Sometimes I allow myself to indulge in reviewing the development of my career. There is always one overriding theme which permeates this process -- the people with whom we have had both positive and negative interactions. Those with whom we had negative interactions provide us with a bell weather to judge the positive interactions. We can learn from these experiences and grow, or we can continue to repeat the same negative interactions which we experienced.
Translate this into the manner in which we execute the various tasks of our respective trades. If we learn from the failures of lack of experience and knowledge (or a lack of attention), then we can begin correct our actions going forward. Just doing the work does not make us better tradespeople. Rather, the desire to learn from our negative experiences drives us to improve our skills and the prosecution of our work.
Mediocrity is not a word which exists in the vocabulary of successful individuals. They make a conscious effort to excel at and improve their skills. How did they achieve that? One way is to associate yourself with successful and positive individuals associated with your trade.
Those of us entering the fall or early winter of our careers seek to pass on the myriad of experiences which we may have accumulated over decades of work. Most of what we have experienced is out there already, but finding it in one or two resources is invaluable. We try to share these with the younger members of our field in order to accelerate their learning curve. We also seek to elevate the perception of our industry by improving the delivery of those services.
I am suggesting that you seek out the senior, experienced members of our industry and let them know that you are interested in learning from them. Try to develop an open and respectful relationship. As a wise person once conveyed to me, “the reason you have two ears and one mouth is to listen twice as much as you speak.”
Set a goal for yourself to meet at least one mentor a year, should be easy enough to do in 365 days, and begin to elevate your skills from mediocre to excellent. You will find this can be an enjoyable, life changing experience for both of you -- and you may even find yourself making better money in the end!Von Salmi, ASLAPresidentVon Salmi and Associates, Inc.www.vonsalmi.com