They say when one door closes another one opens, and for me the reality of that is more than just a catchy phrase. When I moved to London I had nothing with me but my ambition for an exciting career and the desire to live out the dream of 19-year-old me, who hoped one day to become an international, successful businesswoman.
Arriving in London, having left the security and comfort of my home in Dublin, on that cold October evening in 2016, the reality could not have been further from my dream. Stranded outside Tower Bridge, my phone had been unexpectedly cut off and my card was maxed out with a bunch of hotel pre-charges. I wandered in the dark past the rushing crowds, hoping to find a friendly face I could ask for directions. As if my luck hadn't fully run out just yet, the skies above me opened and I was welcomed to my new home with a spectacular show of thunder and lightning. As I stood there drenched, lost, and completely alone, I realized I had just one of two choices. Laugh or cry. So, like a slightly crazy person, I roamed around in search of my hotel laughing to myself at the ludicrous situation I had found myself in. That mentality served me well in many future situations I would unknowingly encounter.
For the next three months I slept on a friend's couch as I tried my best to juggle weekly travel with apartment hunting in a new city. I didn't know a single other professional there, and despite a previously successful career in Dublin, it truly felt like I was starting all over again from scratch.
The evolution that occurred over the next three years was beyond what I could have ever dreamed of. I did get my dream of an international career, having the pleasure of working on some of the most exciting high-profile deals across all corners of the world. I had the privilege of advising some of the most impressive leaders I know, sat on the board of an international shipping company, progressed our internal D&I agenda, was awarded by the Financial Times and Yahoo Finance as a future leader and global champion of women in business, stood up on international stages like Forbes' to discuss the world of female entrepreneurship, and have been rewarded in many other ways that I would once have only dreamed of.
Then, when the time came for me to part ways and I handed in my laptop and swiped my pass for the final time after an exciting, and sometimes incredibly challenging career. Do you know what happened? Absolutely nothing.
Ensure that you can open that next door and walk through it with your head held high, knowing you are ready to embrace the next chapter.
The reality is, I was a cog in a corporate wheel of a global machine that would move on with or without me. As much as I would naively like to think that I am irreplaceable, being pegged as one of the firm's high-performers and future leaders, the reality is, I was not. Just as I watched on as our previous CEO stepped aside to make way for the next, the global machine kept on moving, without a single bump to notice the change.
To be clear, this is not something that came as a surprise. I have witnessed this happen time and time again, even with the most senior of leaders within organizations. It is how these structures are set up to survive over the long term. Nevertheless, when the reality hits you, it can be unexpectedly thought provoking.
There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. – Nelson Mandela
I wanted to share this as a reminder that wherever you are in your career, whatever it is you are doing, make sure you are enjoying the journey, and not just focused on the destination. Ensure you are working tirelessly to climb the right ladder for you. Be mindful of embracing all the opportunities available to you, even those you think you're not quite ready for yet. Be serious about your work, but don't take your work too seriously.
Whether you decide to break out of corporate and pursue a business idea that you are passionate about, as I help my clients do, or are excited to continue climbing that corporate ladder, just be sure you are doing what is right for you, and that you are climbing the right ladder for you.
I wanted to share this as a reminder that wherever you are in your career, whatever it is you are doing, make sure you are enjoying the journey, and not just focused on the destination.
At the end of the day, when you walk out the doors of your job for the final time, be sure that you do so with a treasure chest of great memories, an incredible network, some lifelong friends, and a feeling that you gave it your all, left nothing on table, and didn't play it safe — that you felt the fear and did it anyway. Ensure that you can open that next door and walk through it with your head held high, knowing you are ready to embrace the next chapter. And be sure that you are walking in the direction of something that truly sets your soul on fire, that you are passionate about, that lights you up, and that you are excited to pursue regardless of what challenges may come.
Here's to your continued success and growth, and always remaining true to yourself.
- The Twists and Turns on My Entrepreneurial Journey And What You ... ›
- Rude Awakenings: The Lessons I Learned When I Quit Corporate to ... ›
It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.
Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.
Read with a Purpose
Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.
Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.
When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.
Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.
You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.
Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.
Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.
If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.
Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.