No one tells you about this . . . it is like the best kept secret.
But keeping this secret doesn’t help you in your career and in the forward trajectory of your life. Because we really can’t separate our professional self from our personal self, we take just one self to work, to events, to meetings.
When we make our personal self more interesting we make our professional self more interesting. When we make our professional self more interesting we make our personal self more interesting.
I didn’t do well in high school math, but I seem to remember this about equations: what you do to one side of the equation you are to do to the other side of the equation. What you do to your professional self, you do to your personal self.
People will talk about advanced degrees and certifications will help you advance… Other people will talk about WHO you know rather than WHAT you know.
No one talks about the value and obligation of being INTERESTING. At “networking” events (all events are networking events to me), business lunches, job interviews, partner retreats, Internet dating, at any gathering of more than just you, there is a value in being interesting.
How do you be interesting? I tell clients and audience members to read the Sunday New York Times. Forget the politics of one section of the paper, whether you agree or disagree. I want you to consider the sections on real estate, art, theatre, sports, pop culture, current events, wedding announcements and death notices: all are fodder for future conversations that will make you more interesting.
Your degrees are important, but probably won’t help you make “small” talk prior to a Board Meeting. (To me there is no such thing as small talk; it all has the potential to be BIG at any moment) Your title is important but won’t necessarily help you to connect to a Gen Z applicant whose hobby is Boogie Board. Do you know if they mean the tablet or the board? Your corner office is nice, but may not help you talk about weddings in the time of COVID.
Your job is to make you interesting. How are you doing?