Chief executive at CPA Australia
When looking for your next career opportunity, don’t fall into the tribal view that every employer you approach wants to hear the same things about experience, behaviour and performance.
Here is my truth. I became a teacher, sports manager, and CEO with limited or no experience. I conducted the only interview with Neil Armstrong that covered his entire life without any television interview experience. I won’t bore you with a list, but there are more examples.
Let me tell you, goals are achievable even if you don’t have ‘the right’ experience. What you actually need is the right attitude. So if you have been teetering on the edge of something new, but fear of inexperience has been holding you back, the following thought-provokers might help you out:
1) Self belief
Much of your life is destined by your attitude; it’s as simple as that. If people think negative thoughts, negative things happen - the reverse really does apply. The universe respects desire, patience and resilience. You must develop your sense of self and be willing to fail on the quest to achieve your goal. Whatever it is you want, go hard and don’t stop.
2) Position yourself
We all have subliminal plans for ourselves. Test those plans or dreams by developing relationships (often social to start with) with people who work in the sectors you are interested in. This is easier than you might think. People with common interests tend to live in packs. Find where the pack lives, engage with them, and develop an understanding of their thinking and habitat. You never know, you might discover transferable skills you’d never considered.
3) Start to practice
If you are building the right relationships, the opportunity to gain some ‘real-life experience’ will present itself - I guarantee you. I’ll give you an example. After building relationships with a group of teachers, one fateful day a teacher was unavailable at the last minute, and, as a last resort, I was called-in to substitute. There were 80 plus students (mostly older than me) and it worked out perfectly. None of this would have happened if I’d let my lack of experience lock me out. I had mentally trained for this moment for years. This included: teaching in front of the mirror, taking every opportunity to speak in front of a group, and sitting in on numerous lectures to observe various teaching techniques. Being prepared to make the most of an opportunity is crucial.
4) Tell someone
I always found it useful to tell two or three people that mattered to me what I was setting off to achieve. Whatever it was - teaching, television or business - every time I saw them, they reminded me of my accountability to go though with it. Proving that you’re more than just words is a great motivator.
So are you going to accept that you don’t have the right experience, or are you going to test the universe and push the limits until you really know what you’re capable of? Life’s short – don’t waste it.