Sunday, October 10, 2010
Your Career and You: "Find Your Inspiration"
I read a truly inspiring feature this morning in the Boston Sunday Globe about a young man...Lane Sutton...from Framingham, MA, who at age 13 has established himself as a social media maven.
I also read some genuinely idiotic comments from some Globe readers who apparently are appalled that this young man has emerged as a budding leader in the social media world. Seems like some folks are not prepared for the fact that some young men and women actually do care and actually do such shockingly adult things as read, use grown-up language, and have a vision.
This might explain why some of the young adults with whom I come in contact both at Curry College, where I teach undergrad Communication courses and oversee the Public Relations Concentration, and Regis College, where I teach graduate communication courses, are clueless about where they would like to go in life. They have gotten zip as guidance from their parents!
This is obviously a problem as we are talking about young men and women who are within shouting distance of their entry into the professional working world and are investing a not-inconsiderable chunk of cash into their educational preparation. They don't know why they're doing it!!
It's not entirely hopeless, though, and this is why I (and many other of my colleagues) take the time to meet with students to guide...nudge... shove(?) them along a particular path. We see the glimmer of a possibility, and we make it our crusade to help those who will accept our help find their way.
So what does all this mean for you?
It means you look to others...teachers, peers, parents, whoever you respect...for guidance and advice.
And you start paying attention to the success stories of those who have found their way and see how what they have done might apply to you.
What fascinated me about Lane Sutton's story is the fact that, in spite of his being, to use the trite phrase, "ahead of his time," he is a normal, decent kid who does his homework, has friends in school, and rides his bike.
Where he diverges from the norm is the fact that he reads newspapers and magazines. He associates with and talks to adults. He has figured out where his interests lie, and he's doing something about it. OMG...he reads?!?
Maybe this isn't you. Maybe this isn't where your interest lies. And that's ok. You don't have to be like someone just because he or she is successful.
What you do have to do is ask yourself, "What is it about this person that made him what he is today?"
When you answer that question, you're ready to find your own role model...someone who you would like to be like...someone whose interests are similar to yours.
Pay attention to what he or she does...reads...says...thinks. Ask yourself, "Am I like that? Do I want to be like that?"
I'm not saying become a mindless clone. What I am saying is you don't have to create everything yourself. Someone, somewhere, has done or is doing what you would like to be and do.
I would venture to say that, when you do find this person and pay attention to all these things, you will start getting a sense of how you would like to conduct yourself. You will start doing things that bring you a sense of satisfaction, that make you proud of your abilities. You will find that others are starting to listen to you and, sometimes, asking you for advice.
It may feel a little unnatural in the beginning, but as you grow into your new "you," you will become more comfortable and sure of yourself.
It all starts, though, with the initial challenge...find your inspiration!
"Yet this we ask ere you leave us, that you speak to us and give us of your truth.
And we will give it unto our children, and they unto their children, and it shall not perish."
Kahlil Gibran, "The Prophet"