[caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”900” caption=”Photo from http://unhai.deviantart.com”][/caption]

Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series. - Rosemarie Urquico, Date A Girl Who Reads

 

Kevin: I’m not sure I can. What if I fail? When I pretend that I can do it by imitating what you guys do it feels like I’m lying to myself that I can even if I feel that I can’t. Dennis: Have you tried and failed or did you just thought about it? Kevin: No. I just thought about it. Dennis: Then you’re lying. How can you say that you can’t do it if you haven’t tried a considerable number of times. I would understand if you failed after X number of attempts and you’ve done everything you can do to improve but to base your belief in yourself and your abilities on something that you told yourself when you felt fear? What do you call that? Isn’t that lying as well? -conversation during the time I got a mentor for an entrepreneurial experiment.

How did I get where I am today? I believe that no success is self made. There is always help for an outside source. It can be from people, it can be from circumstances. Ultimately I believe it’s from God, who in the past few years had shown proof of His existence through an insanely great amount of support I’m receiving. In the past 7 years I started doing freelance sales gigs, handled some parts of operations, moved to corporate sales, tried entrepreneurial experiments and so on. I’m not severely financially successful yet nor is it bigger than some people you know. I do however get questions on how to improve their situation. I can’t say exactly what to do for your situation because I don’t know and have no experience in your situation. Doing so would be me bullshitting you. I can however give you some of the things I did as I attempted to improve my situation at work.

Here they are:

  • Continue learning through reading and self study - I only had one year in college. We hit a financial low and I had to keep myself afloat on my own to prevent myself from “sinking financially.” My dad told me early on that I’ll be competing with graduates from top schools and most of them have genius level intellect. I even misspell words and that frightened me. With that in mind, my first goal was that if you were to put me up against a graduate from the top school and you match my experience and theirs, they would be at a disadvantage. I tried reading books, learning form people more successful than me, attending seminars and eventually I learn mostly online. I didn’t graduate so I can’t stop learning and reading. Sadly a lot of my friends who graduated had no love for learning something new. I’m weird to them because I’m the only one interested in reading long books. They read mostly magazines now. Sadly , I also noticed that my high income friends read a lot and my low income friends read only celebrity magazines. You might have better educational background than me but would you rather compete armed with a diploma and all you learned in school or armed with everything you learned after school. Also apply what you’ve learned. There’s a difference between the results of knowing a thousand effective solutions and using a few effective solutions.
  • Show up - Most people stop at reading. They know but don’t act. Most doesn’t mean everyone. Most means most people who asked me for advice and didn’t get anywhere with it. Every success I had is from God. My part was simply showing up. While it’s true that I do my best to make the most out of my situation, knowing an opportunity from a distractions comes from showing up and seeing things for myself.
  • Keep note of best and bad business practices - There are ways to conduct business. There are ethical, unethical etc. There are effective strategies of doing business doing the wrong thing and ineffective business strategies doing the right thing. Keep note of what works and what doesn’t work. If your boss is doing well financially and they’re doing the right thing learn from every opportunity. If not, learn what “not to do” and learn how to do what’s effective while doing the right thing. There are a lot of examples. I would suggest taking note of how your company handles people, how they pay their people, do they keep their promises, are they profitable, etc.
  • Volunteer for tasks and projects - If you’re starting out they’ll probably give you a title you don’t like but will ask you for tasks of your dream job. If not, you’re in the wrong team. Where I come from, people have a specific title and they end up doing working extra tasks and projects. That’s a good thing. Volunteer for more until you’re asked to help out at the important ones and more importantly what’s interesting to you. When you do you’ll eventually be prepared for what you’re planning for next. What you have right now is an opportunity for the next one so learn to do it well. When you’re ready your preparation will meet the next opportunity.
  • Ask for a fancy title whenever possible - To a certain point I even suggest my own titles. That’s just me. I have a thing for the fanciest I can get so after I handled certain tasks I try to find out what’s the fanciest title I could get for the tasks I recently did and asked for it. It’s not that important but I enjoy a good title. It’s not always helpful because the expectation might be greater and it goes against my under promise and over deliver strategy. It does give me an opportunity to see if I can grow into my ambition within that time period. This strategy is a double edged sword and as the description implies it helps about half the time and hurts half the time so if you’re going to try this I would suggest doing as little as possible. (See above quote)

These are my most common answers when asked for career advice. What else can I help you with?

You might also like: How I Brand Myself for Employment Be Brave Put Your Best Foot Forward