It’s been a long road, but you’ve been working hard to figure out your passion. After volunteering, you’ve started recognizing what you like and, more importantly, what you don’t. These revelations are precious because each one brings you closer to figuring out what you want to do but championing yourself isn’t easy. Now that you better understand what drives you, it’s time to become your biggest supporter.
If you’re still in school, raise your hand the next time your professor asks a question you can answer. Sitting in silence won’t demonstrate how quickly you think on your feet. If problem-solving is one of your strongest skills, challenge yourself to share it with the group. Sharon Lechter, a keynote speaker, bestselling author, business strategist and mentor, wrote an article titled “3 Tips to Be Your Own Champion.” In the piece, she lists three ingredients to developing what she refers to as a championship formula.
Imagine looking forward to a relaxing beach by the ocean and agreeing to visit a ski resort in the middle of winter instead. As hard as it is, you won’t get where you want to be until you know what you want. After three semesters, you might love the science behind debits and credits on a balance sheet – or you might hate it. Both outcomes are normal, and despite what you may hear from friends or family, there’s nothing wrong with recognizing that something doesn’t fit the way you thought it would. It’s like buying new shoes. You can’t just pick up any pair, pay and go about your day. You have to try them on and see how it feels. Your career is no different. You have to make sure it fits.
Finding your place could be even more difficult if you’re surrounded by people who don’t have similar goals. That doesn’t mean you have to make new friends, but you may want to consider spending more time with people with ambitions and a positive mindset. Being around people who can see the sun through the clouds will drastically change your outlook. A pessimistic outlook will only hinder your progress and make it more challenging to see everything you do well. Surround yourself with other champions, people who get up when knocked down, push themselves to get better at their craft, share their successes and failures, and try to help those following in their footsteps. They’re champions because they speak up, are proud of their accomplishments, help others, and make sure those who need to know - do.
It’s understandable if you find praising your successes and achievements difficult. However, if you don’t do it, who will? We’re not suggesting you bring up the accolades you received from your boss to colleagues. Just be sure your boss or supervisor knows your work ethic, contributions, and achievements, so they don’t forget what you’re capable of. You must learn to unplug and make time to do things completely unrelated to work because your mental health is vital to your professional development. Read, watch a movie, exercise, go out with friends. Make your time, your time.
Regardless of the season or where you live, the world can be an incredibly cold place. You might set your sights on goals that never come to fruition but remember, when one door closes another opens. When you graduate and receive that coveted degree, diploma or certificate, the burden of expectation from family, friends or yourself, may weigh you down. No matter how often you hear how talented you are, nothing will change until you recognize your accomplishments and abilities. Remember, nothing worthwhile comes easy, so be prepared to fail because every chapter in your story won’t celebrate successes. If you’re still trying to figure out what drives you, don’t be afraid to take risks, because as Albert Einstein once said, “A ship is always safe at the shore - but that is NOT what it is built for.”