I am sure you are wondering why I felt the need to write a letter when we have never shied away from speaking our heart out to each other on all matters – professional and personal, easy and tough. And seldom are we at a loss of words, especially me.
So why am I writing?
In the last year, we’ve all come a fair distance together. When we started out, we were strangers, trying to know each other, trying to find our niche in the team and above all, we were all very busy with the primary task – winning the trust of our client.
Now, with the basics covered, I want to share with you some wisdom that was given to me when I was in your place. And, I am choosing to write so that even if you ignore it today or find it so good that you would love to keep it forever, you will have this written word to come back to – later, whenever, forever.
As we’ve grown, we have a great mix of people – new, somewhat new, young but mature and then the old folks. In some ways, it reminds me of the different ages of our lives – toddlers and early-schoolers, teens, young adults and adults. And unsurprisingly, the qualities you need to have in these phases are the same. While all of you will always need the Core Values as the ‘forever qualities’, there are some that are unique to your phase.
To the Toddlers & Early Schoolers – Be Confident
You are fresh out of college, a year or two in industry. You have hungered for this chance to prove yourself, to reach the sky and be the best in what you chose to do. Do it with confidence. Listen to what your seniors say and put your 100% in it.
Don’t get distracted by the noise you may hear from those who don’t share your passion. Don’t fall into the ‘corporatization’ of your talent.
Don’t sell yourself. Don’t sell your talent.
Invest in yourself by becoming capable. If you work on that, the rest will come through. Make as many mistakes as you can – this will be the best chance to do so. But learn from them. So make unique mistakes.
Don’t compare yourself to others, definitely not to those who are older. Remember, when we are kids, every 2 months makes a difference. It’s the same here. Your learning will be amazing, it will be fast paced, so become a sponge. That is the best way to nourish your goal.
To the Teenagers – Be Patient
Patience is a virtue, not a failing. You may feel you now know it all, that you no longer need to learn anything new – technical or behavioral – and you are ready to conquer the world in your style. You have the confidence and experience to break out into your own and lead your pack.
I will say again – have patience.
Remember the time when you were a teenager and everyone older felt too stupid, too narrow-minded? And it felt like you knew everything, and better than everyone. Only to reach your twenties and face the real world to know that a lot of that confidence came due to the sheltering of your loving elders.
It is somewhat similar for Work.
When you are no longer a fresher, with just enough experience to be wise and just enough youth to have amazing courage to do the impossible, you’ve reached your professional teenage. The success of your later life will depend on how deep you dig where you are.
There are many things you have been sheltered from, many hard truths the brunt of which your seniors have taken so that your confidence does not get shaken. Many mistakes that have been brushed aside so that you can continue to grow strong. Right now, all you need is to be patient and trusting . Your time will come to lead.
But first dig deep.
To the Adults & Old Folks – Be Curious Always
You’ve been in the industry for a while – a decade or more. You’ve done the hard work, been part of the grind. You’ve seen things change and survived so many busts. Yes, you survived. You have enough laurels to tell the tale. Now’s the time to lean back and relax.
No matter how many brilliant stories you have scripted, no matter how many accolades came your way, if you’ve started living in the ‘good old days’, then it’s harakiri my friend!
Complacency would be a downfall for everyone. You’re still the commander of your ship. Should your people respect you or your stories? Can they trust you to navigate the ship over rough waters? Because if you no longer can, if you’ve enjoyed your time on the deck for too long and not steered the wheel for a while, then you will go down, and take the entire ship, with all your crew.
Is that what you want? I don’t think so. So get up, it’s all hands on deck – including yours! Retirement is a long long way.
So my dear team, honestly introspect where you are, which virtue do you need to build, what is preventing you from building it and then come over to my desk – together we will solve for the how. I am always there to help you become the ‘Legend of You’.