Leadership hack: Upgrade my self-image from "1.0" to "2.0" (and repeat)
One of the most useful self-hacks I’ve found is to think of my skills in terms of upgrade cycles — shipping a “new version” of myself frequently, with iPhone-like consistency.
When I became a manager, I had to let go of my 1.0 idea of myself as someone who went deep on every detail. The 2.0 me needed to support the growth of people on my team and make space for them to be experts, no matter how hard it was to step back.
When I had a baby (and then another, and another), I had to let go of my 1.0 idea of myself as someone who managed every detail and cooked something interesting every night. Instead, the 2.0 version of myself needs to build systems: a system for childcare, a system for getting the kids fed. (Note: cereal for dinner is always an option!)
What the self-upgrade process looks like for me:
Take a moment to remind myself of what is so great about the 1.x chapter – sometimes even writing it down – and feel how enjoyable it is. This ritual helps me honor this version of myself, the skills I had, and the job I got to do.
Visualize what version 2.0 of myself in the job looks like. What skills will I use? Where will I spend my time? What will I be proud of every day? I try to “put on the coat” of that job and feel what it’ll be like to be successful in the role.
Take a few days off or a weekend away.
Come back ready to commit to the 2.0 version of me.
I try to visualize and feel the sensations of literally closing a book, enjoying the feeling of closing a great chapter, and then reopening it to the next chapter.
In every upgrade cycle, it’s hard to give up the parts of myself that worked at some point in the past — even when that self-image is now holding me back.
So doing this upgrade process regularly — giving myself freedom to let go of what was, honor it, and plan for what is — helps my perception of myself keep pace with the changing reality of my job, especially in an industry as fast-moving as ours.
And on a personal level, it keeps me thinking about "discovering" the next version of myself so I can keep on striving toward it.