Make Space for Yourself, with Merrie Williamson

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Merrie Williamson is a technology leader with over 20 years of experience building strategic programs, multifaceted organizations, corporate partnerships and delivering revenue. She’s currently Vice President of Azure Apps and Infrastructure at Microsoft. Prior to that she worked at Intel Corporation.


ES: This is 5 Minute Mentor, a podcast where you’ll get advice from prominent engineers, authors, artists, and more in 5 minutes or less.

MW: I’m Merrie Williamson VP of Azure Apps and Infrastructure in Microsoft’s Worldwide Commercial Business.

MW: For my 5 Minute Mentor talk today, I wanted to share some of the advice I’ve received and learned over my career and, in particular, how to, make space for yourself so that you can help others help you.

MW: My two pieces of advice are: value your time, think and write, and schedule a meeting with yourself often. What do you aspire to be? What is making you happy? What is making you- what are your challenges? Really spend the time writing and thinking, and documenting just like you would any kind of important part of your life. You have the checklist you make at home, the program plans you make at work, the code that you develop. Put energy into yourself in the same way.

MW: I find that people who come to me and come to other mentors, who have that level of insight into what’s making them happy, or what’s challenging them, are much more coachable. So, my second piece of advice is, do that work for yourself, so that others can help you, and, then you take that work and then you can be more specific with a conversation that you’re having with a peer, with a leader, with people outside of even the corporate environment. Are you seeking advice? Are you seeking a specific new role and a new challenge? Are you seeking allyship? Are you seeking community? And why? I think the conversations are much more robust with people that I’ve met for the first time when they can explain and have a foundation for what they’re seeking, why they’re seeking it, and what role they want me to play. And I think that’s the advanced level of that, is then circling back and have a meeting with yourself again. And recording who’s helping me in these different challenges, in these different aspirations. And just like you would a project, and assigning roles, you know that, you met with somebody and they’re in the role and on your team, as your coaches for your next job. And you have other people on your team that are your allyship coaches, the ones that make you feel that you can go to them and get advice when you’re looking- when you’re feeling that you need that allyship, and you need that person, that trusted voice.

MW: And so, I think a lot of this has, spend the time on others, and, spend the time designing success plans for the people around us, whether that’s our family, our partners, our spouse, community, our work, I think it’s important for us to do that for ourselves.

Merrie Williamson, Vice President of Azure Apps and Infrastructure at Microsoft

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