I remember how proud I was to be a college graduate. I felt smart, wise and maybe even a little arrogant. Then I started my first job and realized I actually knew nothing, that is when I truly began to learn. I learned about people, office politics, organizational structures, communication skills, even how to navigate the break room. Sooo many things, none of which was taught in any of my college classes. I am still proud and humbled to be a college grad, and to have an MBA. I also realize navigating in this world means so much more than knowing things, it means being able to do things, and getting things done.
Getting things done also means we have to be open to admitting that we have so much more to learn. Every person around us has the ability to teach us something if we are willing to let down our guard and absorb what they have to teach. Some people teach about relationships, how to communicate to different people, and they show us that the people are the most important part of any organization. Other people show us how to handle deadlines, frustrations, ambiguity and even how to ask the right questions in the right way to obtain the information really necessary to move forward. And still others teach us about ourselves. They help us dissect when things go right and when things go wrong. They teach us to see into things to best understand what is really happening in the room, in order to leverage our talents and skills for success.
And then there are the people who teach us in the ways of the dark side. We see them connive, cheat, use dishonesty and a lack of morals to get what they want. They manipulate, control, confuse, deceive and often times think they are getting away with it. If we watch carefully we see how people interact with them, we see the end results of their manipulations, and we are able to choose how to avoid that path. We learn how not to let them get the better of us, use us, or manipulate us into doing things we know are not right. Slight of hand, careful wordings, slick answers and grand ideas are not a way to get more of anything, these people teach us this and hopefully we do not figure it out too late.
Education gives us knowledge and knowledge is power. Life teaches us to learn and use that knowledge, leverage it to move forward to get what we want. We have the power to choose how we use our knowledge and learning, will it be for good or for evil? Every choice we make leaves a mark on our soul and the people who “see” us act. Let today be the day you use your hard learned lessons to make what you do, and where you do it, better, kinder, more positive. People remember. They recall what you did, how you made them feel, and what they learned from you. Our legacy is not so much the power in our knowledge as how we chose to use that power to make lives better.