Scrolling through Twitter the other day, I came across this tweet:
“My biggest fear is marrying into a family that runs 5km on holidays”
I laughed and re-tweeted. Then my boyfriend’s family invited me on a cycling holiday through the Baviaanskloof. I said no. Absolutely not! There was no way that I was spending my holiday CYCLING through the middle of nowhere. Not only did I not cycle, I did not do sport. I did yoga…once. To make it worse, my boyfriend and his family are cyclists. I’m not afraid of failure, but I am terrified of embarrassment. Apparently not terrified enough, because two weeks later at 6 in the morning I was fully dressed in cycling apparel, fully embracing my embarrassment, but taking action.
Completely unequipped, both mentally and physically, I cycled 150km over three days. To the cyclists out there, be quiet. That is a lot. But more importantly than the distance I covered, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I am not only saying that in fear of my boyfriend and his family reading this post. I genuinely enjoyed doing something completely out of my comfort zone.
Sometimes, we fear embarrassment, or rejection, or failure and we don’t take that leap of faith. Take it! Do it! Put your dreams into action! You may be pleasantly surprised by your capability, tenacity, and endurance.
Starting your career is like riding a bike through the Baviaanskloof. It is tough at first, and then it gets tougher. But, along the way there are long stretches of flat, and just over hill number 597, the view is spectacular. On the way down, you’ll feel the find in your hair and you will start to build momentum, and you might even start to enjoy the ride.
If you are just getting on your bike, here’s how to start peddling:
7 tips for gaining momentum in your budding career path:
Identify your target market
You can’t cycle everywhere. Keep calm and stay focused on the path you are passionate about. If you love the Baviaanskloof, then cycle there. If you love finance, then put your energy into that and if you are passionate about the creative space, then do that. Don’t try and do it all.
Once you have established where you want to start peddling, network network network! You can network anywhere as long as you do it with intention. There are three people to look about for when you network:
- The Decision Makers: These are the people who are going to hire you, or invest in you. Get them on your side. I had to get my boyfriend’s father on my side; otherwise, he might have made the executive decision to leave me coughing in their cycling dust.
- The information Sources: These are the people who can add value to your journey. They have insights, they know the trends, and they will give you a competitive edge in your career. My boyfriend thinks he knows everything about cycling, and so I was happy to have in my network.
- The supportive people: These are the people who know want you to succeed. They are there to support you along the way, and make the journey seem possible. My boyfriend’s mother encouraged us along the way, made lunches and gave us chocolate milk at every stop. The journey wouldn’t have been the same without a support system.
But remember, networking is not only about what others can do for you, it needs to be reciprocal. Stay in touch and follow up with people to build a relationship. Be authentic, people appreciate your human side. Ask questions and learn. Networking is about growing your relationships with other people who can help you, and people you can help.
Preparation will build your confidence. When you are starting out your career, be prepared when you meet with potential partners, clients or employers. Do not leave things up to chance. Preparation allows you to take control and lead. Prepare, but don’t underestimate yourself. You are capable of more than you think.
The Dalai Lama said: “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new”
As young people in business, we have a lot to learn. You are entitled to your voice and should use it, but never forget the value of listening and learning.
You will never progress in your career if you do not monitor how well it’s going. If you are unaware of the process or you are or aren’t making, you won’t be able to fix your mistakes. Did you meet your goals? No? What can you do to change that?
Be aware of what works in your process and what doesn’t, and have the patience to change. Reflecting isn’t only about looking back; it is looking back so you can plan for the future. Learn from your mistakes and your successes.
If you don’t continue peddling, you will never build up momentum. Starting a career is no easy feat, but the harder you work at it, the steeper the hill you will be able to conquer. Never settle or stagnate in your business environment, work on your career or your strategies to reach your dreams, because there is always room for improvement.
If you really want to achieve something, you will find a way otherwise you will find an excuse