You may have read about the Supreme Court controversy about whether a wise old men can arrive at the same decision as a wise old woman. The brilliant Sandra Day O’Connor thinks so. Others don’t. Both sides of this argument agree on one thing. Somehow being old makes you wise. I disagree. There is wisdom in youth. I learned this from Aaron David Wuensch. You can apply his wisdom to your career.
Go for great. I learned about Aaron from his father, a customer of mine who also became a friend. Aaron was a gifted athlete. He played select soccer, baseball and swam competitively in his early teens. When he was thirteen, he told his parents that he was giving up soccer and baseball. Why? He told them, “I know I can be a good soccer player and a good baseball player. But, I think I can be a great swimmer. I’m going to focus on that to excel.” He was right. He became a nationally ranked swimmer.
As you plan your business career, think about what you do extremely well. Why not consider a path that incorporates those talents? Instead of pushing yourself to accomplish more difficult tasks that are unsuited to your skills and interests, you could be doing other things that you enjoy more and that you ultimately do better. That will get you noticed and hopefully promoted.
Celebrate. When Aaron was a kid, like most boys, he played basketball. Behind his house was a community basketball court. It had the basics–a backboard and a chain link net. His parents watched in amusement when he would go out and shoot baskets for hours. When he was 10 the basketball was bigger than his head. He still practiced endlessly, yet he never made a basket. How could he? His shots never reached above the hoop. One day, he came running across the field to his house and was as excited as he could be. His parents thought he made his first basket. He didn’t. He yelled in delight, “Mom, Dad, my ball hit the chain!”
Why is it in business that we only value the completion of a project and only if it goes well? Did our efforts to produce the project somehow not count? Maybe great results only count to management, but for you, your efforts have to count. I do a lot of prospecting work for my business. Each call doesn’t always end in a sale. Yet, I do appreciate that I’ve done part of the process that will lead to my success. Give yourself the encouragement and appreciation for persisting at a difficult task. You don’t have to wait till you complete a project to celebrate. You can celebrate especially when you “hit the chain.:
Give to others. Aaron was a talented student, too. He earned a scholarship as the top student in his Masters program in economics. He took the time to explain to other students what came easy to him, but didn’t to them. One of his friends said, “I am so bad at math. For me one plus one is always five.” Aaron spent hours tutoring him in math and never lost patience.