Thursday, March 13, 2008

Never Say Never

Those of you who know me know that the last few months have been extremely hectic. Now I'm settling into my newly remodeled office with some new additions and am getting back in the groove. I was delighted to have one of my mentors stop by yesterday to see the new digs and new additions. He has been the number one reason I started this blog, and as I mentioned to him yesterday, the blog has been very helpful for my business. Being a wine writer, he seems to know a thing or two about this publishing business. So as a good protege I am doing what he said and blogging away.

It is funny for me to write something for the public to read. I was never a great writer in school. I had to take bone-head english in college because I never learned how to write effectively. Luckily I aced my 5 paragraph essay and tested out of a second quarter of it. Upon reflecting on my life, there are several things I thought I wasn't skilled at that proved to be easily mastered, and some things I never thought I'd do that have turned out to be very beneficial to me and my career.

In college I was a botany major. This required me to take lots of different science classes. One of my most challenging classes was biochemistry. I just couldn't understand some of it. I struggled and studied and got a passing grade. Afterwards I applied for an internship in one of the laboratories on campus. It turned out to be one of the top biochemistry groups there, and I was helping a Ph.D. candidate do highly technical protein chemistry work. When I was able to apply what I learned in class the whole year of coursework made sense. Having previously thought I would never "get" biochemistry it was quite satisfying to be a model biochemist in the application of it.

Growing up I was one of the shyest kids in school. I always thought it was so hard to go up to someone and talk to them, let alone have an extended conversation. Pushing myself I started to go up to new people and speak to them. I also took on speaking assignments in class--including a keynote address at 8th grade graduation. I learned that I really enjoyed public speaking, and that conversations were a fun thing--not something to dread. To this day I take on speaking engagements and relish learning new things about people that I've had to break the ice with. It was quite ironic to me that I ended up being a skilled salesperson--not the shy little mouse who didn't speak at all in school.

And my move to Sacramento is one of the most memorable never say never moments. Prior to moving to Sacramento my boss had offered me to open up a new office in Sacramento. I told him I would never move to Sacramento. Well, looking for a new house in 1998 in the Bay Area was a wake-up call. Six months later I asked my boss if I could take him up on the offer of moving to Sacramento. He said yes. Moving my family and opening up a new office was quite daunting--but turned out to be very important for my career and for my family. It gave me an opportunity to buy a house for a song, and start up a very successful business operation. My family has come to love the neighborhood, and we have strong ties to the community. This in turn has allowed me to open up my own business--a dream come true for me.

So, although I've questioned my abilities in the past, sometimes my biggest weaknesses have turned into my biggest strengths. Also, I never say never when a new opportunity comes up--too often opportunity has knocked very loudly and I've had to retract a previous refusal.

So, when you are going about your job search--turn some of your weaknesses to your advantage, and keep your options open. It seems like everything has a way of falling into place, usually for the better.

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