Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Freak Out...Then Figure It Out

About a year or so ago, a sis and I were having a conversation about a new opportunity. It was not a hand-in-glove fit, but that did not make it any less desirable. My advice was to say yes. After all, strengths, transferable skills, and experience would help her be good at it in no time. I shared with her my approach:
  • Say yes to the opportunity. 
  • Freak out about how daunting it looks. 
  • Figure out how to do the task. 
Here's the thing: You don't want a great opportunity to pass you by, all for the sake of lacking a bit of experience in a particular area. If you pass that up, thinking there's no use going after it, you'd have done yourself a disservice. Go for it. Let the recruiters/selectors decide. If your résumé, or a contact, gets you an interview/meeting, make the best of it. Don't keep yourself off the list when, had you tried, you would've made the shortlist - and likely got hired/selected.

Funny, but, some months after the conversation with sis, I saw a quote by Richard Branson making the rounds on social media. It was, essentially, the same message. Given that I had shared my approach with sis long before I got wind of his quote, I have no reservations about expounding on what I shared with her here.

I'm not shy when it comes to networking, nor about letting the right people know I'm on the lookout for something new. There have been people who've given me a heads-up about new opportunities, simply because I was top of mind when the news landed on their desk - because they knew I had an interest. Additionally, along the way, I've participated in mentorship programs - as mentor and mentee. In these professional relationships, the terms of engagement are made clear at the outset. Whatever they may be, as a mentee, I never lose sight of one thing: I have a responsibility to honour the time and effort my mentor puts in. It may come in the form of making time in a busy schedule to have a chat over coffee/hot chocolate. Or, it may be in the form of helping me make connections. So, even if I feel under the weather when that email comes in - "I got you 20 minutes with so-and-so. Schedule something with her Admin." - my immediate response is stteo: "Great! Thank you! I'm on it!" And, I get on it. Right away. I can always climb out from under the weather later. I respect my time, too. So, I have to ensure my preparation (research pre-meeting) and execution time is not wasted.

There have been lessons along my career path. For sure. I remember there was a time when I used to allow awful co-workers or bosses to ruffle my feathers. But, I later learned a precious gem from a manager who was as frank as she was brilliant. "Claudia," she said, "I just tell myself I'm not taking them home with me." That became a mantra for me. Since then, co-workers and I live happily ever after. Well, not exactly. But, close enough. :-) So, lessons, yes. But strides and triumphs have been far more and far greater. My journey has been blessed.

In a nutshell, this is how I've been moving along the path:
  • Pray.
  • Seek a new opportunity. (This includes networking.)
  • Give thanks for closed doors. (There's something to learn from every interview.)
  • Be ready for open doors. (Can't pray for rain then leave your umbrella - ella - ella...) :-)
  • Accept the challenge. 
  • Freak out! (If need be. Even phone a friend and share the adrenaline.)
  • Work hard and figure it out.
  • Excel.
  • Give thanks.
What's sometimes surprising is how others see you (doing a great job) vs. how you see yourself. There's a thin line between confidence and hubris, but, it's good to believe in yourself. No use in playing small. Shine. Your light will help others. I've learned that, too.

One of my favourite Monk lines is from Mr. Monk Meets His Dad. He was trying to convince his dad that his boss was "The guy." His father wasn't buying it. Monk looked him in the eye and asserted that he's a detective. "It's my job, and I'm good at it."

Love that.


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