Every fall and summer I get a few new interns who are ambitious and excited about joining my team. After several semesters they rotate out and venture off to explore other opportunities, but not without both of us having benefitted from their time spent at Keating Advisors. I get to hear how difficult and exhilarating it is to navigate the open waters of youth, and they acquire an in-depth knowledge about having a job and negotiating for yourself in the workplace. And today, on my twin daughters' 11th birthday, I realized that there will be a time that they would face the same challenges my interns do.
In honor of your birthday, my strong-willed and passionate young daughters, I want to take this opportunity to give you advice to cultivate the right habits so you have a strong foundation for your big, bright and beautiful futures.
1. Scan your environment. You should consistently look for learning opportunities; if you become too comfortable in one place you can never fully grow to your full potential. New opportunities open the door for networking with interesting individuals while fine-tuning your own expertise.
2. Always do your best. I know that as your mother, I repeat this mantra often, but there is more truth to it than you may realize now. If you make sure that you complete every task with excellence, regardless of its significance, you will gain the respect of all the individuals in your professional and personal life.
3. Be open to the different ways that the universe can show you your purpose. When approaching certain obstacles, you may have a gut-feeling about which way to go - follow that feeling. You cannot always know how far you can push your raw talents.
4. Use a planner to stay organized. No person is perfect, and I know I have forgotten more than a few key pieces of information over my lifetime. Make your schedule a priority, but not only for work. Pencil in some time for yourself - from getting the right amount of sleep to exercising the stress away - proper planning can make an enormous difference in your emotional health.
5. Always ask for feedback: what may be your best, may not be the best. There have been times in my life when I felt I truly had mastered something, only to have my manager tell me they're upset by my quality of work. It's important to not take it personally, and to find out why they felt that way. There could be a bigger piece of the puzzle that you didn't realize you were missing.
6. Work for the job you want, not the one you have. A commitment to personal excellence is hard to keep up, but if you do you may be running your own company one day too!
7. Master good communication skills, both publicly and interpersonally. Every person communicates differently, and sometimes it seems like someone is disagreeing with you when really that's how they express contentment. Knowing this, and mastering it, can significantly boost your ability to work efficiently in any profession.
8. Continue to set 1, 3, 5, even 10 year goals. And remember - if you get thrown off track, that's fine! You never know where life will take you. Setting goals keeps your eye on a prize, and ensures that your future self will be the person your 11 year-old self would admire.
9. Be your own biggest fan. You will inevitably fall down, and there may not be anyone to lift you back up. However by staying positive you can continue to progress despite all the bumps in the road.
10. Be assertive. Nice people don't get corner offices. And women often don't even get a seat at the table.
11. Master confidence and humility - and make your mother proud.
Nothing makes me more happy than seeing you both grow into young women who are smart, kind, and beautiful inside and outside. I want you both to follow your own path and work in the industry you feel most at home. No matter what, I will always love you.