Be Excellent at Being You

Think of how you feel when a person goes above and beyond for you.  Think back to a moment when a stranger paid for your meal or held the door open, even when you were walking slow.  Reminisce on a time when you received excellent service and how that made an impression on you.  Then think of all of the missed opportunities you had to change the trajectory of someones day or life by simple going the extra mile.  Many of us operate in mediocrity, but expect excellence from others.  You attract who you are and too many of us are operating below our capabilities.  There is so much more that we could be doing, but we are waiting for someone to tell us each step to take.  We are looking at everyone else’s material blessings and wishing for their life, without ever thinking about the sacrifice that they had to make to obtain those things.  We focus on getting more without giving more.

“Excellence is a continuously moving target that can be pursued through actions of integrity, being frontrunner in terms of products / services provided that are reliable and safe for the intended users, meeting all obligations and continuously learning and improving in all spheres to pursue the moving target.”  This summer was a life changing experience for me.  I woke up and realized that if I wanted more and if I expected more that I had to give more.  I had to step outside of my comfort zone and stop holding onto the things that I had accumulated over the years.  I had to release what I was cherishing as my current accomplishments and reach higher.  I realized that I had reached a level of mediocrity, but I still wanted a greater return.

Relationships are constantly evolving and even if the growth is not happening at the same time, one person cannot stop growing while the other person catches up.  I realized that I had to step up in my relationship and give more even if I felt that I always gave more.  It is easy to exalt our perfections while we magnify another person’s flaws, forgetting that we have things to work on ourselves.  Operating at a level of excellence means that the bar is always being raised, no matter how high you have gone.  I have to work on being a better mother, wife, friend, and family member.  Even where I am strong, I can be stronger.  Where I am weak, I can build and one day add that to my strengths.

Dream jobs are not always obtained but many times they are created.  Instead of seeking the perfect position, be excellent where you are and either continue to look for the next opportunity or create the opportunity in a place you love.  We are constantly disappointed by unrealistic expectations.  We expect our next position to be “the one” that leads to a magical experience and constant promotions.  We go in with a sense of entitlement, instead a willingness and openness to learn.  Even after being in a position for a significant amount of time, you still have to work excellently in order to show your consistency.  Never feel that you are above learning or beyond teaching.  People follow those who desire to learn more.  They follow those who have an ambitious spirit that is greater than their personal aspirations.  Be an excellent follower to show how you can be an excellent leader.

Never underestimate your value.  Many times we feel that we need to do more in order to have access to the perfect opportunities.  That is usually not the truth.  Many successful people simply get an opportunity and make the most of it.    They are calculated and strategic with their moves and leverage the opportunity to maximize its value.  Networking and connections will lead you to your dream job before obtaining all of the degrees in the world.  We have to believe that we have the capabilities to be the best and never doubt our skills, experiences, or our drive.  Strategy + patience + willingness to learn = success.

If you think that you are ready for the next level then keep learning, honing your skills, and showing how driven you are.  Make the connections and be ambitious, but never get too far ahead of yourself that you lose track of where you are going.  Let people know how talented you are, but never boast or become egotistical.  Stay humble through this process and watch the doors fly open.  Your time is coming.  Be patient and learn from those who are where you want to be.  Do not envy or question others success, but use their mistakes to guide you away from any future pitfalls and as a blueprint for your moment.

Be strategic. Be patient. Be willing to learn.  Be successful. Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Advertisements

Law School. Check. Bar. Check. Job…

Everyone has their life planned out in their head to work out perfectly at every stage of their life.  Once we finish high school we plan to get into the college of our choice without having to worry about how to fund our education.  After we finish college we plan to land the perfect job that pays great and makes all of those late nights, exams and stressful moments worth it.  We plan to grow at our jobs or obtain all of the skills we need to get a better job and build our career.  After enjoying our early 20s we decide we want more and go back for an advanced degree to open even more doors.  After obtaining our post-graduate degree, we plan to walk into our dream job, make a difference and save the world.  Many of these plans work out but we are never prepared for the bumps along the road.

Many of these things were possible pre-recession and actually happened for a lot of people who are only a few years my senior.  Those of us entering into the market post 2008 experienced many unplanned bumps that derailed many of these well-intentioned plans.  Throughout undergrad, I was able to obtain jobs fairly quickly and build up my resume.  I  landed my dream job out of college.  I left that job and immediately started another job in DC.  I went back to law school thinking that we had passed over the roughest part of the downturn and we have, but the market will never be back to the pre-recession glory of jobs and opportunities galore.

I left my job as a bedside nurse so that I would have more autonomy over decisions that were being made in healthcare and for my patients.  I loved my job but I did not like the politics.  Politics in healthcare harm patients and undermine the mission and values of the healthcare industry.  I left my job because I wanted to be happy and I decided that my next job would be something that I loved, doing what I love and building up to my forever job.

