Remember a few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about the “12 Rules for Everyone”? If you didn’t read it yet, click here to get up to speed! Well, I find myself coming back to them at work and home, so of course I felt the need to blog about them. Over the next few weeks, I will focus on one rule per week. I would love for you to share your thoughts and ideas. We learn from each other, so please share! I promise to cover them all!
What you learned in college is a foundation for future learning, nothing more.
Today, this was oh so appropriate and even took me back long before my college days. It was the first day of school for our school system. I had a very excited, but slightly nervous, eighth grader who was ready to tackle the world (as she saw it – the high school!). Weren’t we all? My best friend’s kindergartener had her first day of school too, who couldn’t even image eating breakfast because her “tummy felt funny” and was ready to climb on that bus no matter how scary! Been there too! Then I thought about what we learn over our lives and how it molds and directs us. Be it kindergarten, eighth grade, college, etc. What you learn is merely a starting point. A foundation. Think about what you learned in earlier in life…
First, think about it from a very basic, fundamental level. Remember Robert Fulghum? He reminded us to play fair, share, clean up your own mess, you learn to balance – paint some, sing some, read some, etc. Don’t you do this now? You face the fear of the scary school bus or the first day at a very big school with all new rules and expectations. Eighth grade, you learned how to play fair so now you embrace the new student with a welcoming smile. You conquered that school bus, so now a new locker and the big intimidating high school is not quite as scary. In college, you learned how to clean your mess since kindergarten, even though you may not have done the best job while living at home, you now have to. No parental unit there to do it for you. And you share, with your friends, your roommate, etc. And you still have scary moments, but you’ve got this! You have had lots of practice so here we are today. You play fair at work and with your co-workers. Why? Because it ensures success. You now try and find your balanced life. Being a good parent, friend, employee, etc. How do we do it? You learn what works for you, what you need and find a happy place where YOUR balance is what matters. And focus each day to achieve your balance. Why? Because you deserve it, makes you a happier person and makes those and the world around you even better too.
Now, think about it academically. I’ll use myself as an example. I studied marketing. I was CONVINCED I was going to use all that knowledge after all those late night study sessions to be the BEST marketing executive EVER! There wasn’t a chance in the world that I would be anything different. Guess what? I’m not. I’m a chief operating officer. Seems like a dramatically different change of plans. But it’s because I had a great foundation. And over time learned to embrace my fate and that my reality was different than my earlier plans and current perception. That accounting class that I swore would never be needed, now keeps our profitability on track. My sociology professor who was also a highly feared criminal court judge, was the BAIN OF MY EXISTENCE. I swore that man would fail me just out of spite because we had dramatically different opinions and views. But what he (the experience) taught me was patience, tact, tenacity, the ability to see all sides of a situation and the ability to come to a compromise. What about your team? Sales directors and counselors- Remember that psychology class that was a requirement? It helped you learn to build relationships based on who is sitting in front of you or on the tour. EDs – You learned how to lead a team. Be it in a club, sorority, intermural sport. You learned about different personalities and how to get them to work together for the common goal.
I think you get my point. The bottom line is take everything you learn (yesterday, 20 years ago, today, tomorrow) and build up on it. Learn from it. Challenge what you thought and learned. Push yourself. Make mistakes. Change your mind. It is merely a foundation which what you make of it is entirely up to you.
By the way, Judge “B” didn’t fail me. I got a 98% on my final project. But it was written in very bold, GREEN marker that he adamantly did not agree with me and that I really should have considered a career in litigation! He would love to see me argue and defend a case in his court any day!
Written by Jenn Cox, COO at Bild & Company.