By Stephen Van Vreede (@ITtechExec)
When Life Hands You Lemons…
My whole life I thought that most people creative in that they found a unique way to make something good happen from a potentially bad situation. They saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” was something people seemed to live by. My career wasn’t any different, as I often found myself in situations that were less than ideal. Perhaps it was all the underdog movies like “Rudy,” “The Karate Kid,” “Ghostbusters,” “Trading Places,” and “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” that made society realize the path to success wasn’t always a straight line.
Early in my career, I had a boss give me a stellar performance appraisal followed by comments that I was too aggressive in my desire to get promoted. I should just be patient because promotions in our industry did not occur in the summer time. What? Are you for real? Just because it’s warmer and the days are longer, no job changes can occur? Needless to say, a promotion taking me from the D.C. area to Northern New Jersey happened, you guessed it, that very summer.
I’m not sure exactly when this outlook changed, but it most definitely has. Today, the prevailing attitude is to whine, complain, and give up when faced with a challenging career situation. This attitude has carried over into everything people do. Think about customer service for a moment. Can you remember the last time you had a problem with a service and the person with whom you addressed the problem cared enough to figure out a way, any way, to resolve the issue for you? If it happened for you recently, that’s great! In my personal experience, it doesn’t happen very often.
Are You a Lemonade Maker?
Take a close look at yourself. Can you honestly say that in most situations you’re a lemonade maker? Or are you a Kool-Aid drinker? Some people are lemonade makers at their job but not their career. Some are with their friends but not their family. You get the point. Identify your areas of weakness and look to strengthen them.
Lemonade Maker as a Brand
As you progress in your career and look to position yourself for the future, consider situations in which you were handed lemons. How did you respond? What did you do that was unique and innovative? Maybe you took things a step further, adding ingredients to make a new drink altogether. Believe me, in today’s market, having this attribute can set you apart from the crowd. Be sure to document these things as successes in dealing with life as it comes at you. Let’s face it, life is almost never ideal. In fact, it’s usually quite messy and certainly not linear. It’s how you respond and perform in the midst of these lemons that demonstrates your character.
The ITtechExec Way
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