Forget the time-honored tradition that younger workers need to “pay their dues” before moving up the ladder of success.
These days many young people see no need to wait their turn – and their refusal to patiently stand in line is the right idea, says Michelle A. Turman, author of Jumping the Queue: Achieving Great Things Before You’re Ready (www.jumpingtheq.org).
“They understand that if what they want doesn’t happen within a certain amount of time, they can move on to something different, or go create an opportunity that works for them and their lifestyle,” says Turman, president of Catalyst Consulting Services.
Such an ambitious attitude might not match the stereotype of today’s young people, but that’s because the stereotype is often off base, Turman says.
“I do a lot of business with young professionals, and they are nothing like the lazy, selfie-snapping narcissists they are often portrayed as,” she says. “They are motivated young people who realize the world is changing and that they must change with it.”
But they do face a problem. For all their enthusiasm and big ideas, they lack the tools and experience they need to execute and implement those ideas, which means they could use a little guidance along the way, Turman says. She offers a few tips for passionate and impatient young people who don’t want to wait their turn to achieve great things:
• Find a mentor. Having good mentors is critical to success, Turman says. “I recommend a local mentor because meeting in person, face-to-face, really matters,” she says. “Part of the mentor-mentee relationship is about hearing stories or advice from a different perspective, which in turn allows you to think more introspectively.” A mentor gives you someone to lean one when you’ve had a bad day, she says, but it’s also the mentor’s job to challenge you.
• Believe in yourself. If you’re determined to achieve success now, and not later, you can’t take the easy road. “This is about creating your own path and holding your head high,” Turman says.
• Ignore the naysayers. With every risk you take, there likely will be naysayers who will insist you are too young, too inexperienced or just plain unprepared. Turman says your strong belief in yourself will need to come into play here, and you will want to avoid your detractors and refuse to let them derail your progress.
• Make your health a priority. There’s nothing wrong with hard work, but know when to draw the line, Turman says. “Not enough is said or written about the toll that stress takes on your health, your body and your relationships,” she says. “You have to be able to step back and say, ‘I’ve done my best. I have put in enough hours at work this week.’ The culture places a higher value on work time than on ‘me’ time, but if you don’t prioritize me time once in a while you will burn out and the work time will slowly kill you.”
When people wait until they are “ready” to achieve their goals, they risk missing opportunities, Turman says.
“Being ready is overrated,” she says. “Tune out the noise, rise above the detractors and start believing in yourself – even when no one else does.”
About Michelle A. Turman
Michelle A. Turman, author of Jumping the Queue: Achieving Great Things Before You’re Ready (www.jumpingtheq.org), is the president of Catalyst Consulting Services whose mission is to facilitate positive change in the areas of executive searches, organizational management and fundraising. With more than 23 years of nonprofit experience, Turman has been responsible for increasing the impact and best practices of nonprofit organizations she serves and has raised over $60 million through her professional and personal philanthropic efforts.