Tag Archives: success

Planning your career (or, your next job) can be a multi-step process that makes you feel like you wish you carried around a printed calendar, post-its and a pencil. But, sometimes we forget to forgo over planning in lieu of enjoying. Read on for three key lessons to remember when you’re feeling like a fiery manager of timelines.

  1. Remember that careers are lengthy. Think back to when you were a teenager and a bit of a brat. At the time you thought you were the bees knees and knew everything. Nowadays you probably giggle at the thought of your 14-year-old self being an insufferable know-it-all. What’s wonderful about that realization is that you’ve learned a lot since then. Apply that same thinking to your current career and it can be rewarding to realize that there will be a lot more to learn around every turn and there’s plenty of time to get even better. Sometimes that can be stressful to think about how much you simply don’t know, or, it can be invigorating to look forward to all that personal growth.
  2. Enjoy the process. Some days are harder than others and some goals more difficult to accomplish. It’s important to take your time and enjoy each step along the way. If you spend all your time focusing on finishing the marathon you’re less likely to enjoy training in the early mornings, eating weird granola bars and pushing yourself to the brink. Just think, if you only care about crossing the finish line you’ll miss waving to all your friends cheering on the sidelines.
  3. Focus internally. There’s a big world out there that’s distracting and full of noise. When you’re scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin it’s hard to remember that social statuses aren’t the whole story. Rather than getting caught up trying to untangle just how they got where they are, refocus and think about what brings you joy. It’s important to let you define your own success by your own needs. And, by focusing on your personal needs you may discover that keeping up with the Joneses isn’t for you and you’re more of a pave your own way kind of gal.

Good luck and don’t forget to enjoy the ride!


It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.

-Leonardo da Vinci

As the days are getting shorter, weather’s getting colder and sweaters are finding their way out of storage, we start to plan our holiday travel season. One semi-regular occurrence is the High School Reunion. Most schools opt for around Thanksgiving on the assumption that folks come home for the holidays. Now, prepping for a high school, college or even family reunion can be a stressful mental task. Especially if you’re not loving your job. So, read on for some tips to survive a high school reunion. (Or a college reunion, family reunion, or just the random surprise coffee shop sighting.)

  1. Write down everything that’s going great. Seriously. Take the time to write down everything that makes you really happy about your current lifestyle. It could be that you love your job, your boss, your apartment, you started taking an improv class or just discovered ceramics is still fun. Keep writing until you have a stockpile of items that bring you joy. These are great to have in your back pocket to remind yourself that things are going well.
  2. Get your elevator pitch down. Be prepared to answer the same questions over and over by almost scripting where you live and what you do. You’ll have to say it more than once and by scripting it, you can avoid run-on sentences where you start to dive into exactly why you didn’t get the promotion you thought you would.
  3. Plan ahead and get your questions ready. Think about who you’re hoping to catch up with. If you can, send them a note before the event to let them know you’re looking forward to connecting. Also, get some questions ready for anyone you’re chatting with. There will be the usual wheres and whats, but, it’s good to mix in some different questions like asking about upcoming trips or new hobbies. It’s fun to reminisce and to learn about what’s happening in the present.
  4. Let the jealousy go. It’s going to be hard to see people who are founders of their own companies, lawyers or VPs at their companies. If you’re nervous about the jealousy, keep returning to step 1 and remind yourself that everyone works at their own pace and we all have different definitions of success.
  5. Find a buddy. When heading back to school, bring a friend or significant other. Work out a “code” word that let’s both of you know what you need. Something as simple as, “I think I’m going to switch to beer”, or, “I was thinking about purchasing a stuffed iguana.” Okay, maybe you should work that one out with them.
  6. Listen. It’s fun to talk about yourself, but, it’s also really nice to have someone listen to you. When you’re asking folks about themselves, be careful not to be searching around the room for your next mark. Be present with each person as you learn about what they’re doing now.
  7. Give in to the awkward. This stuff is awkward! To counterbalance, be sure to wear something that makes you feel comfortable and eat a big dinner to soak up the open-bar alcohol. Let it be silly but be sure to watch the drinks and keep the conversations on the lighter side. You may have a few people that you really want to dive deep – that’s awesome! Be sure to schedule time to meet up again so you don’t find yourself 2 hours into a conversation and realizing you didn’t get to see Susan.

