I am thinking of two mid-30′s business leaders.
One went to Yale and had a lot of advantages in life. He’s good looking in an Abercrombie kind of way, soccer star… you know the type. The other is also good looking (by that same standard) and athletic. He has a degree from a state school. His parents are teachers.
If IQ or ‘what college you attended’ or grade point average were the measures of success – the Yalie should win. But something else is really at the heart of business ‘success’ and it relates to:
– whether you see obstacles as opportunities or things that slow you down.
One way to to learn about obstacles as opportunities — is to grow up WITHOUT advantages. This builds grit and grit builds success. I wrote a post a few year back about people who failed time and again. Michael Jordan and Ulysses S. Grant. I had a college professor tell me I’d never graduate from college. Haha. I showed him.
Bottom line is — if you think that people who went to Ivy League schools are automatically successful, I ask you to think again.
As a country, we are suffering from ‘elitism fever’ (we think we’re better than others) – but deep in our hearts we know – the American spirit is grounded in pure grit. So next time you go to hire someone, why not ask… what obstacles have you overcome to be here? That might tell you everything you need to know.
Image credit: Elia Locardi
I have one special gift, I have a good ‘ear’…I can’t sing …but I can recognize and imitate sounds. This is why I studied languages in college. I started taking French in 3rd grade and then studied German and Spanish in college. I loved learning about culture through understanding the language. I had a chance to read Victor Hugo, Franz Kafka and Gabriel Garcia Marquez in their original languages. Let me assure you that there are MANY things that don’t translate from one language to another. We Americans think our language is sophisticated– in the sense that we accommodate words from all kinds of other languages. However, just like us as a nation, it is young and immature — with all the good and bad things that flow from that.
When I came across this article: How Do You Say…? For Some Words There is No Translation – I loved the idea and examples. I especially appreciated…
Swahili: Tuko pajoma -Denotes a shared sense of purpose and motivation in a group. It transcends mere agreement and implies empathetic understanding, or “We are together.”
As we move forward into this unknown and unknowable future.. let us remember Tuko pajoma. We have a shared sense of purpose and motivation… and that is to help one another, to find our way together and to learn and grow. This takes a conscious effort and I am glad you’re on this journey with me. I couldn’t do it without you.
Heiwa no tabi suru May peace be your journey.
Image credit: How do you say…
“Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful – be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work. And if you build a good name, eventually, that name will be its own currency.”
Who wrote this? Take a guess. (play Jeopardy theme song here).
If you guessed someone famous.. you were right, almost. Patti Smith is a musician, poet, visual artist. She co-wrote “Because the Night” with Bruce Springsteen. (You’ve probably heard of him… do you think the boss subscribes to Patti’s philosophy? – I do.)
So what is Patti encouraging us to do?
- Build and protect your brand (name). Think of this in Patti’s context.. a woman in rock in 1975. Imagine how immensely talented and strong she is and what decisions both personal and artistic she needed to make to stand by this.
- Do good work. Yeah, that means working hard, taking risks, being bold when you may not want to.
- Protect your work. For the non-artist, I take this to mean be conscious of your work product and own it with pride.
- Make the right choices. “Right” choices tend to be harder and require thought and effort. That’s why so many of us make ‘wrong’ ones.
- Your name will be its own currency. In the new world of social… you can control/influence the value of your name tremendously. But you need to pay attention. It does not happen by accident.
For all of you saying, my name will never be ‘currency’ – I feel sorry for you. The ship has sailed and you missed it.
By the way, if you judge this book by it’s cover… you’re missing something great.
Confidence is defined as "belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities." Where does your confidence come from?
If it's from your work and you've been forced to make job changes then your confidence might be rocky. But if your confidence comes from self-awareness and continuously updated skills... then you might be feeling ok.. no matter what your employment circumstances are.
An author I admire, Darmesh Shah, wrote an excellent article titled, "Nine Qualities of Truly Confident People." He describes confidence as, "quiet: a natural expression of ability, expertise, and self-regard." Note that the article doesn't describe confidence as bravado or swagger; but the ability to listen, to be wrong in front of others, to freely ask for help and shine the spotlight on others.
I would add two things to his list: knowledge and discipline. People who are confident usually are disciplined. They get more done than other people because they understand what's important. In addition, they keep their skills updated. They don't make excuses for why they don't know things... they work hard.
If you are looking for a new resource to help you in your journey to career confidence.. check out CareerRealism - their tag line.. "because every job is temporary" ... speaks to the modern condition. Most of us don't like change, but there is one way to be sure that you can cope and that is to create it.
Be confident. Be happy and go with the flow. Change is good, timing is everything, patience is the key.
Photo credit: 3 WCAP boxers medal photographer