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4 Things Work Experience Taught Me About Business and Life

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You never know when your next opportunity will appear. What my past job experience taught me about the land of the working is to never underestimate the time spent on any job, even if you love what you do or cannot wait for the next career move. The important thing is to be present and respond to each situation as if you are taking away a major nugget from that experience.

Here are 4 things I learned from my work experience:

1. The experience gained is vital to your future

I began my sports career as most do – an intern. But upper management could not have guessed that my long-term goal was to be the first minority woman to own a basketball team. That goal powered me through cold call sessions, sales training and foot canvassing in the Texas heat.

You’ve invested several years as a low-level service manager and now it is time to take hold of the dreams bubbling inside of you. Use your past as a springboard into a new opportunity. Even if the new break is unrelated you still have a ton of information at your advantage.  Connect the dots. Challenge what you think you know about how these two professions correlate; use what you need, leave the rest.

You don’t want to shortchange yourself, disqualify your experience, or take for granted the knowledge you have stored in your head.After working hard and learning everything about the process of selling people on sports, I hit $100,000 in new ticket sales and landed the senior director position the following year.

“The only source of knowledge is experience.” – Albert Einstein 

2. Experience is useful for determining your market place value

How do you know you are worth sixteen dollars an hour or twenty-three? Your pay will probably be based on what you were paid in your last job and what you can negotiate. Invariably, you will not be able to determine that value on your own without past experience to at least point you in the right direction.

“You get what you can negotiate”. I learned this early in my professional career.  Before I took the full-time role with the basketball team I did my research. I learned that each year the National Basketball Association took a trip to three developing countries, and I have always wanted to go to Africa. In a post-internship interview with the team’s owner I expressed my desire to tag along. In 2011, I went on my first Basketball Without Borders trip to Johannesburg, South Africa. I was granted access because of hard work and my dedication to the organization.

Your negotiation strength lies on your track record of hard work and talent. Without experience how can you negotiate things like: pay, benefits, bonuses, commissions, and extras?

 

3. You must know when to leave

I am a believer of not forcing the inevitable. If you have dreams to start a business, write a book, or launch your photography business staying at your accounting job for another eight years is delaying the foreseeable. Know when you have learned all you need to take confident strides in the direction of your dreams.  The same belief applies to relationships and business partnerships.  

I released my first book in 2014, two years after my first job in sports, and a few months into a director position for a team in New York. I resigned that same year and have followed my appetite to write ever since, making a few stops along the way.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Seneca

4. Fail forward

You have heard this before but just because you have it does not make this statement less true. I will repeat it for those who, like me, believe that hearing things over confirms the truth that they hold. There are no bad breaks, failures, or mistakes. Everything that has happened to your personally and professionally happened for a reason.

Today, you may not understand that experience or know why, but challenge your perception of the situation. Challenge your emotions. Ask yourself, after the tears and fits, could something be learned here? If there is, use it. If there is not, reconstruct your thoughts around the situation and realize new thoughts that strengthen your position.

What have you learned from taking an internship or doing work experience at a company? Leave your thoughts below!

Earlina is a former sports executive turned writer. She is the author of Seven Tips to Breaking Into the World of Sports and The Beginners Guide to Finding Your Brave, out this month. Earlina received the Sports Launch 30 under 30 award and was nominated as Dallas's Emerging Leader by the eWomen Network. She has given speeches at Manhattanville College, the University of North Texas and West Point United Stated Military Academy. You can check out her website here: www.earlinagreen.com.

Life

How to Write a Personal Destiny Statement in 3 Steps

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We all have a God-given destiny to fulfill that we were each born with. I personally believe it is buried deep down within us. The number one secret to success is to let it emerge out of you and release it to the world. What is my destiny you may ask? It is the thing you would regret not doing before leaving Planet Earth. (more…)

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Life

Don’t Want To Feel Like A Failure Anymore? Stop Doing These 6 Things

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It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? All those great and accomplished people telling you that FAILURE is a necessity on your way to success. Yeah, that’s easy for them to say; they’re already ‘on the other side’! You on the other hand, are still struggling all day everyday to get your business lifted off the ground and are really not that sure if you’re indeed going to make it.

There’s that little voice in your head that keeps telling you that you don’t have the stuff to make it all happen. Not now and not ever. You feel like a failure…it’s holding you back and you don’t know how to deal with it. Well you could do yourself a favor and start dealing with it by doing the following things:

1. Stop Denying You Feel Like A Failure

Telling yourself things are going great when they’re not is one of the biggest, though most useless, coping mechanisms human beings deploy in rough times. Common denial signals among entrepreneurs: trying to regain more control by working even more hours and on the other side compensating this by letting go of all this control by partying and drinking way too hard.

