I was in a TEAMS meeting recently doing some planning for a much bigger meeting. We were discussing conversation starters when one of the people in the meeting suggested an interesting question to get ideas flowing.
His question was: What is the one piece advice, if you knew then what you know now, you would have given yourself when you were just starting out?
I was immediately fascinated with the question. I also knew my answer almost immediately. It is probably easier for me to answer that question, particularly this time of year. That’s because towards the end of each year as I plan for the year ahead I reflect back on prior years to determine what they can teach me.
Most people want to improve. They know they need to learn in order to do it. What we forget however is that what we learn from others can’t ever teach us as effectively as what we learn from ourselves.
So how would you answer that question for yourself? Take some time because it’s a serious question. But here’s an additional follow up question to consider…are you now following the advice that you would have given yourself years earlier?
Depending on where you’re at in your career the advice may or may not be applicable but it is worth considering anyway.
For those of you wondering about my answer to that question here it is.
I would tell my younger self to listen FAR MORE than I talk. I’d add that I should listen intently to those who are nearest to the end of their career. There are far less likely to be playing politics or trying to lead you astray. They know more because they have lived more.
A few words of caution here…wisdom usually shows up with age but not always. Sometimes age just shows up by itself.
If you can learn from their mistakes instead of making the mistakes yourself you will save yourself a lot of time and expense.
I’d finish the advice by reminding myself that I’ll never learn one darn thing from talking. I’ll only learn from listening. So listen, listen, and listen some more.
Most of that advice remains 100% applicable today…too bad I didn’t listen when it was first shared with me by someone else. 🥴