Graham Plaster

culture + diplomacy + ethics + smart power + technology + humanities + entrepreneurship + philosophy

Brew, Aspire, and Do

I have been brooding over a few thoughts lately. Those who know me will laugh at this understatement, but I just want to share this one thought here, in three parts. It has to do with being an entrepreneur and an opportunist, in the good sense – the kind of person who sees opportunity, considers it clearly and acts wisely in pursuit of the highest good. Sounds a bit more philosophical than I mean it to be, so without further ado, here is the thought:

1: BREW :: Getting on the inside of an organization is not as hard as you think. Just volunteer to brew the coffee, help with the website, pick up the trash, take notes at meetings, or any other menial job that others consider beneath them. Do it as a way to pay your dues into the organization, but don’t let it get you down or define you. Don’t let the image that others project on you while you do it get into your head. You have great things to accomplish. This is just a stepping stone.

2: ASPIRE :: Assuming you get a spot as company coffee maker or meeting secretary at your desired organization, keep your mind sharp. Look for big problems to solve, write white papers in secret to propose solutions, be ready to pitch them if you step in the elevator with someone senior, build your professional network rapidly.

3: DO :: Don’t allow analysis to cause paralysis. Be ready to go when the window of opportunity opens, and be willing to wait a little while longer when you see things have to run their course. When you act you will be revealing your true self, surprising people around you. Don’t let their surprise slow you down in taking the proper actions.

Often the people who volunteer for menial jobs struggle to find clear aspirations. They volunteer for those jobs precisely because they lack ambition. Those with ambition often fail to see the value of getting in at the ground floor. They are afraid that it will slow them down too much, and they could be right. The result is that the unambitious get stuck at the bottom and the ambitious never get an invite to the group to begin with. A good dose of servanthood goes a long way to preparing someone for success so that when finally achieved, you know how to handle it and help others around you get there as well.

 

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