How can you accomplish your goals? Not by sitting around and wishing on a star. You can create your own success story. Here are some thoughts inspired by Dr. Condoleezza Rice’s remarks at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)’s national convention last week.
Former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, spoke eloquently and brought some messages I thought appropriate for job seekers and the HR audience of many thousands who crowded the huge hall to hear her remarks.
Rice presented an overall optimistic overview of where we as a country can go, as long as we remember the importance of education and focus on “legitimacy based on consent,” instead of “legitimacy based on prosperity.” She spoke about how important it is to “mobilize human potential,” which she said is the “key to greatness.”
Innovation. Creativity. Optimism. Prosperity. Dignity. Freedom. Generous. Compassionate.
These are all words I wrote down in my notes…These themes peppered her speech, and she reminded listeners, “ You can not control your circumstances, but you can control your response.” She also commented, “It doesn’t matter where you come from, it matters where you are going.”
Not a surprising sentiment from someone who grew up in segregated Alabama and managed, through education, hard work and tenacity, to achieve the role of Secretary of State, and today, as professor at Stanford University.
Rice asserted that to succeed, you need to be prepared, convince yourself you are prepared, find a mentor and do your job. She explained, it is not necessary to find a mentor who looks like you, but instead, to find a mentor who is interested in you. The audience chuckled when she commented how finding an African-American woman expert in Soviet politics would have been impossible for her as a young person.
I think her talk should inspire job seekers and small business owners to ask themselves some questions:
1. What are you doing to mobilize YOUR human potential? If you aren’t getting it done, it’s not going to happen. Are you blaming others for whatever situation you find yourself in? Waiting for something outside of your control to change before you take action on your own plans? If you are letting someone else drive your bus, you’re unlikely to succeed with your goals. Don’t just sit there; take some action and make something happen.
2. How are you controlling your responses? Circumstances are way beyond most of our control. While we can vote, most of us are not governing. We are not leading large companies. That doesn’t mean we don’t have the opportunity to take the reigns and be in charge of our responses. What have you tried or done differently lately to change your situation (if you’re not happy)? What are you learning or trying to learn more about to help adjust your circumstances in your favor? If you do nothing, you’ll go nowhere. Nowhere isn’t a great place to stay for very long.
3. Can you legitimately say you are prepared? Rice noted you also need to convince yourself that you are prepared. This is easier to do with practice and — well, preparation! Probably the most important person you need to convince that you can succeed is you! (I have to believe it when the former Secretary of State says so — she won a job, but she clearly needed to remind herself that she was the one for that job.) What steps can you take if you are not prepared? Or, you don’t feel prepared? It’s up to you to alter your course and put yourself on the road to success.
4. Find a mentor. What’s a mentor? Someone you admire who cares about and is willing to advise you. Again, it’s up to you to identify a mentor and to make the relationship work. (Sensing a theme of self-responsibility here…It is all up to you to make this happen.)
5. Do your job. It seems obvious, right? Get your job done, whatever your job is. If your job is finding a job or starting a business, it isn’t going to happen unless you make it happen.
You can make it happen.
photo by ATOMIC Hot Links