Remember those times when you were young and on a hot summer day you’d call a time out during game of street hockey – baseball or football for my American friends – because you needed a drink. You’d gather around the garden hose and take turns quenching your thirst. You’d try to take in as much water as you could, but in reality you just couldn’t keep up. The water was coming out too fast.
That scene came to life again for me this week. Only this time, I wasn’t playing street hockey, I was starting a new job and boy did it feel like I was drinking from a firehose. Every day I came home mentally exhausted and completely overwhelmed by all the information that was being shared with me.
Now, I’m certainly not the first guy to start a new job – people start new jobs all the time. The amount of information one is required to process when starting a new position, at a new organization, is most certainly not a new phenomenon.
Things To Remember When You Make Change
I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself – I’m just wired that way I guess. I want to do well and I want to add value to the team I work for and, in my line of work, help donors achieve their philanthropic objectives by connecting them to the mission of my organization.
In the midst of all of the excitement of the first week, it occurred to me that when one makes a change or embarks on a new career adventure, it’s important to remember a few things. These might not be universal, but in my case, these are the things I need to be mindful of.
- Be kind to yourself: It’s impossible to know everything you need to know about your new organization in the first week. I spent 6 years at my last fundraising job and everyday I was learning something new. It takes time to get the story straight, remember the names and roles of everyone you meet. Be kind to yourself and know that it’s going to make sense.
- The fundamentals don’t change: In my case, I didn’t make a major career change. I’m been working in fund development for the majority of my career and the fundamentals don’t change. The process of connecting donors to the mission of one’s organization is the same wherever you go. In my case, I need to remind myself that I know how to do this!
- Do you and be you: When we’re in a new situation, it’s easy to get caught up in all the distractions of your new environment. We all want to be liked and we all want to fit in. All of that takes time and trying to rush it only makes things worse. We have to remember to be ourselves. In then end, they hired you. So, it’s really simple, in all things do you and be you.
The Importance of Grit
Over the summer I read Jon Acuff’s latest book called Do Over. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. As I got ready to transition to my new work place, I went back and reread the chapter titled “Grit is a Choice, Not a Feeling.” The following section applies so well to the change I just made, but also in so many situations. Here’s what Jon had to say on the subject of grit, something we all need when we are making a change.
If you’re going to make new relationships, you need to have grit.
If you’re going to learn new skills, you need to have grit.
If you’re going to have strong character, you need to have grit.
If you’re going to hustle, you need to have grit.
Grit is being stubborn in the face of fear.
So, next time you find yourself drinking from the proverbial firehose, remember to be kind to yourself; to lean on the stuff you already know; and, more importantly, remember to be yourself.