Dear Younger Me, Patience is Key
The quote below is from Bob Bowman, Michael Phelps’ swim coach.
“We were not chasing medals; Medals were just the tangible rewards. We were chasing excellence, and we achieved it often, and, in the process gained even more: an appreciation for each other that would sustain itself long after his swimming career ended.”
As you gain experience and navigate through your career, refer back to this quote often. We all find ourselves chasing the “medals” in our life and/or career; the relationships we build along the way are priceless. Strive for personal excellence in whichever path you choose. Excellence and relationships are sustainable for many years to come.
I would like to share with you a few things, as you finish up your last semester in school. The best learning experience often takes place outside of a classroom. The mistakes you make early on in your career will provide perfect personal growth opportunities.
It is crucial to develop great self-awareness in order to take advantage of these situations. Actively seek out constructive criticism from your manager and co-workers, while applying it to your daily activity.
There are three main concepts I have adopted through my first 5+ years of experience in the sport industry. If I would have been mindful of these concepts early on, I would have had a smoother and more enjoyable start to my career.
Enjoy the process and trajectory of your career. Success takes hard work multiplied over an extended period of time. We are currently in what I like to call a microwave society. Society places such an importance on “fast” and “quick”.
We are able to get anything we want, RIGHT NOW. It will always seem as your career is moving extremely slow. Unrealistic expectations are placed on all of us from friends, family, and acquaintances.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Quit comparing yourself to other people and circumstances. Take a deep breath, and enjoy the moment. You only go through life one time.
Focus on the things you can control. There are things going on every day in our lives in which we have zero control. A common source of stress is usually a result of focusing and concentrating on these areas. Ask yourself, “Do I have control over this situation?”, whenever you get frustrated or discouraged. Keep a close eye on the things below.
· Attitude towards your work and co-workers
· Be a sponge; learn everyday
· Always do your best
· Represent your company in a honorable way
· Personal Presentation
Focusing on the things you can control takes practice, but will eventually will become a habit. Inevitably you will become a happier and more productive person.
Treat others the way you want to be treated. This is one of the first things we heard from our parents as children. Being nice and treating ALL people the same, is something you can start doing immediately. Treating other people with dignity takes no talent.
You never know the impact you can have on someone by simply taking an interest in that individual and treating them with respect. There is great power and a reflection of your character when you help someone who is not able to repay you. As you go through your career be nice, kind, and thoughtful to everyone you come in contact.
Nick, becoming a true professional requires determination. Be great at the things which require no talent. This is a separator as these traits are often overlooked. Any individual is capable of applying the principles above to their current job and/or situation.
My hope is you take advantage of my experience, mistakes, and learn from them. If you do this, I am confident you will accomplish anything you set your mind too. Walt Disney said it best, “All your dreams can come true, if you have the courage to pursue them.” Good luck.