Hear from our team member, Hayley, about the importance of knowing who you are and working on yourself to be successful when entering the world of work.
Recently I had the pleasure of completing an adult’s obstacle course and in doing so I could not help but draw similarity between it and the world of work. You may be wondering what swinging from tight ropes, taking a ‘leap of faith’ and whizzing down zip wires have to do with business but trust me, the likeness is there:
There are two kinds of ‘university leavers’
Time to begin the course: Harness – check. Helmet – check. Good attitude – erm ….
You get two different types of career starters. First those who are verbally and physically optimistic, they are the first to put their climbing gear on and their hands shoot up as volunteers are asked for. Then you get the slightly more hesitant individuals who assess the situation and constantly analyse the risk to reward ratio. These individuals look to those more experienced for guidance and support, they observe and try to mimic.
It is important to recognise that how you begin your career will not necessarily be a reflection of how successful or happy you will be in the future – remember the kid at school who would much rather be the referee than join in team sports, well now he is the captain of his University hockey team. We all grow at different rates so give yourself time to reach your full potential.
Experience will help you to understand your strengths and weaknesses
People seem to hate the word ‘weakness’ and I don’t understand why. A weakness does not mean you should give up, it is an opportunity to push yourself further than you have ever done before, overcome challenges and come out smiling at the other side. I now refer back to the two different kinds of university leavers; the optimists and the cautious. As we travel along our obstacle course it becomes clear that the roles people took at the start can change. Those who were verbal in asserting their fearless talent shouting ‘I could do this with my eyes closed’ are now standing at the top of the zip wire – all limbs frozen in fear of the unknown.
If we move this metaphor back to the real world, we can see the importance of valuable work experience. Immersing yourself in the business world as an intern can help you turn your ‘weaknesses’ into strengths so that when it comes to joining a company or setting up your own business you are able to exercise all the skills you have learnt and you will be more aware of the obstacles that challenge you and how to overcome them.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Different obstacles act as a barrier to different people; you might be challenged by your fear of heights whilst others do not trust the strengths of the tress holding the course up. In business, it is important to realise that we will all be challenged in our careers, so when you see somebody struggling, make sure that you take the time to help them get back on track as you never know when you will need somebody to help you.
There are different kinds of leaders and we need a combination of all
Leaders should come close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them. There are the loud leaders who inspire the team with their positive fearless attitude and quick pace. There is also the quieter leader who displays their weaknesses and openly challenges them. These unsung heroes can be just as powerful as the louder natural leaders, as you enter your career you will see that you can be a vision to others, even when you feel powerless yourself.
It was all worth it
Everyone will have different milestones that they want to achieve – for some this may be having the courage to tackle the zip wire while for others completing the entire course will be the only measure of success. The point is it doesn’t matter what your idea of success is, the only thing that does matter is that when you achieve what you set out to do – the adrenaline peaks and crashes, your legs furiously shaking and the moments you were close to tears – were all worth it!