak here or there, a slight adjustment, a change in approach – no real game-changers. Yet over time, each of those changes has had a ripple effect. Sometimes this growth was celebrated, and sometimes it was painful; but it was always growth. IA has evolved over its 15 years, and I couldn’t be prouder of our team. 

I realize that not everyone is in a position to celebrate “growth” over the past year or so. Not every change is a welcomed one, and some growth is achieved simply out of a need for survival, not fulfillment. As situations improve and time passes, it’s my hope we can all look back and find value in the journey. I know I do.

Written by:

  • With over 25 years of experience, Mark Stelzner has worked for organizations of every size and vertical. He has spent his career fostering relationships through attention to detail, natural curiosity, and a self-deprecating sense of humor.


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