Keep the Rookie's Zeal No Matter How Far You Go
In the Drake song, "0 to 100," the obvious theme is reaching a point of success at a fast pace. A few lines later, there's a lyric, "I'm the rookie and the vet."
It's a great line. Imagine possessing the best qualities of the enthusiastic up-and-comer with the wisdom and experience of an industry lifer. The key to success in life and business is to combine the best qualities of both the rookie and the veteran. Here's how:
Approaches with the beginner's mind. This is a beginner's attitude of openness, eagerness and lack of preconceptions even when studying a subject at an advanced level. Rookies are always looking for information and experiences that will help them accelerate their professional development. They are the antithesis of the "know it all."
Is willingness to pay their dues. The enthusiasm that comes with being the newcomer usually partners with a "bring it on" approach. Unfortunately, for many experienced leaders, cynicism and complacency too often replace that unbridled enthusiasm. As a veteran, revisit the "pay your dues" mentality. You'll be amazed at how much you can accomplish with an attitude change.
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Utilizes accumulated knowledge to make strategic decisions. The great advantage of experience is having a history to draw upon. Effectively utilizing collective knowledge from the past and relating it to current dilemmas is a veteran's play not available to the rookie.
Keeps cool under pressure. Since rookies are encountering most experiences for the first time, it's easy to let the imagination run to the worst-case scenario, which is hardly productive. The veteran shouldn't be rattled by a fork in the road. Rather, he or she can use experience to focus on what's really important – making the right decision and following up with corrective action.
Knows whom to ask for advice. For the rookie, knowing where to go for answers can be half the battle – but deciding whom to trust is another matter. On the other hand, an experienced executive knows where to go and more importantly, whose advice to weigh more heavily than others.
Aim to strike a balance between the zeal of a newcomer and the savviness of a seasoned player. If you can harness the best traits of both the rookie and the vet, you’ll reach MVP status, accelerating your success.
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