We recently asked some of the most experienced business professionals in Chicago: What is the best advice you have received in your career and how did you apply it?
The answers are important in the context of a seasoned professional reflecting upon their careers. All of these professionals have been very helpful and supportive of ClassAct - a new program helping young professionals get started on the right foot. If you are a young professional or you have children or employees beginning their career, the ClassAct program is a fantastic way to set the foundation for a very fulfilling and successful career.
“Anything is possible but everything is not"
This advice is fantastic. It is short, but it says so much. Exceptionally positive in nature, it also speaks to focus, the need to make choices, and the sacrifices necessary to achieve great things. In our “you can have it all” culture, it is important to realize that sometimes the most difficult decisions happen when you have the most choices.
“People will remember you if you are a winner, but more importantly, they will remember how you handle it when you lose."
Once again, this advice is so apropos for our disposable society today. It seems as though we only have time for winners. If you are not winning, someone else is going to take your place. But in recent weeks we have spent considerable time talking about how people handle losses. In sports alone, we obsessed ourselves with post-SuperBowl Cam Newton and lauded praise on the class of Jordan Speith at the Master’s.
“Never burn bridges"
Many of us have received this advice. It is so embedded in our social fabric that we overlook the fact the words in this quote have nothing to do with people. What is so amazing is that new technologies make this advice so much more important today than it was just 25 years ago. It is far easier to see how large our networks are and just how small the connected world is. Even more amazing is that people still burn bridges every day.
“Don’t worry about others and focus solely on what you can control"
This advice is so powerful and so incredibly difficult to master. What I like most about this piece of advice is that it is applicable to any person at any level in any organization. You can’t worry about what you can’t control and you can’t worry about what others think or do. Success, winning and mastery only happen when you ignore distractions, repudiate excuses and focus on what you do best.
“When addressing a very large project or problem, break it into small pieces instead of looking at it overall."
I found this advice very interesting from the perspective of a young person trying to succeed the workplace - the target audience for ClassAct. For many of us who are more “seasoned”, problems don’t seem as big as they used to be when were younger. With age and experience you learn how to tackle big problems by breaking them into manageable pieces. However, the size of the digestible pieces changes as we gain more experience. It is important for leaders to keep this in mind as we build the next generation of leaders.
What I can say with great confidence is that all of these professionals live this advice. I can look to their personal brand and clearly see how this advice profoundly influences their daily actions.
Together with our readers we strive to positively affect today's professional environment by sharing our wisdom and providing the proper context for our next generation of leaders.
You can help us do this. Consider sharing this post with your network if you found the material informative. If you, your children, your employees or anyone you know are interested in becoming a ClassAct, signup for the course with the button below.
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