A young man I recently met at the bank proved to me it’s possible to learn and grow on the job, no matter what you do for a living. The other day I went to my bank to meet with loan officer, Jose, to sign my loan papers for the purchase of my new car. Jose was instructing me on the forms that I needed to sign, and I told him I had some cash I wanted to deposit into my business account. I gently inserted it was cash from the sale of copies of my first book. Jose seemed to express an interest and asked me what I wrote my book about. I told Jose about my book Manage Up! The Ultimate Guide to Managing Your Manager. I shared with Jose that I had been inspired to write on the topic due to several of my coaching clients’ struggles with challenging bosses. Jose was even more intrigued and asked if I could share with him a tip from my book.
I told Jose that one of the tips was that your boss cannot be everything to you just like you cannot be everything to your boss. I went on to share that it is important that you uncover and learn your bosses “schtick” and tap into their strengths. It’s also important to know your boss’s limitations and find other people and resources to fill the gaps your boss is missing. Jose then went on to say that this job, his current role at the bank, was not his true career destiny. He shared that since he was a kid he was curious and wanted to figure out what life was about. His strategy for doing so was to interview older individuals. According to Jose he chatted with random older folks and would ask them their opinions about their greatest life lessons and what their thoughts were about life. He respected these older individual’s life experience and wanted to obtain all the nuggets he could get from them. I thought Jose was on to something and clever for a young kid.
Jose shared that he would ask elderly strangers what he needed to know about life. He expressed that many of their conversational exchanges centered around their regret; regret about not doing various things in their lives. It reminded me of an experiment that was done in the streets of New York entitled; What’s Your Biggest Regret where a large chalkboard was placed on a sidewalk that said “Write Your Biggest Regret”. What the experiment demonstrated was that most of the regrets identified were things people did not do rather than things that people did do. One of the takeaways from this experiment is that most people have regrets of things they do not follow through with. It reminds us that taking risks and tackling fears would be a greater story to share one day rather than chanting the phrases “I shoulda …. Or I coulda ….”. Living with the feeling of regret exposes a missed opportunity. Living with the triumph of taking on risk reveals our potential.
After I left the bank, I realized that Jose was already doing exactly what my book advised. He was using me, and the older people he encountered, as resources to fill in what he wasn’t getting from his job or his boss. At his young age, Jose had learned an important lesson. You can’t count on others to manage you well; you must learn to manage yourself.