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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.

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The 3 Most Important Things I Learned About Personal Growth

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When you look back on your life, what do you want to think about? Do you plan to reminisce on all of the good things that have happened and how they shaped who you are today? Or would you rather remember all of the bad decisions, challenging experiences, and mistakes made that hurt or wasted a portion of your life?

In my opinion, I think it is important to reflect on both. While it’s important to remember the hardships we’ve been through in our lives – without them we wouldn’t be where we are now. There are 3 very specific areas that I feel have helped me grow in a personal sense more than anything else in my life so far. 

These aren’t simple lessons in a book or a lecture that you can just absorb and apply to your life. These are things that I’ve learned through experience and reflection, and I’m still learning and growing today.

1. We determine how much we’re worth by what we think about ourselves, others, and life in general.

This might seem like a pretty obvious lesson in life but it’s actually one of the most important because we can determine our own worth by how we think about ourselves and the world around us. If you’re looking for success in any kind of business or social setting (dating), then I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t matter if you have 10 billion dollars or not – people are still going to judge you based on your thoughts and beliefs alone.

What determines our value isn’t necessarily what we do with our lives (which is often based on luck) but whether or not we believe that ‘our work’ is worthy or not in some sort of grand scheme or universe. We may not always be able to control what happens in our lives, but we can always control how we value ourselves and others.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

2. You don’t have to change your habits or personality just because someone else doesn’t like it – their opinions are THEIRS alone.

This is another one of those lessons that people tend to pick up on a little bit late in life, but if anything that makes its importance even worse! Basically, there’s going to come a time when you’re going to meet someone who has certain expectations of you as a person…but these expectations might not be realistic due to their motivations and personal beliefs. For example, sometimes parents might expect you to be a lawyer or doctor because that’s what they believe is best for their child.

However, this isn’t the case for everyone and so maybe your passion lies in music or writing novels. In this example, if you were also pressured into becoming a doctor – then there would obviously be some kind of conflict going on within yourself as a person. You should never have to give up something that you want to do just because someone else doesn’t like it! The reason why we’re put onto this Earth is to make our own choices and go after our OWN dreams instead of letting others determine what we can and cannot do with our lives .

3. You can’t change your life until you accept that you need to make a change.

When I was younger, I thought that this lesson would be pretty obvious – but as I got older, it really made me appreciate the fact that there are always different ways of perceiving our lives. For example, if someone wants to become rich and famous one day – their mind might simply overshadow any other possibility in their head because they feel like this is what they NEED to do right now.

However, this isn’t always true within our own lives because we think about things too literally instead of having an open mind. If you want to achieve success in any kind of business or social setting (dating) then you should be willing to try out different things instead of staying in your comfort zone. If you want something, then it’s up to YOU to actually go after it – nobody else is going to give it to you!

The three lessons above are some of the main things I want to pass on to everyone because they’ve come at an important time in my life where I need to start thinking about others instead of only myself. It’s great if we can learn to love ourselves first before anything else, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect everyone around you even though they might be your friends and family members!

If you enjoyed this article on the 3 most important things I learned about personal growth, then please share it with your friends and family! Also, check out my other articles on success & motivation as well as life lessons that could help people who are struggling with their life right now on lifengoal.com. Thanks for reading!

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