Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Life and Career Lessons from my Grandmother

This past Saturday, my grandmother died at the age of 100. Believe it or not, even at 100 her death took us all by surprise because she was very healthy and active. She still lived on her own at 100 years old! In honor of my grandmother, I would like to share with you some life lessons I learned from her and discuss how these might also apply to your career.

Life Lesson: Do what makes you happy.
We may not all be so fortunate to live to be 100 years old like my grandmother. Make the most of every day, whether you are given 100 years or 40 years by pursuing your passions and doing the things that interest you most.

Career Lesson: Life is too short to hate your job!
I have told you before, that I held a job that I hated for a year and it was torture. Many people feel stuck in their current position and stay simply because they think there are no other options for them. Yes, you must pay your bills and put food on the table, but don't give up on your dreams until you have looked at all your options.

Life Lesson: Say what is on your mind . . . tactfully.
We sat around the dinner table last night telling stories we remembered about my Grandma. Most of them revolved around her speaking her mind. She would say what she thought, when she thought it, and in exactly the way she thought it. This did not always come across as politely and tactfully as it should have, but you always knew where you stood with her.

Career Lesson: Be assertive and be your own advocate.
If you believe in yourself and truly believe that what you have to say is important, then others will feel the same way. Speak clearly, calmly, politely, and professionally. Take credit for your ideas and accomplishments and advocate for your own success.

Life Lesson: Keep good records!
Can you imagine all the changes and advances my Grandma saw in her 100 years? I find myself wishing I had sat down with her and recorded her memories, thoughts, and observations. Instead, all of those memories died with her. Keep a journal and write down your thoughts and observations for your future generations.

Career Lesson: Keep good records!
I meet with so many people who have not updated their resume in 5 to 10 years. I can't remember what I did last week without writing it down, much less 5 years ago. Start an accomplishment folder - call it your "I love me" file - and keep a record of measurable achievements and career successes as they happen. Updating your resume and preparing for an interview will come so much easier if you follow this simple rule.

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