In the absence of leadership, he who holds himself and his peers to a higher standard than is demanded will rarely have 100% approval ratings from peers. Those peers who actively seek self improvement will show interest; those who don’t might show resentment. A key tool in leading peers, particularly without any given title, is to carefully monitor and manage your methods of communication.
This doesn’t mean you will gain the 100% approval rating, but it may help to ensure you don’t earn disapproval on account of unintentionally sending the wrong message. You may also need to check your own definitions, to ensure your own definition of seeking self-improvement and performance is not blinding you from seeing the ways others may do the same – just in different ways.
Still, I remain supportive of those who maintain a higher standard. Even at the risk of not, “pleasing everyone”. The reward of positively influencing one, or being an influence in the development and growth of another, far out-weigh the cost of an unambitious collegue. They are only the few, and will either catch on eventually, or just weed themselves out.
Whether it be the advances in technology that we use daily such as electricity, cell phones, refrigerators, fleece or the internet – or – the awe inspiring accomplishments of our world such as landing on the moon, the space station, virtual reality, olympic world records or your favorite theme park – We wouldn’t have any of it, if we all settled for the standard.
We’ve become the society we are, we’ve made many accomplishments and will continue to accomplish more – on the backs of those who didn’t let us just meet “the standard.”
So, let’s take a look at 2013 so we can be set with a plan for 2014. A lot has gone on this year for me personally and professionally of which a few points I’d like to highlight. One of the things I am adamant about is having goals and objectives. Not just dreams, but actionable plans to continue growing. 2014 will be a crucial year for me as I identify goals and objectives – mostly due to the happenings of 2013 and some realizations I’ve had to come to during that time.
Before I start my recap – I’d like to confess to my greatest fear; a very realistic fear that has influenced, for better and worse, my actions and motivation in 2013. However, I am grateful for realizing it and I am happy to share it with you as it will be integral to setting my 2014 goals. On my 28th birthday, in 2012 I spent my very last day wearing my Uniform as a U.S. Marine. In the year that ensued I began to realize my greatest, most debilitating fear yet: At 28 years old, I have already lived through the most rewarding, fulfilling, and greatest part of my life. Now what? Lucky for me I was able to recognize that fear, and come to realize that MANY Military Veterans have feared the same after beginning their transition back into civilian life. So – 2013. It was a busy year!
– January 2013. I left my less-than-successful career in Real Estate to develop a Veterans Recruitment Division for a New York City based staffing agency. I didn’t know much about agency recruiting at all, but I knew about being a Veteran (which seemed to be the unique and valuable asset I provided). I caught on pretty quick, and with a little luck – entered into a new career field.
– March 2013. I was introduced to the civilian world’s lack of job security as the Staffing agency downsized by half, and my position along with my Veteran project were ended, on the spot and without warning.
– March 2013. I became an independent consultant working directly for the New York Stock Exchange providing National Talent Acquisition work. Perhaps the best kept secret was that my time at the NYSE provided far more value to me than I could have ever provided to them.
– March 2013 – Sept 2013. Eventually I started working full-time for the NYSE, as a Talent Acquisition Associate and a Veteran Associate as a part of their amazing Veteran Associate Program. I worked directly for the man who became the most integral and influential person in my transition to the “civilian world”. I was able to work additionally on Veteran efforts at the NYSE and in outreach of the NYSE to other companies such as AIG and Bloomberg, along with many additional partnerships.
– October 2013. HUGE MONTH. After recognizing my desire to continue and develop my career in Talent Acquisition, I was referred to, interviewed for, and offered a role in Talent Acquisition at AIG. Needless to say – I took it and am working diligently with my team’s objectives and additionally to build an official Military Veteran recruitment and retention strategy with partnerships across the corporation. I also took on a role as a Mentor and Guest instructor for the FourBlock Foundation’s Career Development course for Veterans. I provided resume review and assistance, and instructed on personal branding and goal setting. I am not sure who gained more from the experience, myself or the students!
Back to my fear – It is now a motivation. I may have lived through my most rewarding and impactful portion of my life… to date. That just means the bar has been set, and now I have to set goals and objectives that will allow me to live a life that only grows and progresses. For 2014 here is my “Bucket List” along with objectives and goals that will help me to reach new levels.
Goal: Begin my MBA at NYU
– Objective 1: Study for GMAT
– Objective 2: Complete GMAT with a score above 650
– Objective 3: Apply to NYU Stern School of Business Part-Time (3 year) MBA Program by the May 15th deadline
Goal: Meet face to face with my company’s CEO, Robert Benmosche
– Objective 1: Have a reason to meet with him (Official Veteran Program at AIG). Meaning, he has to be aware of the work being done on the topic. Which means, the work has to be solid, and provide value.
– Objective 2: Complete planning and execution of a series of Veteran Initiatives in collaboration with Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Business Lines, and Diversity & Inclusion at AIG. (I cannot make public statements about everything just yet).
Goal: Travel Outside of the Continental U.S.
– Objective 1: Obtain a Passport. (I’ve never had one, but just submitted my application last week!)
– Objective 2: Complete a work related travel event outside of the U.S. (Likely to happen if I go to an event in one of our Canadian offices).
– Objective 3: Go on an out of the country trip for FUN! More specifically, a spontaneous location in the Caribbean, as my wife and I will be celebrating our TENTH Anniversary this Spring! I think at least a 2-3 night trip is feasible. Any LifebyDamien fans with connections or recommendations – please speak up! J
Goal: Write, Produce, Record and Master a complete song.
– Objective 1: Learn to play at least 2 complete songs on the guitar
– Objective 2: Obtain an intermediate-hobbyist level of expertise with ProTools and the MIDI equipment I currently have
– Objective 2: Upgrade my computer to handle the additional work-load.
Goal: Buy a House (Either single-family to live in, or Multi-Family to live in and begin a rental income investment)
– Objective 1: Build savings to cover all up-front costs (Will be using VA Loan)
– Objective 2: Identify investable markets (we have some areas picked out, but the idea of a multi-family unit within the city is a new development).
Goal: Begin Writing a Book
– Objective 1: Identify WHAT?! I have had this idea for a long while, and I have been very creative in trying to identify a topic. I’ve really considered all sorts of angles, so ideas are welcomed. So far, I’ve considered:
Memoir of my military career
Memoir of my transition process with a focus on the psychology involved
Taking all of my LifebyDamien articles and tying them together
Erotic Fiction (sex sells right?)
Personal Branding for those who don’t know personal branding
Any sort of random e-book to test the waters
– Objective 2: Start writing
– Objective 3: Get someone to read an initial manuscript
– Objective 4: Include writing courses as part of my MBA curriculum/electives
There are more I am sure, but not sure how to articulate. But to wrap up, here are some ideas I am considering, that are more “Bucket List” items – that if any fans are considering also, perhaps we can go in on a joint venture?
Skydiving (Have jumped with a static-line in U.S. Army Airborne school, but never free-fall)
Scuba Diving (Never have)
Family Cabin trip to the mountains, fishing, hiking, etc
Family Trip to Florida (undecided whether to make it a road-trip or fly)
Knicks Game and Madison Square Garden
Nets Game at Barclay’s
Jets or Giants game at MetLife Stadium
Well – in 2013 I’ve taken my fear and turned it into motivation. What are you doing for 2014?