I was asked over breakfast, by a group of enthusiastic interns, to share my thoughts and (that big word) wisdom on the 1st steps they should take to make a successful transition from 100% study into choosing work. They are all bright, keen but brutally honest about the ‘investment’ they have made in themselves. In the old days students cruised through university either on the State or through their parents, whereas today many if not most take a big debt with them personally into the workplace. So how do they get it right?
I shared the following with them:
- Have your own clear Purpose and Values – build a Personal Shield in 4 parts: (a) your history and achievements; (b) your aspirations, mission and goals; (c) what you can offer, bring, give and (d) what you expect in return. Slap that shield on your bathroom mirror or above your bed and live it every day.
- Work harder on this than anything else and remember you are NEVER to old to start. (One person at breakfast was 48 and restarting their life.)
- Only work for someone if they can enable, accelerate 1. above i.e. your Purpose and Values in fair exchange you delivering their Purpose and living within their Values. Never, ever ever the other way around.
- Otherwise work for yourself – you were probably meant to. Do not be afraid, face it – you have already invested heavily in your education.
If 4. above
- Listening begins your learning and you will need to discover and clarify what it is you want to do and be. You will need both a receive and a transmit button and like a walkie-talkie: it’s one or the other.
- Be sure you completely understand ‘what’ you are selling. It is likely the ‘feelings’ it engenders and is seldom the product itself. (feelings such as: reliability; safety; being cool; contemporary; cutting edge etc……)
- If possible, provide something people aspire to, not something everyone just needs. Everyone is already doing that and it’s sometimes thankless (ask a baker at 4am in winter).
- Make what you offer ‘enduring’ so they want it with them, near them, part of them, on their own journey, within their Personal Shield.
- The maxim coined by Paul Saffo is priceless “Never mistake a clear view for a short distance.” So experiment and test your offering with as many people who will bear it, until you know it is ‘aspiring and enduring’. It will save enormous time, and all your money €$£R.
- Learn that kindness is a passport to profound wisdom, it welcomes you through every door and you qualify for one only through practice.
- Like a six-pack, compassion is harder to achieve that you think, but once won, it is worth all the summers you live.
- Laugh often, especially at yourself, you’ll need to.
- Be courageous, back yourself and hold the line when the wind tries to blow you over. Paul Kelly taught me that “Courage is the foundation value to all values, without it in place all other values become disabled.” So have courage!
Lastly, never completely grow up, be naughty every now and again….even if it’s to tie someone’s shoe laces together !
I finished by saying “It’s about the journey guys, and there is no tomorrow, it’s how you live today. Time is in fact life’s currency, and it runs out, so spend it wisely.”
Thank you for reading this piece, feel free to pass it on…