Keep the Rookie's Zeal No Matter How Far You Go Successful people find a way to keep the enthusiasm they had when they launched their careers.

By Marty Fukuda

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


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:

The rookie.

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.

Related: What Failure Can Teach Entrepreneurs

The Veteran.

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.

Related: Your First 5 Days as a New Manager

Marty Fukuda

Chief Operating Officer of N2 Publishing

Chicago native Marty Fukuda is the chief operating officer of N2 Publishing, overseeing operations at its corporate headquarters in Wilmington, N.C. He first joined the company as an area director in 2008 after working in the direct sales and print industries. 

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Business News

Here's the Secret to Growing Your Small Business, According to Execs at UPS, Airbnb, Mastercard, and Other Big Brands

These 10 executives work at big companies, overseeing programs that help small business. Here's the advice they wish all small business owners were getting.


If You Want to Be an Industry Leader, Be an Industry Innovator. Here's How to Inspire Innovation in Your Business.

Innovation isn't just about making something new; it's about improving something.

Thought Leaders

Why Brands are Becoming the New Badges of Belief and Belonging

Brands have a responsibility that shouldn't be taken lightly. They can make the world a better place, one brand at a time.

Starting a Business

16 Accelerators Designed to Fast-Track Small Business Founder Success

If you want to start up, level up, or scale up, look into these accelerator programs being offered by the big businesses on our Champions of Small Business list.


How to Actually Show Up in Your Personal and Professional Life

Showing up to maintain good habits means you consistently do what you can. That doesn't mean always — It means regularly.