Career Coach: My Mother’s Five Commandments
Thou Shalt Not Prejudge Anyone
My mother always gives everyone the benefit of the doubt. She always expects the best of people and most people deliver on her expectations. She has a diverse group of friends who are devoted to her because of her openness and tolerance. We can all benefit from welcoming people into our lives because they bring fresh ideas and perspectives. You cannot judge a book by its cover, nor a person by how he or she appears.
Thou Shalt Keep Quiet and Listen More
My mother told me that her aunt used to tell her to keep quiet and listen. By doing this, she would gain the knowledge of the speaker as well as retain her own wisdom. Another advantage to following this advice is that you will be perceived as brilliant at parties, as everyone loves to talk about themself but few of us have the opportunity to regale a listener.
Thou Shalt Lend an Ear–and when wanted–a Hand
Whether dealing with family, friends or clients, begin by listening. Sometimes people just need to air their grievances. Listen to discover the problems and take time to ask more questions to clarify. When the person has had a chance to air everything, thank them for sharing and ask they if they want ideas on how to solve the problem. They may just want someone to listen. If they do want some ideas, brainstorm with them and make sure that both of you agree on the essentials of the problem before discussing solutions.
Thou Shalt Use the Right Tool
My mom’s parents owned a hardware store in New York. She always said you need to use the right tool for the job, whatever it is. Do you have the right tools in your tool chest for the job you are doing? That includes the right people on your team. Do you have the knowledge you need to do the job? The right materials? The right attitude? It is easier to do a job with the right tools. If you are building a house, you need a blue print. If you are writing a feature length screenplay you need an outline. If you are building a life in animation or visual effects, you need persistence, a positive attitude, an ability to network, a team spirit and lots of other tools.
Thou Shalt Learn to Try New Things
My mom exposed me to all kinds of activities and events when I was a kid and I did the same for my daughter. Unless we try playing baseball, playing the piano, or playing with clay, we may not discover what we really enjoy doing and have a talent for. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. By making mistakes we make great discoveries. When you learned to walk, you kept going even though you were not successful at first. The same holds for any endeavor you are trying to do now. A corollary commandment is thou shalt never stop learning. It is never too late and you are never too old to learn something new. Make it a habit to learn something new every day because by doing so you exercise your brain. Be open to new ideas and new people and new experiences.
Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a recruiter and career coach who spends much of her time listening and helping creative people succeed. She loves her mom and admires her for her friendly, outgoing attitude and a zillion other things. Pamela has discovered that people are like onions, with many layers. Once shy, Pamela tried a new thing (her mom’s fifth commandment) and now she is a frequent speaker at colleges and conferences around the world. To contact Pamela for personal career coaching, recruiting or speaking engagements email her at PamRecruit@q.com.