A few weeks ago, I had coffee with a 23-year old “Go-Getter” here in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. He was referred to me from a local business owner and persisted via a phone call and two emails that we get together face-to-face. With my heavy travel schedule, I checked my calendar, called him, and a few days later we met for a cup of coffee near my office.
As we sat down and got to know each other I could immediately tell there was something different about him that flowed from his words and calm demeanor. The word that best described it is maturity. For being 23-years old and a year removed from college, his attitude was unlike most 23-year old’s fresh out of college. His words, questions, and how we conversed gave me the impression that he was at least 10-years older. This is a big compliment.
I must confess that very few people know what they truly want in their early 20’s and many still even into their 30’s. It was refreshing to see someone not only so focused at an early point in their career, but also persistent and convincing enough to get me to sit down and have a cup of coffee to share more about what we both do.
As our meeting ended he asked me what final piece of advice I would give to someone like him as they get started with their career. I rarely get asked this and it took me a bit by surprise. After a few moments of searching my mind, I shared three key things to ponder and strongly consider doing as he embarks on his young business career.
Here are the three pieces of advice I gave him:
- Join Toastmasters. It’s to me a non-negotiable as it can help any person become a better communicator and leader if they attend and participate in the group meetings. I was a member of it for 12-years and it changed my life for the better in a multitude of ways.
- Never stop learning. I mentioned that the best leaders are readers and voracious students. In the quickly changing economy life-long learning is no longer an option. To get and stay ahead in any career or business, non-stop upgrading of skills and talents is required. In addition, there is more information and wisdom available online for free or low cost than at any other point in human history.
- Find someone within your company or industry to mentor you. I’ve done this many times throughout my career. Some mentors have required me to pick up the tab at a nice restaurant in exchange for their time, while others haven’t charged me a thing. A few others I’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars to study with at private events and through their information courses. A good mentor can not only save you time, but also show you the challenges and opportunities they’ve learned from years and years of trial-and-error.
So, there you have it. A few pieces of advice that are relevant regardless of your age of career!