Thursday, August 5, 2010
Your Career and You..."Yes, You Can...Believe in Yourself!"
I've had conversations in the past couple of days with current as well as past students from both Curry College and Regis College about a new challenge or opportunity that had come their way.
Although the question wasn't asked directly, they wanted reassurance that they were capable of meeting the challenge and succeeding.
Putting on my fatherly "been there, done that" hat, I responded to all, "Of course you can...and...here's what you need to do."
I think the wonderful thing is that these young people are finding themselves faced with decision-requiring situations. It is very cool to be starting out in post-college life and find yourself having to call on those (ugh) "critical thinking" skills that we academics claim to impart to our charges.
It's not "critical thinking"; it's making life choices...now...not tomorrow.
It's having the self-confidence to head off into uncharted waters and try things that weren't in your textbook.
What gets me excited in these conversations is hearing that self-confidence rise to the surface and take charge. And then seeing that young professional come to a conclusion and act on it.
Not everything in life is going to present itself in a neat, orderly manner, patiently waiting for you to make a decision...someday. Most of the time it's going to be "Ok, here's the deal. What do you think? Tell me NOW!"
This is not to suggest that you should immediately sell all your belongings and book passage on a tramp steamer to Vladivostok.
It is to suggest that you should take stock of your talents, your capabilities, and your desires, and be willing to test your limits.
In my career, this attitude has taken me to Vietnam, the Philippines, Hawaii, and back and forth to Massachusetts as well as a bazillion other places. Opportunities came up; I wanted to take a chance and start something new. Sold my furniture, found someone to adopt my goldfish, and got on a plane...to somewhere to start something new.
Something good...sometimes something unexpectedly wonderful... always has come of these actions.
Yes, I often had to start all over again. Yes, I had to learn new customs, new cultures, new languages. But it has all been good. And it happened because I believed in myself.
So be willing to move out of your comfort zone. Be eager to try things you've never done before (note: this does not include leaping off cliffs or alligator wrestling!) but think sound interesting.
And, finally, talk to people you know and who know you. Life decisions are not..or should not be...made in a vacuum. Someone in your sphere of influence is going to be affected by your decision. Make sure he or she is part of the equation.
Once you've done that, act...on your belief in yourself, on others' belief in you. You just might be pleasantly surprised and rewarded.
"He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne'er believe, do what you please.
If the sun and moon should doubt
They'd immediately go out."
(William Blake, Auguries of Innocence)