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Get Used to Working Alone.

Not everything in life gives you step-by-step instructions. While I sit on my parents’ bedroom floor trying to figure out how to write a blog, I begin to question why I joined the academy in the first place. It’s funny how that works, how the unknowns in life can somehow become incredibly frightening to our imagination. So, as I continuously read other people’s blogs to generate ideas for my own, I keep wondering why I find it so difficult to work without receiving reassurance from others.

I’ve realized through Illuminate, that figuring things out on your own is quite common in a workplace. Emily talked about how in school we’ve been given teachers who tell us to constantly ask questions if we need help, whereas in a workplace, she told me that problems should always be attempted first before asking for help, and she makes a fair point.

Learning new concepts reminds me of building LEGO. If you opened a Lego box and it was missing the handbook, would you be able to build the structure knowing the general idea? My conclusion is that if you know the underlying concept, then you’ll be able to build something similar even if it’s not exact.

Therefore, my 3 key takeaways from my coffee chat with Emily are:

  1. Build Confidence

Nobody around you cares enough to judge you, rather things are only embarrassing if you are embarrassed. I feel like our lack of confidence often comes from our insecurities. In regards to my coffee chat with Emily, my lack of confidence came from my inexperience in the business world. However, at some point during my time in the academy, I’ll have to realize that the resources Illuminate provides are to help guide and support my personal endeavors. Some solutions to mitigate my lack of confidence that I felt worked for me was telling myself I’m not nervous when public speaking in front of larger crowds, and it really did help.

The chances that someone remembers your small mistakes is rare.

  1. Don’t be afraid to take risks

We’ve been told this a lot, but what does it really mean? From my perspective, it means to not be afraid to make an attempt at new ideas. Taking “risks” might not be the right way to put it but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. I liked how Emily sort of reminded me of my mom. They had similar values at least, like changing jobs every few years strengthens your learning portfolio.

A new experience always leads to a new lesson or learning outcome.

  1. Know your target audience

Whether this be an individual who you’re speaking with or whether this be an event you’re trying to promote, knowing your target audience is key to making an impact. “Practice makes perfect.” is the mindset I want you to implement into your life. What I mean by this, is that the better you know your target audience through research, the more people you’re making feel special and important.

I believe reviewing what interests your target audience has and practicing how to change your speech and tone is necessary in any situation you are in.

In the end, I felt Emily gave me the confidence I needed for my next coffee chat; with Alina. Although I was more prepared for my coffee chat with Emily, my coffee chat with Alina was a lot more comfortable because of the tips and advice Emily had given me. Being expected to have near-perfect results at school led me to believe that making mistakes is not okay and that your life becomes reflected in a single grade. Emily reminded me that mistakes are meant to be learned from in a workplace and you’re not built to be perfect from the get-go. The next time I try something new, I’ll try to be more confident even if I know I’ll make mistakes because a little confidence can change your entire mindset.

A tip or advice I would like to share is to not be afraid of diving into new experiences without any knowledge. Don’t be too unsure of what you’re doing because starting is half the battle and the rest will figure itself out. As Richard Branson once said,

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”

Once you get started, you’re more likely to come up with solutions rather than problems.

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