Lessons from a partial lifetime of trading punches with life.
I’ll start with a confession — I am not a big shot.
I’ve done well in my field, organized volunteer events for some incredible causes, and had a book published. I have an amazing family, a little financial stability, and a voracious appetite for learning.
From this, I have amassed a bit of experience.
But I also have boot marks from being on the ass-end of too many ass-kickings in my career. I’ve felt anxiety as a scheduled event approached with only a few people signed up when I had promised 50 volunteers. And I toiled for 20 years as an unknown poet and fiction writer before landing a book deal.
I’ve seen things and done stuff. Some of it comes recommended, but the rest sucks.
If you have a growth mindset, you likely soak up articles on Medium and LinkedIn by corporate changemakers and popular influencers. Those TED-talk-worthy folks are big shots — but not me.
Yet something remains absent from their carefully crafted, branded advice. It’s the key ingredient when you’re following a recipe for success — unabashed honesty.
With this article, I will give you this candor.
I won’t sugarcoat the truth with flowery language. I only want to pass along ten concepts I’ve learned so you can uncover a straighter path than the winding road I meandered down.
1. Learn how to “engineer” your professional destiny.
A baccalaureate in engineering and graduate schooling in business keeps me grounded in what I can document, study, and compare. Above all, I remain dissatisfied with superficial explanations. So I seek to grasp the importance of resources and ideas, as well as become familiar with as many of those things as possible.
At times, conventional methods will guide you towards accomplishments. Yet often, just making the most out of what’s available reflects the true art of engineering your destiny. By keeping all options at hand and reminding yourself of what you have at your disposal, you can build opportunities, optimize situations, and craft a lasting career.