Some of the best career advice I’ve ever received came from dad while I was laboring away one summer helping him build homes and garages in the sweltering Arizona heat. On a blistering day, while I struggled to jump into a construction task he’d assigned me, he told me “Do something, boy, even if it’s wrong!”
This post is a small digression from my normal “business travel” related blog posts. I thank you for indulging me as I share what I believe to be the best career advice I’ve ever received. It’s also my Birthday today…so it felt right!
If you absolutely have to read something business travel related, check out this: 147 Business Travel Tips – the ultimate list of road warrior tips & tricks
Best Career Advice: Do Something Even If it’s Wrong
This statement could easily be misinterpreted to mean, “Do illegal or bad things” but that’s not at all what he meant.
Instead, it was a call to action.
A call to START. An invitation to fail. A recognition that knowing how to do the task or job was not a prerequisite for trying.
What he was telling me was jump in.
Get going. Attempt.
In other words, don’t fall victim to experiential inertia. “I don’t know how to do this so I can’t start.”
Do is the operative word, to quote Yoda.
This simple, but powerful message has served me countless times over my life both professionally and personally (and certainly with starting this business travel blog!)
I remember returning to to a company I’d previous worked for having been hired to rebuild a channel sales portfolio. Truth be told, I did not know a whole lot about what it took to nurture, grow and build a channel portfolio.
But, armed w/ my dad’s career advice to “do something – even if it’s wrong” I jumped in straightaway.
Learning from my great team, researching channel management, listening to my customers and boss and simply starting was all it took. With plenty of goofs by me along the way, our team made tremendous headway with our channel portfolio. We helped grow many of our channel partners by 300-400% in just 2 years and implemented many new channel programs that made our relationships with our resellers stronger.
Yes, I personally made many mistakes over this time period, but with a fearless approach that dared to try, to start, to jump in and get going, a supportive boss, and a wonderful, patient team, we made incredible progress.
This has been the case in many of my previous roles. I remember being asked to build a database to track refugees as part of a humanitarian operation we were doing in the Marine Corps.
I literally had no clue how to build a database in the nineties. But I leaped into the task headfirst. Before long we had a functioning prototype that we used to advance the Marine Corp’s refuge tracking abilities that gave us the ability to serve them better. My reward? Knowing I’d built something that had a powerful impact (and a Navy & Marine Corps Accommodation Medal).
I did this again in my current role having been asked to be the GM of a failing business unit. While I *had* an MBA…I didn’t have much practical experience running (or fixing a business). While I made NUMEROUS mistakes, we did exactly that.
We turned it around, establishing a vision, direction and re-motivating staff. We got the business profitable and ultimately successful acquired. Again, a fearlessness to simply DO helped immensely. Dad’s best career advice pays off, once again!
And with this business travel blog you are now reading I am doing it again. Yeah, it’s a side project that’s more for fun than anything (and a way to creatively express myself), I’ve jumped in fearlessly. Made a ton of mistakes (which you can read about here: Blogging for Beginners – The 9 Biggest Blogging Mistakes I Made When Starting a Blog), but have already started to see the fruits of my labors as this blog has started to grow.
Final Thoughts on the Best Career Advice I’ve Ever Received!
I had lunch w/ my brother the other day and we were reminiscing about this precept our dad had passed on to us and how it’s positively impacted our professional and personal careers. It has made a tremendous difference to him and me. It truly was some of the best career advice we’ve ever received.
Strike that. It was THE best career advice.
Starting is 80% of the battle sometimes.
Fear of failure, lack of expertise and unwillingness to acknowledge that failure is a potential outcome all hold us back.
But they don’t have to.
When you free yourself of these “chains” and simply start you have more power than you can ever imagine.
Oh, you will mess up; you will get things wrong, but you will learn, you will grow and you will come out the other side a better person.
My career advice to you? Do something even if it’s wrong!
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? Share it with us by leaving a comment and don’t forget to follow us on social media including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
By the way, if you are interested in more travel tips and travel advice, you might be like these great articles:
- 147 Business Travel Tips – the ultimate list of road warrior tips & tricks
- Ultimate Bitcoin Travel Directory: How and where to use crypto for travel
- How to get over jet lag while you travel – 11 Tips every traveler needs to know
- The 7 Habits of the Healthy Business Traveler: How to Stay Healthy While Traveling for Business
- 11 Packing Tips Every Traveler Needs to Know
- Best Gifts for Business Travelers – The 2019 Gift Guide for Road Warriors
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Best career advice I came up with myself after being knocked back for many opportunities and positions. “Don’t tell me what I can’t do, let me show you what I can do.” This has served me well and like your best advice, it is about getting in, having a go and trying your best. Even if the job six it is an experience and you have learnt along the way.
I love this. Great advice! Thanks for sharing, Paul.