A note from my younger self, with edits by my older self.

When I was recently cleaning out my emails, I found a note from June 2011 from my younger professional self. It must have been during the time of David Letterman as it is a top ten list that I created and used in a presentation about career development.

Top Ten Tips for Managing Your Career (June 2011)

  1. Be self-aware.
  2. Practice discernment – know which sword you are willing to die on.
  3. Learn how to give and receive feedback.
  4. Have a plan or outline of what you want out of your personal and professional life.
  5. Raise your hand…volunteer especially if asked.
  6. After a year or two, ask your supervisor if you can participate in a 360-degree
    evaluation.
  7. Find mentors inside and outside of your place of employment.
  8. Network inside and outside your place of employment (i.e., join professional
    organizations).
  9. Quench your thirst for success by being open to new knowledge – educate yourself.
  10. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Top Ten Tips for Managing Self and Career (October 2021)

  1. Be proficient in emotional intelligence domains and competencies because they are the Holy Grail for managing self and managing and leading others.
  2. Know what matters and what you can control and only expend most of your energy in the areas that overlap those two things (The Power of Venn).
  3. Participate in 360-degree evaluations and be open to receiving all the feedback as there is a grain of truth in everything.
  4. Know the difference between a mentor and a sponsor and find both.
  5. Network inside and outside your organization.
  6. Mistakes are the lessons you will never forget that can help you grow personally and professionally; it takes a growth mindset to receive these lessons.
  7. Be decisive; always know which swords you are willing to die on.
  8. Even if it is only for five minutes a day, take the time to read something that engages you.
  9. Practice 4-7-8 breathing.
  10. Life happens; you need an outline, not a plan.

So, I have become much more verbose now that I am longer in the tooth. However, my list has not drastically changed, but my perspective has shifted. I am more centered and appreciate what it means to be self-reflective and self-aware, to understand the complexity of the world around me, and my ability to have an impact. I also realize that it is about my chosen life path, not my career. I have put in the work and given myself the grace to make mistakes and learn from them. My greatest lesson has been letting go of the need to be perfect and in control; I only compete with myself and focus on how I can have the most significant impact in a way that is most meaningful to me.


What’s on your top ten list?

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4 Responses

  1. Bravo Boi! Thank you for giving voice to this list. My notes to my younger self would include:
    1) learn how to practice self compassion (sooner rather than later)
    2) develop a mindfulness practice and make it a daily discipline
    3) always invite others to help me expand my self-awareness.

    1. Karen, thank you for your notes! I love them. Self-compassion is something that we all need on our top ten list. I just made a footnote to mine. 🙂

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