When starting my professional career just a few years ago, growth and opportunity weren't front of mind. At the time, I was focused solely on absorbing the scope of my new role and learning the intricacies of Corporate America. It wasn’t until I really thought about what I wanted at the time—to continue to leverage my skill set in a way that was beneficial to the organization and myself—that I began to understand what tangible actions I needed to take to get there; what opportunities I needed to explore and the growth that needed to occur. Over the course of a few months, I began to home-in on not only the job title I wanted to aspire to, but the tangible steps to get there.
I began to meet regularly with a colleague who held the title I was striving to obtain, meticulously picking their brain, hoping to firm up my understanding of how to "sit in their seat." These experiences were absolutely worthwhile as we sat and discussed duties, skill sets, and proven tactics that make continuous success attainable. But, something was certainly lacking. I was hoping for a "take-me-under-your-wing" type of mentor-mentee relationship, but instead got more of a lecturer-student dynamic. Nevertheless, I did uncover something deeper and truly empowering: my renewed passion for learning.
My newfound professor asked if I had ever read the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, to which I responded, "No—but I'm intrigued." Currently reading it, they highly recommended I do the same...
A quick nugget of advice for those looking to further their careers, starting a new one, or simply on the networking trail that I have found worthwhile: If someone recommends a book, read it. Not only can you then follow-up with them to discuss, but it shows that you were listening to what they were saying and proves that you have skin in the game—reading takes a definite level of commitment and time, even for those speed readers out there ;)
So, I did just that and found the content within Manson’s book not only fascinating, but urging me to discover and read more of his work—resulting in me breezing through his second book, published earlier that year. The next time I saw my colleague we had a great discussion about the book, its insights, and actionable advice—ending with me returning the favor by recommending Manson's second book, Everything is F*cked, noting why it was the perfect supplement to his first and instrumental to our career development.
Now, with these two books under my belt and a burning desire to grow into the role I had my sights on, I started to look more holistically on how to further my own career, whether within my current organization or otherwise. How did I need to improve? What opportunities did I need to pursue? These questions led to the aforementioned renewed passion of learning.
These two books proved critical. They set some necessary wheels in motion. I fell in love, yet again, with reading and all of its benefits—which are endless. It has led me down a path not only paved by knowledge and growth, but one that is surrounded by pure bliss and enjoyment.
Can you recollect that one book that proved to be pivotal in your life's journey? If so, share it in the comments and note why it left such an indelible mark on you!
If not, don't worry! Simply take some time to reflect. Think about what your interests are. Imagine who you want to be and what you want to be doing three to five years from now—be it professionally and/or personally—and find books that help get you there. Take it from me and my reading journey, it is beyond worth it.
Thanks for listening.