This mindset kept me from applying to just any job, taking just any salary or just doing something to get a check.  I made great money coming out of undergrad, so I know that I cannot make any less than that, but additionally I know my value.  The issue is getting others to see my value and getting the position that will allow me to use my skills while growing as a health care advocate.  I just want to be happy and to grow within an organization.  It sounds simple but I know that it is so much more complex.

Everything does not work out as planned but that does not mean that we made any missteps or should have done anything differently.  We have to believe in the good times and bad times that our steps are ordered and the desires of our heart will lead us to the right place.  I am not here to just build my resume but to actually achieve my goals of changing the world and improving the healthcare industry.  This time is just a test of my patience and to see if I will stick to my guns or fold under pressure.  I know the right opportunity is coming and when it does, I will be glad that I waited.

Throughout life we can plan with the best intentions but bumps will come, foreseeable and unforeseeable.  Through these moments we have to hang on tightly and stay focused on our end goal.  Having a support system in place is vital and helps to maintain your sanity, stay encouraged and stay the course.  After you have checked off all of your goals and one remains, know that the last check is coming in due time.

Focused. Check. Patient. Check. Grateful. Check.  Job…soon to be checked. Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Job Seeker (Entry level risk management, healthcare policy, healthcare advocacy, healthcare law): www.linkedin.com/pub/irnise-fennell-williams-jd-rn/52/304/b60/

Why I Am Perfect

Job hunting in a recovering economy is a job in itself.  Many of my classmates have worked diligently and found positions that will lay the foundation to their career.  Then there are the people like me: the one who passed over many positions instead of just applying and starting somewhere, to find a position that is idealistic.  I left my last career because I wanted to make a greater impact on people and patients outside of a hospital environment.  But over the last few months I have realized that there isn’t a job out there that encompasses all of the things that I desire to do, so I need to put my idealism to the side and find a job.

The hunt is on.  I am open to opportunities that will help me grow as a young attorney, while still giving me a great work/life balance.  Those two things I cannot compromise and will clearly express them in my interviews…when I get one.

One of my favorite questions is,”What makes you perfect for this job?”  As I enjoyed my moment of peace today, I started thinking about what makes me perfect for any job.  As we have progressed professionally, many of us have forgotten that degrees, resumes and life experiences alone don’t make a person perfect for a position, but their chemistry, their personality and their drive is what people are going to look at once they are at the table.

So for me, when I answer this question, I am going to speak to all of the things that make me perfect.  I am dedicated.  I have always taken the time to learn the necessary skills to be a great employee at every job that I have ever had; from Shop Rite, to being a server, a teller all the way to my job as a nurse.  I love being right, so I am going to do what is necessary to make sure that I am doing my job to the best of my ability.  I show up early, stay late and go above and beyond because I know that it is necessary for my growth.

I am a fast learner.  I love being right (clearly), so I try to learn my job, as well as other people’s jobs just in case I have to step in during a time of need.  When I first started as a student nurse at Hopkins, I was in Urology (shout out to the best team at the Johns Hopkins Hospital), and I learned all of the skills I needed to do those surgeries and took any opportunity available to learn from other technicians and nurses who worked in other specialties.  I enjoyed the challenges that came with learning new things.  My first weekend out of orientation as a nurse was one filled with trauma and emergencies, and no one could tell that was my first time at the rodeo.

I love to learn.  I love challenges.  I love people.  I love to be right (just in case you didn’t know, now you do).  I am perfect because I invest my all in everything that I do, which makes me right for any job that I am applying for.  These characteristics are not written on a resume, in the descriptions of any of my positions or clear through my transcripts (grades aren’t everything so beat it).  I am perfect for any job because of who I am.  My genuineness. My fortitude.  My passion.

This is a reminder to us all to look beyond what we have done and start to expressing who we really are outside of the obvious.  We are greater than the sums of our applications or any individual accomplishment or failure that we have experienced.  Our distinct differences are what makes us great people to be around, to learn from, to grow with.  We are all perfect in our own respects.  As long as you are only trying to be the best you that there is, there is no real competition out there that can challenge you or step to you for that title.  In a busy city setting, we are so used to passing out business cards, but we are immune to getting to know who people really are.

As we enjoy the sweet weeks of summer, challenge yourself to get to know people beyond their business card, job title or financial status.  For those of us mounting up to get back on the saddle and ride to our dream job and for those who have been on that road too long, know that you are great and all you need is an opportunity to get to the interview to tell them who you really are.  When asked this question, make sure you are not harping on just your experiences, but those unique details that set you apart from the rest.

Be perfect. Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.