Career Wisdom from Our Elders: Part 2

Wisdom StatueIn seeking wisdom thou art wise; in imagining that thou hast attained it — thou art a fool.” — Lord Chesterfield

We could all make use of a wisdom exchange as every piece of wisdom shared is a benefit to our library of knowledge. What’s most important is that we continually search for wisdom through reflection, experiences and others.

Here are three more pieces of wisdom shared through stories from the online community:

Hope Wilbanks, Writer and Teacher, Mending Hope

For the last fourteen years, my husband Robert has been my greatest supporter and advocate. The best advice he’s given me (and continues to give me every time I doubt myself) is, “Believe in yourself…because you can and will do this.”

Whatever your career, the single most important thing is that you believe in yourself — your talents, your gifts, your abilities. You are unique.

Dennis Salvatier, Founder and Senior Graphic Designer, Salvatier Studios

My father, who is no longer here, once told me when I was 18 that no matter what I wanted to do or to be, I could be that very thing that I aspired to be. Then he looked at me and said, “but the important thing you need to know is that anything worth doing is going to be hard. It will be so hard, in fact, that you may fail.” The thought of working hard to be a great artist and failing filled me with dread. The great thing about my Dad is that he always had a way of making the scary things seem not so scary. He told me that failure is only failure if I don’t pick myself up, that I could fail as many times as I need to and that it’s not a waste.

It took me a few years, but I realized that what he was trying to say is that failure is necessary. Without it, we can’t capitalize on our mistakes. It’s when we capitalize on failure that we learn, grow and get better. There’s nothing scary about that and it definitely shouldn’t keep us from working hard to achieve our dreams.

Cathy Lau, Writer and Aspiring Children’s Author, Teaching for Apples

I first came across this piece of advice at a presentation on “Ten Steps to Publication” delivered by a veteran writer as part of an all-day writing workshop I attended last month. The first step – a simple word – resonated with me as being applicable to all jobs and tasks, and relevant to everyone. Step 1 is to “begin.”

Too often we find excuses to put off even starting to pursue our dreams. In my case, I decided way back in my last year of high school that I wanted to be a writer and publisher of books for kids, but I never actually started taking writing courses or writing stories until I completed a Communications and Publishing degree at Simon Fraser University, worked various writing and editing-related Co-op terms, and took a year to go and teach English to kids in Quebec. With all the schooling and jobs I did to “prepare” myself for my chosen fields, I put off the actual story writing – the most important part of what I wanted to be!

Fear, lack of confidence, busyness, laziness and ignorance were all excuses I gave myself to put off “beginning.” It took me wanting to write something for my students to remember me by to make me start writing my first novel and finally finish it this January. I’m so glad I had that incentive because completing Step 1 (writing a novel) has finally allowed me to get to all the other steps I couldn’t do before, such as promoting my novel, building a fan base for my novel and story writing, and honing my story-telling abilities.

The first step is the most important one. We all need to stop talking and “preparing” and just get out and start doing.

What pieces of wisdom have you gained from the elders in your life?

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18 Comments

  1. Posted August 11, 2011 at 1:54 am | Permalink

    Great pieces of wisdom. Dennis’ father is absolutely correct. anything worth doing is gut wrenching. I love Cathy’s story. You have to start doing and stop talking. Wow. Excellent.

    • Posted August 15, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      So glad a couple of these tidbits could hit home for you, Chris! I know that they meant a lot to me too. =)

  2. Abe
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    After reading part 1 and part two I can see a common denominator that most everyone was given the wisdom in their youth (High school or earlier in life). Then applied thought their life even. I’ve enjoyed reading these valuable bits of information and encurrage everyone to apply them into their carreers and life.

    • Posted August 15, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      So true, Abe! It’s got me reflecting on what I’ve learned during my youth too! Thanks for your thoughts here. =)

  3. Posted August 12, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi Samantha,

    I learned a lot about you from reading this post and can relate on so many levels. Actually, I am one of your elders :-) and I remember always wanting to stat a home biz. I tried several different paths, like making prom dresses, sewing baby clothes and always doing arts and crafts to sell at vendor shows. But I never had the courage to continue.

    Your message “Stop Talking and Start Doing” is the key to success. You hit it right on the nail and I appreciate your sharing this post.

    Thanks,
    Cindy

    • Posted August 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Wow! I had no idea all the varied experiences you’ve had, Cindy! You are a true inspiration and I really value you sharing your story. =) Thanks so much for underlining Cathy’s tidbit of wisdom!

  4. Posted August 13, 2011 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Wonderful post Samantha. I always remember my dad telling me two things, tomorrow is another day, make the most of it…. and, never, ever give up! I miss him dearly, but so glad those words of wisdom are with me every day.

    • Posted August 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Ooh! That second tidbit of wisdom is something my parents have always told me to! It’s a phrase that’s so powerful yet so easy to remember! Thanks so much for sharing, Lynn! =)

  5. Posted August 13, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Very inspirational stories, Samantha. These people prove that you can do whatever you set your mind to doing. The important thing is to just get started.

    • Posted August 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Exactly so, Janette! That was the key message I got out of these tidbits of wisdom as well. =)

  6. Posted August 13, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Like my mom kept saying “The evil will always be there, to make us realize the good, try to reduce evil, but more importantly try to increase good!”

    • Posted August 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Wow! Hadn’t thought of it that way, Hajra! =) It makes life seem so much simpler that way!! =) I love the idea of increasing good in our lives and connecting with other bloggers is definitely one way to increase the good! =)

  7. Posted August 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    What a fabulous collection of simple, but powerful wisdom. My first meditation teacher said to me “Meditation occurs in the act of sitting down to do it.” In other words, take the first step and sit…the rest will unfold. So wonderful you are following your dream and taking steps!

    • Posted August 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Great point, Tambre! It’s often the simple phrases or tidbits of wisdom that are the most powerful because they are the most memorable. Ooh! And great variation to Cathy’s piece — I’ve had the most difficult time just sitting down. I’ve always love the idea of meditation, but need to get around to doing it!

      Thank you so much for sharing that! =)

  8. Posted August 13, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    There is so much wisdom in the world and as what is now sometimes regarded as an elder, I find that youth is teaching me many things. This blog reminds me of the many lessons I have learned and I think one of the biggest keys I get from these articles it to KEEP learning, doing and having FUN. Thanks for sharing Samantha

    • Posted August 15, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      So true, Roberta! I find that everyone teaches me something, young and old, but only when I keep my eyes and ears open!

      Thanks so much for sharing *your* tidbit, Roberta! “Learning, doing and having fun” are the perfect words to live by. =)

  9. Posted August 16, 2011 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    All very wise thoughts. My own is to make sure that anything I do in life is for the sake of something I’m passionate about. It’s gotten me through failures, slow periods, times when I didn’t feel up to dealing with all the issues in schools, and even when I could no longer physically teach in schools.

    Loving teaching has kept me going throughout, and now even has helped me create a new career path of my own. :D Great post, Samantha!

    To passion!

    • Posted August 17, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Ooh! I’ve been thinking a lot about passion these days and I really like how you make sure it’s a part of your life! I always saw that passion for teaching in you, Paula! =) Thanks so much for sharing this! =)

      To passion indeed! =)

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