The Virginia Tech Pamplin School of Business invited me to be a panel speaker at their Policy and Strategy Roundtable last night, which I was thrilled to do. The main objective was to reinforce to the students that we have ownership over our careers and have to be strategic about how we want them to play out. These points were then tied to our career success as well as the success of our organizations.
Here are the biggest pieces of advice I had to offer the students:
Differentiate: Organizations get it; differentiate or die. The same goes for individuals. You have to be different from your peers, have something extra to offer, or add more value. If you don’t, you’re done.
Align with key players: I shared a story about how, when finishing my thesis in college, I reached out to the Father of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman, to get his feedback on my topic. Was it easy to track him down, get his contact information, and get a phone call scheduled with him? Hell no. But did it get my professors attention and respect when I was able to insert Dr. Seligman’s personalized quote into my paper? Sure did.
To this day, I seek out the advice, mentorship, and guidance of those who are credible and well known experts in my field.
Live your passion: If you don’t have passion for what you’re doing you’ll lose out to those who do. Passion allows us to run faster, jump higher, and push ourselves farther. It energizes us and allows us to go forever.
If you’re strategic about how to incorporate your passion into a credible field of work your future will be bright and your paycheck will be fat.