Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Single Most Important Lesson I've Learned

When I graduated college I was so incredibly pumped to get a "real job". Some of my friends struggled to find purpose, but I loved working! I was the first to show up to work and the last to leave. I volunteered for new assignments and always participated in team meetings. I had new ideas and I wanted them to be heard. I was intent upon moving up the ladder. I meant well but I was an enormous pain in the ass!

...Here's Why...

Despite ones intelligence or willingness to work hard, timing and respect are equally important. If you are the fastest player on the field but you don't know when to run, you will fail!

My early career could characterized by misunderstanding. I did not understand the process and my superior officers could not delineate my intention from my purpose. I wanted more than anything to succeed, not for the money, but to contribute to the world. It didn't come off that way.

Don't get me wrong, I was successful! I made a lot of money, my effort and ideas were recognized and people enjoyed working with me. I had far more positive advancements than missteps.

...But, there is one thing I could have done better.

The greatest lesson I've learned in 2 decades in Corporate America:

Do Your Fighting In The Ring!

Over time, I learned to use the word WE more than I (and to mean it). The most successful people I know always put others before themselves. Those who surround themselves with diverse skill sets and invest themselves in developing others are called leaders. I used to think promoting one's self was an act of Leadership....

Leadership is an Act of Servitude

It is so much more beneficial to your career to be a good listener as opposed to a big talker. People gravitate toward people who make them feel welcome. People want to work with people who they know they can trust.

Every great leader I know accepts their role with a certain measure of support; creating a path means walking it first.

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Most people I know who talk a lot do so to mask their insecurity. They cannot stand silence because they fear uncertainty will creep into the mind of their audience. They fill every second with noise as if to validate their uncertain thoughts through verbal white boarding.

Each person who walks into a new occupation does so with the intent to prove their worth. NO ONE wants to receive an email, hear a question or take advice from someone who has achieved nothing.

Spiking The Bullshit Meter

I can tell within 10 minutes of meeting someone if they are working an angle. Most people with whom you interface will be overwhelmed if you verbally tackle them upon introduction. People like people who ease their way into conversation. Most people like people who wait until they have something to say before they open their mouth.

We are all insecure. We all sit up at night thinking about what needs to be done to validate our existence. We all just want to contribute.

So.... Why not just perform as well as you can and allow for your results to speak for you?

I can tell you from experience that producing before you promise will help you sleep easier.

Don't Forget to Remember,