“What’s Your Best Career Advice?”

I was talking with a friend this week, and she asked: “What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?”

Such an interesting question!

For me, the best advice I’ve received was pretty simple.  I had left the military, and been searching for my next step pretty unsuccessfully for several months, when a mentor connected me with a two of his friends.  I met them for dinner, and the very first thing they said to me was this: “Stay encouraged!  Stay ENCOURAGED!  STAY ENCOURAGED!”

They said it to me three times–I’ll never forget it.  Advice worth listening to, and worth sharing.

Encouragement to keep going, courtesy of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals |  Denver, Colorado

I also spent time thinking about the lessons I would share.  Three thoughts came to mind.

Keep working to find your people.  Most of us find that it takes time to find your groove, figure out where you belong and what problems you want to tackle.  And, once we do, time passes, we grow, and want to look for new challenges.  Along the way, most of us will find ourselves feeling slightly out of place, undervalued in our work, and struggling to decide where we should go next.  That’s okay–it’s part of the process, and this uncertainty is the gateway to growth and more compelling work.  Stay encouraged, and keep up the search for your tribe and your calling: it will be worth the effort.

Everything that sets you apart is optional. In every job, the things that are mandatory will only get you average returns.  If we want to have an out-of-the-ordinary career, we’ll have to do work that is optional in order to set ourselves apart.  For a career that is more than mediocre, look for ways to go beyond what’s required.

You cannot outsource your investments.  No one will take responsibility of caring about our career, our time, our advancement, our fulfillment, or our happiness for us.  With our time and our money, we are accountable for the results of our decisions.  We are supposed to be enjoying the adventure of our work–but it’s up to us to find that happiness, and that success.

So – these are the best lessons I’ve heard and learned.  What would YOU say?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Stay encouraged, and have a good week!





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