It would be great if our careers came with instruction manuals, but we’re not that lucky. We don’t get a how-to guide for dealing with the workplace, our coworkers and bosses, instead we learn through our experiences and mistakes. And the longer you’re in it, the more you learn.
Josephine Kant, the Global Program Manager for Google for Startups, shares the life lessons she’s learned so far from working in many different countries and environments.
- Lesson #1: At the end of the day, we’re all winging it. Kant reminds us that no one has it all figured out. She says we spend most of our time not knowing how we’ll get to where we want to go, and then one day we realize we’re there. “The imposter syndrome never fully goes away,” she explains. “We just learn to cope with it.”
- Lesson #2: Create the reality you want to live in. Figure out what you’re passionate about and find a way to make it happen. Asking for help is fine, but don’t expect others to be concerned about your career because they’re too busy worrying about their own.
- Lesson #3: If you don’t own your calendar, someone else will. Your time is your most precious asset, so treat it like it is.
- Lesson #4: Show appreciation for others and yourself. Gratitude is a win-win, so write thank-yous and recognize and appreciate people, including yourself. Keep a folder of the positive feedback you receive and look at it when you feel imposter syndrome creeping in.
- Lesson #5: Know your values. Make a list of them and check it every day while asking if you’re actually living those values. “How you work is more important than what you are working on,” Kant says. You will never regret respecting your values.”
- Lesson #6: Don’t equate success with happiness. Chasing success is like “climbing a mountain with no summit,” so Kant advises focusing on happiness instead. She says success may not feel as rewarding when you reach it as when you set out to, but happiness is a “conscious choice to be at peace with yourself - something we can choose day after day.”