Honest Advice to Young Leaders on Their Dream Job
What is your ultimate job, your dream job? You have a great shot at it, but it’s important that you go after it in the right way or you may miss it.
I love being around young leaders — often called Millennials. (While there is a wide range of opinions as to the years that bookend the Millennials, we can all agree that the twenty-somethings are in that group.) They are bright, energetic, full of ideas, and possess great potential.
Young leaders often say to me,
“Your mentor John Maxwell (top leadership guru) says that leaders should focus on doing only what they are really good at. He does just 4 things; leadership, speaking, creating, and networking. I want to only do the 4 things I’m good at.”
So then we jump into questions like:
- Do you know how long it took John to get there?
- Do you want to know what Mr. Maxwell did to get there?
- Describe the price you are willing to pay to get there.
- Do you already know what you are good at? Let’s talk about that.
As one who worked along side of John for twenty years and was mentored by him during that time, I can offer an insider view.
It took John Maxwell about thirty years to arrive at a place in his career where he could do only the 4 things he is gifted and designed to do. And over the course of those many years he did “37” things, at all times, at an exhausting rate. Things that were difficult, not what he wanted, and often just the “junk” stuff that someone asked him to do, or someone needed him to do. And candidly, he did it with a smile and a cheerful heart. John did it with 100% effort.
Let me offer key things that for 20 years I watched John (and other great leaders) do, so that one day, be it ten years or thirty, you can have your dream job.
1) Be willing to do what others are not willing to do.
Take the initiative to work outside of your job description to help others and the organization be successful. Especially the small and undesired tasks.
2) Deliver solutions.
Anyone can identify a problem. Good leaders solve problems. Great leaders solve problems before they happen. Serve your boss well, offer more than one solution for any given problem.
3) Be a “show up early” and “stay late” kind of person.
You don’t have to mess up your personal life to be a go-getter! It only takes a little difference to stand out from the pack.
4) Express genuine joy and gratitude in serving others.
Someone chose you for the job you have. Serve with a glad heart and express gratitude.
5) Discover, develop and delight in your true gifts.
This takes time. Experiment. Practice. Improve. Don’t be in a hurry. Work hard, work smart.
6) Do your current job well before dreaming about the next one.
In order to do only what you are good at, first you must be good at something. Really good, and for a long time. Don't just change jobs, build something.
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