I hope these tips help as the reunion season comes close. If you’re also job hunting, a sneaky 8th tip is to ask people about their jobs and what they like and don’t like. Don’t pull out a resume, instead, keep the conversation upbeat and follow up after the reunion to learn more in an informal setting. Also, honestly? There’s no shame in deciding not to go. There will always be another one!

Last week we wrote about making daydreams a reality, but this week, we’re going to talk about flipping it. When you’re having all those daydreams, it can be good to think about all the great work you already do. Try writing down or considering just how cool your career is right now. You may have hit a rough patch, but take a moment to think through the good stuff. Maybe you have an amazing boss who inspires you each day. Maybe you figured out a new report that is helping everyone out. Maybe you are taking on an internal project and really running with it. Whatever it is, give yourself a chance to make yourself shine for a moment. And don’t just stick to work goals. Also consider the friendships, relationships or extracurriculars that you take part in. Those can be weighted just as heavily as your newest title.

Work all those details out to craft a 30-second elevator pitch. It’s similar to how you introduce yourself at parties, first interviews or meeting someone for coffee. By crafting a carefully created elevator pitch not only are you giving folks a great way to get to know you but you can also prepare to focus the conversation. Are you looking for a new job? Rather than focusing on what you don’t like about what you’re doing, talk about all the cool things you’ve accomplished, and work in what you’re looking to get more of from the next opportunity. This allows people to make quick connections between you, work, and people you may want to talk to!

It’s exciting to let your daydreams become reality and transform your reality into a daydream. And, it’s important to take a step back and think about the kind of story you want your life to tell. If the role is most important, the friendships, or the projects let those take weight. When you want to share your successes, what are those successes that you want to share the most? Listen to that story of your life you want told. If it’s not quite matching up yet, there’s plenty of time to rewrite.

Hey! We’re back to Jean-Pierre telling us all about his work style and what he enjoys in his day-to-day. Read on!

How do you feel about working a lot of your time. Is it sustainable?
Not necessarily. But let’s first step back and define work. “Work”, “Labor” at its root in Latin, didn’t express a joyous activity but one related to the painful exertion of the body. So I don’t really think you’re ever supposed to enjoy work.  Obviously there are tasks you’ll enjoy more, but I don’t think you should expect continuous ecstasy from work. It has ups and downs, and we have preferences with respect to the tasks, but in my experience it’s not a place of constant joy.

So how do you feel about your current tasks?
I enjoy them – Wheeli is a place where I can exercise my creativity. I always thought of creativity in the most obvious sense: painting, playing music or cooking, but after a while I realized that my creativity is different. Building a team, handling a meeting, creating partnerships, understanding the dynamics of a situation – that requires serious skill and creativity to handle. I love challenging myself to see a problem and think about how we can solve it. How to make things happen.

What gets you going?
I like what I do now. I like transactions, I really like dealing with people to find something to agree on. I really enjoy the complexity of building products, relationships, partnerships between parties and understanding how to build bridges between us.

Are you having fun?
Absolutely, no regrets. There’s no such thing as failure. This experience is like a 9 to 5 on steroids. Most people have to work in the corporate world for 10 years before they have access to the lessons I learn on a daily basis. It’s hard to remember that when you’re deep in the grind, but it’s good to step back and be impressed with what we’re doing.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
There was a time when I wanted to be lawyer. Watching movies where they argue and debate, I thought I should be out there litigating. I took a fundamental of business law class through which the professor helped me realize that I like the topic, and would be good at it, but I wouldn’t enjoy the other requirements: writing 100 page contracts and reading long briefs. And he was right. So now I focus on business; I just spend a lot of my free time debating with my friends. I also like politics.

Any extra advice?
You have to define things for yourself rather than seek to mimic someone else’s life. How someone else succeeds is unlikely to resemble your success We all come to this life with different tools, backgrounds, experiences and it’s up to us to define what works for each of us on our own. Define what success means for you (not for others and/or society) and pursue it.

Want to find out more? Check our Jean-Pierre at these links:
Twitter: @jpsourou

Thanks for chatting with us and hurray for your newest venture!

You don’t have to make yourself miserable to be successful. It’s natural to look back and mythologize the long nights and manic moments of genius, but success isn’t about working hard, it’s about working smart.

– Andrew Wilkinson

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