Learning from the novice

There’s a lot of advice out there that we should listen to the people who are where we want to be. People who are ahead of us in the particular area we’re trying to grow in. This is absolutely great advice- I mean would you really want to take financial advice from someone who just filed bankruptcy? How about marriage advice from a newlywed who has yet to tread the murky waters of adversity in her marriage, or someone who’s been divorced a few times? Or parenting advice from someone with only an infant, or no children at all?

This is common sense. However, I think there is another, perhaps just as important piece of the puzzle, which is paying attention to the novice. Not one of us is such an expert in our field that we’re done growing, and if we hold on to a mentality of “knowing it all”, we will rapidly start to decline. Because a novice is so new to their field, they are more absorbent, up with the current trends and have a unique way of looking at things. They also are usually not afraid to ask questions and seek advice, which helps their work immensely.

For example, a few years ago I had my hair color messed up at a salon. Not wishing to damage it further, I contacted the best salon in town and requested the owner to fix it. She made it worse. So I called another reputable salon and had their “master stylist” fix it. She also made it worse. Finally I searched Instagram and found a young girl at a hole in the wall salon who seemed to be really good at color correction. I visited her, and after having some of her coworkers look at my hair she made her best judgement and not only fixed my hair but gave me a treatment to reverse some of the damage.

In another example, I consider myself much more of an expert at taking care of my children than my husband, simply because I’m home with them all day every day. But recently he saw me tediously cutting up quesadillas for our toddler, and showed me how he uses a pizza cutter to do that. My life was changed! What used to take me 2 or 3 minutes now takes me about 10 seconds.

I now have beautiful hair done regularly by someone with only a few years experience, and preparing quesadillas (which I do often) takes half the work and time. All because I paid attention to the novice.

When people get so far into their field, they can neglect to keep educating themselves from their best source- their colleagues, especially ones less experienced than them. I’ve seen so many people refuse to pay attention to the newcomer, the person just out of school, the amateur… but what if some of the best gems are hidden among them? What if they could teach you one thing that would make your work (or life) better? Wouldn’t it be worth it?


The social media conundrum

A productive person usually has some kind of issue with social media.

Whether it’s lack of boundaries or the clutter it creates in their mind, I’ve seen a lot of successful people struggle greatly with the negative effects of indulging in social media. Eventually a person has to make some serious decisions. Do I get rid of it completely, or just my personal accounts? Should I schedule the working of it, and never, ever check it outside of those time blocks? How do the most successful people handle this?

What I’ve noticed is that most productive people have limited to no social media. By limited, I mean they decide ahead of time what and when they will post, ready it, schedule it through a program such as Hootsuite, and take it off their hands almost entirely. Others will dismiss is altogether, especially if they already have a strong network or following.

I’m in favor of greatly limiting it, and contributing to it more than consuming it. What’s your opinion on social media?


Mean bosses can teach you a lot

I have had three pretty difficult bosses who have helped shaped who I am as an employee and person. At the time it is really hard to see what you are gaining from being treated poorly or unprofessionally, but if you think critically about the situation I can guarantee there are hidden blessings amidst. Here are a few examples of how to see the blessings through the BS:

-You learn not to take things personally, and develop thicker skin.
-You learn how to look at yourself critically.
-You develop an inner sense of strength and get practice guarding your heart.
-You learn tremendous work ethic when someone is constantly riding your a**.
-You get great practice loving your enemies (ha!)
-You develop the ability to rise above your circumstances and learn from them.
-Once the above are embraced, you get really darn good at what you do.

Notice above how I used the words develop and learn multiple times. Mean bosses though they may be, serve a purpose in your journey. In hindsight, I am grateful for my experiences with them that grew me in a positive way, and forgive the rest.