Earlier this week I had the opportunity to be a part of the 2014 YP Leaders Symposium in West Des Moines, Iowa. For an hour I sat with three other rock stars and collectively we gave advice the audience of 100+ young professionals on “Standing Up and Standing Out”. During our time we were all asked a variety of questions from a moderator and members of the audience. Below were some of the questions and my answers.
What is one piece advice you wish you had been told when you were starting your career?
I don’t know that I would have listened to this piece of advice had I been told it, but I felt very fortunate to learn shortly after I turned 24 years old. The advice: Know your values and passions and let them drive every decision you make. Knowing your values and passions means you know what’s important to you and what excites you about the world. When you are making decisions based on things that are important and things that excite you, everything you do will be meaningful and you’ll be less likely to make decisions you’ll regret.
What are some characteristics young professionals need to have to succeed?
Confidence: The world is full of challenges and if you aren’t confident in who you are and where you are going, you can easily become frustrated and give up on the life you really want to have.
Consistency: If you want opportunity, the world around you must trust you. Consistency is part of building that trust. People need to be able to count on who you say you are is who you really are and that you’ll be the same person in the future. I see a lot of young people drawing attention while they are finding themselves. Though the world values innovation and creativity, it values consistency first. People have to feel they can count on you.
Conviction: Simply, believe in what you are doing and be passionate about it. If you are not passionate about it, no one is going to believe you. If you don’t believe in what you are doing and can’t be passionate about it, it’s probably time to do something else. But before you do, refer to point one and understand your values and passions.
What is your advice for getting ahead in a corporate environment?
Know who is responsible for your job security and career advancement.
Know what they value.
This isn’t about changing who you are for someone or doing things you don’t want to do. It’s about being smart about your career. It’s about understanding that all relationships are an exchange of value and those who get rewarded the most understand what others value. If your manager or a VP or the CEO values creativity, find ways to show them you are creative. If they value confident decision making, be confident in your decision making.
Final Pieces of Advice
What would you do if you weren’t afraid? – Spencer Johnson
I Never Lose! I Win or I Learn!
The 2014 YP Symposium was a great chance for YPs in the community to get great career and life advice and I feel fortunate to be apart of it. Kudos to those responsible for making it happen!