I’m mentoring an incredibly bright professional who is at an inflection point in his young career and we had a great conversation yesterday during our monthly breakfast meeting that I thought may be of interest and value to a broader audience in my community. I mentioned to him that:
Think of your career in three stages: Make It – Master It – Matter!
- Use your 20s to try a lot of different jobs, roles, and realm of responsibilities to really start identify what do you enjoy doing;
- Use your 30s and 40s to focus that lens and really nurture the competencies that you’re drawn to; in essence fuel your strengths;
- Use your 50s and 60s to make a greater impact in the lives of others. This could be via a greater involvement with boards (for- or non-profit) volunteer organizations, mentor programs, etc.;
What’s critical is that a) you get a compass and throw away your stopwatch, and b) you find the intersection of three circles: what are you passionate about, what are you great at, and what can be financially rewarding. Passion + Great but no money and you’ll be a non-profit all your life. Great and money and no passion and you’ll burn out sooner or later; passion and money but not that great, and you won’t last in this or any other business.
The same career advice also applies to your business relationships:
- Know your why before you reach out or invest in someone! It’s and investment and you can’t afford to make them blindly or haphazardly;
- Get in the follow-through (a process) vs. simply follow-up (transaction) business;
- Focus on fewer, more meaningful, impactful relationships than just a whole lot of indifferent contacts;
- Be intentional about your personal brand promise, your actions, and alignment you’re your brand equity;
- Invest in and solidify your character and it will build, nurture, and when necessary, repair your reputation;
- You’re never too old or young to find business relationship mentors or become one!