Finding Meaning in Your Work with Uber’s Malcom Glenn
Malcom Glenn works at Uber as the Head of Global Policy, Accessibility and Underserved Communities. He’s making a difference in the way that marginalized groups access transportation, but he still wonders if he’s doing enough. Is there more he can do to make a difference in the lives of those who need assistance? Is there more he can do with his skills, talents and drive?
Sound familiar? Are you desperate to find meaning in what you do? Are you making enough of an impact on the world? Are you using your resources effectively?
Listen as Malcom and host Kim Ades discuss how to find meaning in your work and feel like you’re truly making a difference.
In this episode of Resilience Radio, we explore:
How Malcom helps underserved communities with Uber.
Whether or not “doing the right thing” is really profitable.
The role of storytelling when dealing with grief.
How to find meaning in the work you do.
What to do when you’re paralyzed by limiting beliefs.
INSIGHT OF THE WEEK
“What you do reflects what you think. Rather than asking yourself if you’re doing the right things, ask yourself how you’re thinking about what’s in front of you.“ -Kim Ades
Take a Listen!
Transcription: Finding Meaning in Your Work with Uber’s Malcom Glenn
Here is a super interesting snippet of our conversation! See transcription (20:06 – 26:44):
Kim Ades: What do you think is your greatest current challenge in today’s world?
Malcom Glenn: I am like many other people of my generation in that I’m desperate to find meaning in what I do. There are two ways I think about that.
There is a micro meaning, which is, am I practically improving people’s lives with what I’m doing? And I think that the answer, for the most part, is yes.
But I struggle with this question myself and I have talked to others who struggle with it as well, and it’s this notion of, to what end? What are we really trying to accomplish in the most macro scale? What is the mark I want to leave? Is it worthwhile? I have all this time and I’m blessed with all of these resources, networks and access to so many different things. Am I utilizing them the right way? Am I doing as much good as I can be doing?
I don’t know how to fully answer those questions and I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t get to as concrete an answer as I want, but I’m constantly questioning and interrogating the things that I’m doing to make sure that I’m spending my time in such a way that I’m impacted people in the most meaningful way that I can.
Kim Ades: Can I give you a bit of a coach’s reflection on that?
Malcom Glenn: That’s why we’re here. Please.
Kim Ades: The way you phrase your question is very interesting. “Am I doing the right things?” The word “doing” is really the critical piece of that question, and I would urge you to look at it a little bit differently because what you do reflects what you believe. What you do reflects what you think. And so rather than asking yourself if you’re doing the right things, ask yourself how you’re thinking about what’s in front of you.
Malcom Glenn: That’s good advice.
Kim Ades: And it’s a totally different question. Because the way you think about everything will impact what you do. Thought precedes action.
Malcom Glenn: Yeah.
Kim Ades: In your case, what impact do you want to make and how do you think about that? What beliefs do you have around that? How do you envision it? Is your thinking lined up with that vision? And then ask yourself what you should be doing. It starts with what you are thinking.
Malcom Glenn: I really like that. Start with your thinking and then the rest follows.
Kim Ades: One hundred percent. Many highly driven individuals are very, very action-oriented and they just take action very quickly because that’s in their nature. As a coach, I want to take a step back and ask, “Is your action even aligned with your desire or your goal? Let’s look at how you’re thinking about this.” Because action often leads to outcomes that aren’t desired in the first place, so I want to help people take a step backwards before taking a massive step forward.
Alright, last question. You have a coach on the line. Is there a question that you have for this particular coach?
Malcom Glenn: Yes, I do, and I think the question is really related to what you just said and I appreciate that advice. I think it’s so useful. Sometimes I find myself focusing on my thinking, distilling what is important to me and recognizing that I know what I believe. And I sometimes feel a bit paralyzed by the many things that I could do to operationalize those beliefs. I think it comes from a place of fear of doing new things and an inherent risk aversion.
And so Kim, my question for you would be − and it’s related to this, but I think it’s even broader − how do I overcome my own fears? I’ve done so in a couple of respects, but how do I do it, say, in my professional life?
Kim Ades: Great question. One of the things that we do when we coach highly-driven entrepreneurs or senior executives is that we ask them to journal in an online journal and we ask them specific questions. The reason we do that is we are trying to understand what they believe to be true, how they see the world and their perspectives, because your beliefs fuel your action and lack of action.
So let’s say you journal something like, “I have all these ideas or beliefs about what should happen in the world, but then I feel paralyzed.” The paralysis comes from a different set of beliefs, and those beliefs might sound like “I don’t have time, I don’t have the resources, I don’t have the capacity, I don’t have the ability, I don’t know how to do this,” etc.
Once you write them down, you can look at them objectively as just simply beliefs, ideas and thoughts, and you can start to challenge them one by one. For example, if you need resources, what would they be and where would you start looking?
We’re allowing you to look at your beliefs and address them. Challenge them. Understand that those beliefs don’t need to be something that you hold onto for dear life and that you could actually trade them in for something more useful.
Malcom Glenn: I love that. When reflecting on my thinking, I recognize the degree to which I hold on to beliefs beyond their usefulness, so that’s really, really good advice.
Kim Ades: And I’ll give you another piece of advice. It’s a lot easier to do that when you have a coach to help you through the process…
Making a difference means different things to different people. What does it mean to you? Are you making a difference? If yes, how? If not, what’s stopping you? If you believe that there is more you could be doing to make a difference but find yourself constantly running up against a brick wall, we can help you with that. It’s what we do.
Schedule a complimentary, 1-hour coaching call with Hilary. Isn’t it time you allow yourself to make that difference?