Choose who to learn from | Sunday Observer

Choose who to learn from

19 March, 2023

Though you see some positive developments, with continuous mounting stress levels surrounding your job due to a very volatile macro environment and intense competition, you are bound to go seek advice from the movers and shakers in the business arena and who are perceived to be more qualified, successful and experienced than you.

We know that many business leaders who positioned themselves as the best in the industry several years ago have failed to respond to challenges and are on the verge of collapse while some others who are less known have weathered the storm better. You can easily be misled by choosing to learn from the wrong individual.

You get many big business leaders and entrepreneurs who come on stage and use electronic media to advise the nation (this has become a fashion in Colombo now), but look at some of their own performance in the recent past before you decide.

Some of their businesses are bleeding already or haven’t delivered the promised results to the shareholders due to their inability to face competition effectively to sustain performance. So you need to know that these issues are affecting even the biggest and the best as perceived.

Yes, they do have good advice to give you but what if their success is a one off due to untapped potential in the market at the time of their entry, good fortune or technological trend that worked for them, and may be very little personal power coming into play?

Be careful when listening to these leaders – don’t be blindly driven by all their claims because they are big and have wealth. Listen with an open heart and use your common sense to accept and embrace what is meaningful to you only. Just following what they say can let you into a more stressful situation. A job that you see as meaningful, a job that adds value to your life, a job that allows you to grow and learn through the course of your time there – all of those are worth losing out on a few thousands. 

Never pass up an opportunity that jumps out at you, but don’t feel like you’re undercutting yourself if you choose something that makes you happy versus something that lines your wallet a little better. Being good at something that you do for work is important, but it shouldn’t be your only deciding factor in taking up a job.

You might be really good at statistics, but some don’t actually enjoy statistics, or find meaning in creating a career out of it. The best thing that you can do is try to find a career path where your passion and skills intersect, instead of just leaning on just one end of that spectrum. Chasing your passion can leave you in a bad financial situation temporarily, but keeping your head down and doing what you’re good at will lay the foundation for a more successful long term career.

Don’t mortgage your life

Some people underestimate themselves, and the people who tell you not to overestimate yourself have no idea what you’re capable of in the way that you do. Never hesitate to go for the opportunities that call out to you.

You have built your career on accepting new opportunities, and you shouldn’t stop doing that on account of those who have no capacity for your talent. However, make sure that you have the time and the energy to accomplish what you’re undertaking. Be aware of your limits, but never be afraid of challenging them.

Passion is not about giving your whole life to the job and being a slave. You should certainly work to live instead of pouring your entire life into your job to the point that there is nothing else going for you. However, this advice is something you should take with a grain of salt. You should find a good way to integrate your work and life where you can enjoy both at the same time. If all you care about is your time outside of the office, you are going to end up resenting the person or company that you work for and you’re going to hate your job.

The same will happen if all you care about is your job. You shouldn’t live to work, but instead of working to live, you should try to find a career that appeals to you and strike a balance between that career and the rest of your life.

Work for the company not for your job

You shouldn’t let your superiors walk all over you, you shouldn’t feel like you need to jump every single time someone says to do so; however, you don’t work for your position, you work for the company. 

This advice floats around out there, but you’ll also often hear the other side of the spectrum where people will tell you to never say no. You should practice saying yes carefully. People want employees that deliver, employees that rise to the occasion, and if you can be that employee without overextending yourself, you should.

As much as you should receive and follow advice in a sensible manner, be responsible in giving advice to others too. Even if one of your friends shares plenty of details about a situation they are facing, that doesn’t mean they want any advice from you. Don’t jump to that conclusion. We are wired to believe that, when people open up their hearts, it is because they need our help. Some folks just want to talk.

When people are going through harsh times, they don’t want to be reminded of their weaknesses. Making people feel more miserable than they already are is what happens when you behave as the know-it-all. That’s why we feel like a superhero when someone is suffering. Watch out to not to cross the thin line between trying to help and having all the answers.