What you’re doing is denying yourself the opportunity to actually feel what’s going on and acknowledge the problem; that both you and your business are in a bad place. Without acknowledging it, it’ll be pretty difficult to actually STOP feeling it. And remember, just because you feel like a failure, this does not mean that you indeed ARE a failure!

2. Stop Making It Bigger Than it Really Is

This is one of those other ‘fun’ things human beings do; we blow things way out of proportion in our heads! In business, when you lose that big client you’ve been working on for weeks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. You start doubting yourself, your strategy, your entire business model right up to the point where you barely sleep because you’re working on pivoting the whole thing.

But what if that customer simply didn’t have the money to go for your service anyway? Or what if they just decided to go for someone who is cheaper but who offers less quality? Does that mean there’s something wrong with YOU? Or that this was the ONLY customer out there and that you’re now doomed forever?

Of course not, it simply means that THIS CUSTOMER wasn’t a match. It’s a bit like dating actually…So if you take this into consideration, could it be that you just feel like a failure instead of really not succeeding in that what you want to at this point in time?

3. Stop Thinking You’re The Only One Who Feels Like This

You’re not! With the possible exception of the true sociopaths, that feeling you’re feeling is very normal to EVERYONE. It might not seem like it on the outside – because people don’t like to acknowledge this remember – but I can guarantee you that it’s true. But unlike 99% of the world’s population, YOU’RE not going to let this feeling stop you in your tracks. Are you?

4. Stop Thinking You’re Supposed To Be Superhuman

In fact, it’s very likely that you’re already doing, learning and succeeding at WAY more than most other people are. But for entrepreneurs, somehow, that never seems to be enough. You don’t just want to be successful after a few years of hard work (which is normal). You want to be successful after only a few months. Because you’re special…or at least you think you are…

Well, here’s the truth: you ARE special! But…it’s just not very likely that you’re one of those – very very rare – entrepreneurial superstars that – seemingly – just added some hot water and got instant business success as a result.

5. Stop Being So Incredibly Stubborn

Entrepreneurs are stubborn…almost by default. It’s what makes them push forward in the hardest of times. But…if you’re not doing the right things right you might just be hammering a square peg through a round hole. Which will only add to that frustrated feeling you’re already having. So why not stop being so stubborn for a moment, stop hammering away on that what obviously is not working and ask for help?

No matter who you ask – a business mentor or coach, a befriended entrepreneur – someone with a neutral perspective on you and our business will be very likely to see what’s going on with a lot more clarity than you can and can guide you to a place that will feel a whole lot more comfortable.

6. Stop Being Afraid Of Failure

I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times before and you wouldn’t be in this pickle if you could do this. Right? I’m right there with ya!

But, if you get really rational about it, what’s the worst that could happen?

  • You might have to get a ‘real’ job for a while and start over on the side;
  • You might not be able to afford your rent anymore…but with Airbnb on the 1 hand and couchsurfing on the other, you should be able to work it out somehow;
  • You’ll have all the more experience to start over a whole lot faster;
  • You’ll be no less respected by anyone because it’s clear you gave it your all;
  • In a few years, when you’re an established and supersuccessful entrepreneur you’ll also have a cool failure story to tell;
  • None of your limbs will fall off;

Now that’s not too bad for a plan B is it? Failure is such a negative word. And the associated feeling is terrible and numbing. But really…how is giving it your all and not succeeding really the same as failing? Shouldn’t the definition of failure not be along the lines of ‘not even trying’ or ‘giving up when it gets hard’?

In other words: stop beating yourself up over this!

There’s really no need to feel like a failure at all because you’re sticking your neck out, you’re trying to make a difference and you’re still moving upward on that treacherous entrepreneurial mountain.

And that…is what success REALLY is.

Those Who Failed Their Way To Success

Quotes To Live By:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie

“Success is stumbling form failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“Don’t let success go to your head and failure to your heart” – Will Smith

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Life

Why You Never Have Enough Time and What You Need to Do About It

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Has this ever happened to you? You had an assignment, and the deadline was far away. You didn’t work on it much, but in the back of your mind, that insistent little voice was always whispering, “I gotta get this assignment done.” (more…)

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Life

6 Unusual Exercises to Effectively Increase Your Creativity Faster Than Ever

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Although a vast majority of people think that creativity is something you are born with, the truth is a bit different. While we cannot deny that you need natural talent to a certain extent, stimulating creative thinking is indeed a matter of practice. If you give this thought a bit of thinking, you can realize pretty quickly that even the most fascinating and creative minds have faced the lack of creativity at some point in their lives. (more…)

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