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This is advice to anyone out there that has trouble facing their fears, or are doubtful in their abilities. Recently, I took a risk, and wrote a ‘Please Hire Me‘ post for Radian6 (@radian6). I started thinking: “Will they like this? What will their reaction be? What if it’s negative?” But I told myself, I won’t know the answers to these questions for sure until I try. The outcomes so far have been positive. There are a few people that picked up the post, and wrote a story about it, including Ragan Communications.
Do I regret writing that post? No! Would I have regretted not writing it? Most likely. I’ve always been someone to try something, and hope for the best. Why? Because there’s no way to predict the outcome if you don’t try it.
I started singing in 2005, when I was in my second year of high school. When October hit, the school decided to do an ‘American Idol’-like competition. I had never sang in public before, but I decided to give it a shot. What was I to lose? Nothing! Because I ended up making it to the top 3. I took a shot, not knowing what the outcomes would be, and they ended up being very positive.
The year after, I decided to run for treasurer in my student council. I was only grade 11, and it was very unusual for a non-senior to run for that position. I took a shot, and it paid off. I had a great year in the student council, and ended up learning a lot about business, accounting, and finance!
Last summer, I received an email from my school (that they sent to all Commerce students) that mentioned a national business competition that was held in Toronto called Impact Apprentice. I decided: “Why not try out for it. I have nothing to lose!” So I did. A lot of people that were close to me told me I didn’t have much of a shot, because over 1000 students from both Undergraduate and Graduate programs in Canada applied for it. I believed in myself though. And it paid off!
I made it through the first round. Second round, I had to create a video explaining why I would be a good candidate. I made it through that round. Third round was an interview round (toughest interview I’ve ever got in my life!), but I made it through. The top 32 were selected to go to Toronto to compete. It was an awesome experience, and I made some great connections there.
One of the connections that I made was with Ron Tite (@rontite). Ron has been an actor, comedian, speaker, host, and award-winning advertising writer and Executive Creative Director. He is now president of The Tite Group. He also has been mamed one of the Top 10 Creative Canadians by Marketing Magazine! Let’s just say he’s awesome! 🙂
Last fall, I decided to email a few industry professionals about advice on how they got to their position. I emailed Seth Godin, and he got back to me saying he didn’t have time (but he responded, which was more than I expected for someone as busy as him!). And I also emailed Ron Tite. I asked him to look at my blog, and let me know what he thought about it. I also asked about career advice, and I got this astonishing response:
Hey, Daniel. Thanks for the note. I appreciate it .
I’m glad that you found my presentation relevant. Good to know. Congrats on the blog, too. It’s a great place to start. I read a couple of the entries.. nice work. You’re doing everything right.
The one point I would make is one of credibility. Being so young, it’s tough to establish credibility around things like, “My 3 stage theory of branding” without offering up credible sources that inform you. Otherwise, keep going. There’s some good stuff in there and I like that you understand how engagement works – you comment on the comments continuing the dialogue. Great!
In terms of tips for success, I guess it depends on what you want to do and, more specifically, where you want to work (New Brunswick, Toronto, New York). Do you want to stay local, go national, or even international. Generally, I’d say that you continue to invest in your personal brand, make sure everything you put out is top quality, and continually try to differentiate yourself from the competition. Be the brand.
That’s all I basically did. I always tried to do good work and I always had the confidence to take on something I didn’t have experience in while simultaneously not being afraid to ask for help or advice when I needed it.
For a final thought that may motivate you, I will quote something I harshly told the students of Cambrian College just a few weeks ago:
Don’t think about the money. Don’t think about success. Just do what you love. And everything else will follow.
I spoke at TedX UW a few weeks ago and a prof named Larry Smith had a great insight: “If you don’t work at something you’re passionate about, how the hell will you compete against those who do? How will you compete against the person who reads Marketing Magazine on the weekend for fun?”
Wow! That’s what I was thinking when I first opened the email. I was not expecting that at all! Do I regret emailing Ron for career advice? Hell no! It was great advice, very useful, and very wise! (Thanks again Ron for sending this email :))
So the take-away from all of this is: Don’t beat yourself down before you tried. Don’t predict negative outcomes before you give it a shot. Often, when you take a risk, it pays off.
So what do you think about this post? Was it helpful? Have you ever done something that really paid off that you are proud of? Have you ever regretted not doing something that could have been great? Please leave your comments bellow, and don’t forget to share! 🙂
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