A guest post by Keli Lenfield
I was one of the many college graduates who had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. I was also very envious of my friends who did know what they wanted to do, they got the marks, applied for their degree and they were on their way.
I started on the path of try-everything-to-narrow-down-what-you-are-good-at and combine this with how much money I can make doing this! So my resume consisted of hospitality, retail, finance, IT, real estate, administration, cleaner, event manager, talent agent, trainer, assessor, nightclub door-bitch, model and course developer – Gen “Y” eat your heart out!! This of course, always led to the question from potential employers as to why I had had so many jobs, to which my answers started off pretty shaky but these too ended up being refined and used to my benefit. So, you can believe my relief when I read that employers and in particular recruitment agents were realising that the benefits of many jobs meant that you had a heap of experience dealing with many situations, different types of people of all colours, shapes, sizes and ages, you could work within a team, on your own, under stressful situations and you were extremely adaptable – Bingo!
The best part of not knowing what you want is… being young and not knowing what you want… you have time, you are supposed to make mistakes and you are supposed to make the same ones a couple of times (hopefully no more than a couple) until you get the feeling that this is NOT what you should be doing or want.
Tip #1 Knowing what you don’t want, makes finding what you do want A LOT easier!
In my experience we (both men and women) lose our trust in our instincts. Mine went with my fearlessness when I realised I wasn’t the only six foot blonde in the world and I had to dig really deep to find and regularly present the “Keli” factor that would win me the job/promotion/contract.
I became really good at writing “pro & con” lists and still use them whenever I need clarity and definition on what I truly like to do, how I can further my opportunities and what I ultimately want. I have resigned from jobs I haven’t even started because they didn’t feel right.
At first I would be really pissed off at the amount of groundwork I had done, the contacts I had made and that I was starting to make a name for myself…. Plan B? Milk it for what I was there to learn and retain the contacts I had made as they invariably ended up being top references and more commonly the stepping stone to a new job or opportunity. As long as you accept responsibility for the position you are in, you will always have a way forward (or sideways) heading in the direction that gives you control of your life choices.
I believe in giving credit where it is due and also making it perfectly clear that if the deal was done by me, that the influencers knew it! Looking back I was extremely eager to be a “success” in my early 20’s. I was busy reading and not quite understanding how to make friends and influence people, how to think and grow rich and how to be the greatest saleswoman in the world! But guess what? I didn’t have any mentors, I was seemingly surrounded by sharks and snakes and at the end of the day, did only have a 20 something head on my shoulders and couldn’t wait until Thursday night (the new Friday!)
You need to start somewhere and over the years my WANT list has been added to, chopped in half reprioritised and refined until after a while certain things become standard and habitual. The refining will continue to happen just as long at the end of the day I am happy and not only making a difference but consistently being the difference.
Tip #2 The Label
What are you grateful for?
Me? I am grateful that I get to wake up every day in a clean bed in a warm house and I have a full fridge, I am living in a free country, have fresh water, am able to meet people and communicate new ideas and solutions without the threat of being shot, beaten or thrown in gaol and that there is only one of me in the whole world. So what does this mean? I think that we get so caught up in other people’s lives, our constant comparisons and apparent lack of something (physical, material or spiritual) that we don’t stop to recognise and really appreciate who we are, what we represent and what we can contribute.
Ask yourself honestly, what would you like your friends and colleagues to say about you at your passing? This is the label that should come naturally and is something you are proud of and something that if it doesn’t align with your chosen career or workplace will make short work of your daily cover up. Personal branding comes about as a work in progress with Tip #1. Recognising areas that may challenge you, that need a bit of work or something you were so busy doing automatically, you didn’t realise it was a skill or talent to enjoy and share becomes part of who you are and is something you cannot fake. “Fake it until you make it” certainly has its place in the business world and is something I have done in an exercise of perception and would recommend ONLY if you have a fundamental intention and you are well on your way climbing the ladder and know how to answer when your credentials are questioned.
Also ask yourself who do you admire and most importantly – why do you admire them?
Tip # 3 Habits to keep you happy, sane and focused
Without giving you any more one-liners and rehashed affirmations, I thought I would just jot down some of the habits I have formed over the years that I wish I had done sooner. But then again, habits take time to form properly and therefore some I would not know how to any sooner than now!
I now only listen to people I respect and whom have done what I want to do – for the right reasons (this goes for advice and criticism)
I read and re-read a lot of books – the paper variety about personal development, the universal laws and better business practice… anything that comes from a reliable source/author that will make me a better person, mother, businesswoman, coach, author and trainer
Every morning I drink a glass of warm water with lemon, then I look at my emails, clean out the crap and mark the three (3) immediate emails to be read and actioned that day – Start your day grateful and as clean and clear as possible!
I work on my personal development and real feel-good state daily
I never feel guilty about saying No and taking regular time out for ME
I treat others as I wish to be treated
I believe that I deserve the best and expect it
I spend time in the sun and the rain
I look after myself inside and out, because no-one else will do a better job and its part of who I am and my label
I ask for help and graciously accept compliments and congratulations
I love my mistakes and failures and am grateful for every rotten relationship as I have learned what I want and truly deserve
I see challenges as opportunities and dream BIG
I focus on creating what I want, visualise the ideal outcome and then make it happen
I still, and always will, try something new
I drink a heap of water, while still enjoying my champagne and rich food
Keli Lenfield is an author, certified achievement coach, qualified workplace trainer and assessor, accredited course developer and Model Alliance Global Founder. Her work has been aimed at the long term unemployed, early school leavers and the disabled. She has written the book Everyone is a supermodel: Secrets for any career based on my modelling experience and describes herself as a happy and healthy single mum by choice. She has traveled the world, been married and divorced and presently resides on the Gold Coast, Queensland Australia.
For more information: www.kelilenfield.com
Be the difference to make a Difference!