There is much conversation about employees who are leaving their jobs and seeking employment in a different field. Traditionally, people looked to switch careers for the likes of more money, better benefits and more advancement opportunities. Whereas these are still important considerations they are not the most important ones any longer. The pandemic forced people to reevaluate what they want from their career. It provided the experiences that included a different interpretation of work-life balance. It made flexible scheduling an accepted norm and it created changes in the components of a ‘positive’ culture.
Thus, today, many are questioning what they really aspire to do and achieve in their work careers. They are daring to think about and explore paths that they believe will be personally desirable, fulfilling and rewarding. These paths can be advancing in their current field or going in a different direction. They are exploring the potential of what going to a different direction will require and mean. And they are acting on the feeling of excitement that accompanies these possibilities. They are acting on the ‘potential’ that they personally possess and the positive impact on the lives they envision.
As I read much that is addressing this ever-increasing occurrence, I am reminded of the opportunity I had in hearing a commencement address at the University of Wisconsin. Russel Wilson, the quarterback, as football aficionados will know, has just moved from playing for Seattle to his new team in Denver. Although directed at graduates about to embark on their futures, Wilson made some very valid and important points that apply to any person navigating career ladder. 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 manage ourselves when things go well. When you land the job you want, get the advancement you seek, or you achieve something 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 my 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 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?
Russell Wilson was only addressing a graduating class. That’s certain. And yet, his words seem very meaningful for those of us excited about and challenged to expand or alter our path. What is the focus that we dare to explore and pursue? Wilson was traded to Denver as the team for which he played and succeeded for 10 years felt like they needed a change. What enables him to move with enthusiasm and winning energy is the potential he sees for himself in being successful. It’s his commitment to work hard, surround himself with good people and never stop improving. As he said in his graduate address, his father often told him … ‘if we can see our own potential, it means that we haven’t done it yet.’ It’s evident that today, many are seeing their potential and that is what is allowing them to pursue their dream!