I just enjoyed a wonderful weekend. I attended a college graduation at UW Madison and that, in and of itself, was exciting. However it was the keynote address that made it very special. It was delivered by Russell Wilson, currently the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks and a person who spent his last year of college at the University of Wisconsin. And his message, although directed at graduates about to embark on their futures, made some very valid and important points that apply to us all as we travel the road of our lives. It certainly has meaning for all of us as we navigate our career ladders and the reason I pass this along to you. As you read this, digest it in terms of where you are in your career as related to where you want to be.
Russell Wilson made five key points that I pass onto you.
Point # 1:
Wilson said … You can’t do it alone. You’ve got to surround yourself with good people … family, friends, mentors.
Ask yourself …Who is a part of the support team that you’ve created and how are you using them to help you achieve your vision of success? Is there someone missing who can help escalate your growth and gain?
Point # 2
Wilson said … All of us leave our schooling with the exact same mission: to make the most of whatever talents we were born with. The question isn’t whether you have something to offer to the world – you definitely have something to offer to the world. The question is how and whether you’ll do it.
Ask yourself … What talents and capabilities do you feel you have that are not being utilized today? What can you do to immediately put them on display so that others become aware of them?
Point # 3
Wilson said … Most of us have potential. Yet not everyone does what it takes to reach theirs. The difference isn’t the way the way that we handle ourselves when things go well. When you land the job you want, get the advancement you seek, or you achieve something maybe a little bit earlier than you expected, go ahead and celebrate it, be happy. Enjoy it. But remember that the moments when life tells you yes aren’t the ones that define you. The moments that really matter are the moments when life tells you no. What do you do when life tells you no? When that happens ask yourself honestly: What am I capable of? And once you know the answer, don’t be afraid to let everyone else know it too.
Ask yourself … What potential do you know that you have that have not been displayed for others to see. Who needs to know about it thus enabling them to even consider you for jobs requiring these previously unrealized skills?
Point # 4
Wilson said … When life tells you no, stay ready. Always be ready.
Ask yourself … What skills should I be learning on my own that will make me job ready and able to move into the new role with little effort? Where can I go to learn them? We never know when suddenly and unexpectedly the door we are waiting to enter opens up and we’re called upon to take that step. Being ready and focused, we’re totally prepared to grab the opportunity when it appears.
Point # 5
Wilson said … When life tells you no, find a way to keep things in perspective. That doesn’t make the painful moments any less painful. But it does mean you don’t have to live forever in the pain. You don’t have to live forever in that no. Because if you know what you’re capable of, if you’re always prepared, and you keep things in perspective, then life has a way of turning a no into yes.
Ask yourself … What previously heard ‘no’ can you use as a positive to motivate yourself to keep the faith and the focus?
Russel Wilson was only addressing a graduating class. That’s certain. And yet, his words seem relevant for all of us wherever we are on our paths. As he said … “it’s a commitment to work hard and surround yourself with good people. To never stop improving and to make the world just a little bit better every day.”
As his father often said … if we can see our own potential, it means that we haven’t done it yet. Well spoken. All we need to do is realize and apply it!