Friday, February 12, 2010

Responsibility to Others

I've been thinking a lot lately about how important it is reach out to others. I can remember having a rocky start in my earlier years and all of the people that kept trying to help me along the way. Even though they didn’t get to see the immediate results, they planted the seed. They never gave up on me. Here it is 12-15 years later and I am considered successful. I have an M.B.A, 12 years of business experience, am a director and I’m only 31. I look much younger than I really am by about 7 years. I work in a community college so I often get mistaken for a student, which is kind of fun.

Someone asked me the other day, "Where did you graduate High School?"  I said the truth: "I didn't.  I have a G.E.D."  She looked at me and said, "Are you serious?"  No one today believes that when they first meet me.  People I work with see me as focused, direct and I’ve often been told that I’m “intimidating.” I think it’s because I know exactly what I want and it if I don’t, it doesn’t take me long to get there.

I still feel like that person who had a rocky start. It’s like it was yesterday to me. Now, I know why. It’s my turn. I’m starting to feel like my purpose is to help others, not to pay back the people that helped me, but because it is the right thing to do. Before I get too deep here for some, please understand that this is a breakthrough for me. I always help others, but feel that my capacity is greater and what I can do to help others could be greater. It would be good to show those who took the time to help, that it does pay off, that there is a reward and that people can become great if you just take the time to plant the seed.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Value of Continuous Learning

Jack Welsh said it best "Change before you have to." Once you stop learning, you stand still while everything around you is changing.

Continuous learning is a part of everyone's life.  Whether it's a hobby, education, relationships; there is value in applying yourself to learning.  One way to do this is to set a goal on something you would like to get better at or understand differently.  My perspective on learning has changed over the years.  It used to be very simple: I want to learn something, I study it and I learn it.  Then I move on to the next thing I want to learn.  How about changing the way you do things, even how you view things?  This is not so black and white at times and definately not easy.  Opening up your perspective is a way of learning about yourself and about others.  It is an actualization process.  I sometimes open up discussions with someone who may view things differently than me.  After the discussion, I either have a sense of whether I stand even more firm as a result or whether or not I can be flexible on this issue because I may not have considered the opposing side's valid arguements.  By engaging with others, I learn more. 

I have heard many people say, "It's who you know."  But then that's too narrow.  The only people that survive with this thinking are those who make "friends."  I used to think "It's what you know."  But then that's also narrow.  You put yourself in a vacuum and limit your ability to learn from others.  Now I think: It's who you know, what you know and who knows you.  You can apply your knowledge, make connections and still be an individual.