I was recently asked by a university career planning center director: what do you wish you had known early in your career?
I could ask myself more easily, what was I thinking?! But in an effort to frame this in a way that would help someone just starting a career, I began to think about things that have helped me along the way and that would have been beneficial much earlier on. There are things I discovered only after years that have had a huge impact on my decisions, successes and how I’ve approached setbacks. Here are three things that have mattered for me:
(1) Join a Mastermind Group. I would have harnessed the power of the collective genius – and nurturing – that was around me and joined a mastermind group earlier on. I have lots of good friends and colleagues who did wonderful things for me, and I for them. But that’s not the same thing as a dedicated mastermind group. If you form or join a mastermind group, you significantly increase your chances for success, no matter your industry or profession. Napoleon Hill is the modern day discoverer of the power of mastermind groups, which he labeled when he saw the power that came from titans like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison coming together to help each other succeed. While a mastermind can apply to any area of your life, in a business context, a mastermind consists of no more than 6 to 8 professionals who come together in a spirit of harmony and meet regularly to present their goals, challenges and progress. Each member is held accountable, which is key!
(2) Create a List. If the Power of Focus was written back at the start of my career I would have formed a list early on of everything I wanted to accomplish in life. I wish I would have set out a master list at age 22, no matter how outrageous. Language creates reality and by committing to life goals in writing at an early age, you get further on your path faster.
(3) Tune in to People’s Feelings. I wish earlier on I would have had more intuition of how people were feeling, not just what they were saying. It took me 20 years to develop good antennae. Maybe this is more common for guys – I trusted interpretation of everyone else’s feelings to my girlfriend, my sister, other folks who I knew to be intuitive. It was as if a foreign language were being spoken while I was in the room, and I’d turn to my girlfriend and ask, “what’d he mean?” I heard the words but not the feelings. Now? I listen very closely, and not just for words, but also for meaning and context; the spirit behind the talk.