High School and College can be a flurry of extracurriculars, right?
Sign up for EVERYTHING
Build that RESUME
NETWORK and build connections
And although over time we learn to channel our efforts and be a part of impactful organizations and endeavors, I believe that young professionals lose our zeal to sign up. We go from stage to stage of our thinking on “the extra stuff”.
High School & College: It’s all valuable; I need to do it all!
Post-College: Wait, did that time spent amount to anything?
Early Career: I need focus; no more “extras”
So this shift for many of us has taken place…
We don’t raise our hand to join an organization, volunteer for a project, and lead outside of our day-to-day responsibilities with work. We don’t mosey down the street to meet our neighbors as we once did in college in a dorm setting or in the classroom. Why? We don't have the time or energy or focus to do such.
I get it.
There are seasons in life that call for this and some opportunities, although great ones, are not good for us individually and our life circumstances. After my first was born, I felt the tug-of-war between raising my hand to lead initiatives at work, for our church, and other professional and personal opportunities.
After learning from some wise professionals, here are a few bits of encouragement on how to think about leading in our personal and professional lives:
Is it an opportunity with a YES said with 90-100% certainty? Then yes, it is. All other options are a big NO. We MUST be committed and passionate about the opportunity at hand. Don’t let guilt lead us into taking on any option presented in life.
And opportunities don’t always come about at the team meeting or through a weekly email update. I’ve had some great mentors share that sometimes it’s not at all about “raising your hand”; it’s more about presenting the plan. By taking an idea to your manager, one that you are 100% excited about, you can not only commit to the right things in life but also be the initiator behind those great ideas.
A list of excuses doesn’t shadow over the fact that serving is important. I hear many young professionals say—“When I’m retired” or “If I had work-sponsored service projects”. But we are called to serve in our communities in some fashion in the here and now.
What organization or group can we get behind both with our resources? Time and money are both resources we can offer, along with numerous others. We discussed the money aspect in a previous post:
3. Network, always
Never lose site of the value of networking. This doesn’t always comes in the form of meet and greets and often takes more time than we millennials expect to put forth.
I sometimes forget that networking is about building credibility and building credibility is about proving character over time. So networking is not for the short-term—it is a lifelong process of connecting, following up, and making things happen.
Someone else is better to inform our generation of the “how to’s” but our reminder is the value of finding opportunities to do this and scheduling time for such a valuable part of our lives.
Now it's our time to make another shift into thinking about our involvement in the workplace and in our communities.