Here in Vancouver, we pretend that the weather doesn’t rule our lives, but it does. We just work around it because we know that when the weather is beautiful, nature will remind us of how vivid colours actually are. When the weather is not so lovely, the world is grey.
A local news station used to play a weather commercial where news anchor, Tamara Taggart explained that sure there’s a lot of rain in Vancouver. But once the sun comes out, that’s when you realize just how lucky you are to live here.
We’ve been blessed with a fortunately warm and dry summer in Greater Vancouver this year, and that’s been my excuse to avoid – completely forget about – my professional development.
We all have our excuses for neglecting professional development:
• It’s gorgeous out
• The annual raises are coming soon
• I finally get along with my boss, so I won’t rock the boat right now
But guess what, it’s a work in progress. Professional development is your responsibility, and it takes time.
My undergraduate degree is from the University of British Columbia. I only attend alumni events once or twice a year (confession time: I’ve only attended wine tastings, but they really were valuable networking opportunities). So when I saw the invitation to the Annual UBC Alumni AGM, my initial reaction was, “why would anyone attend? Why would I vote for people I don’t even know?”
That cynical, “why should I care” mentality is what snapped my brain into fight mode. When I form a strong opinion about something I know very little about, and a wash of complete cynicism (without humor) takes over my thoughts, I know it’s time to form an educated opinion.
I registered that day.
But I understand if you would have hesitated if you saw the same invitation. You’re probably thinking:
• It could be a good networking opportunity, but networking is scary!
• What would I wear?
• Where is it?
• Should I dress formal or wear something comfortable?
• Should I bring a friend?
• Where are my business cards?
I really do get it. A lesson I’ve learned along the way is that you need to accept that networking is a conversation – that’s it. If you make it scary, it’s a scary conversation. Again, that’s it.
You also need to accept that every opportunity is a chance to improve your life. You’ll never know which chance takes you down the road you’ve been hoping to find all these years.
So I’ve registered for the Alumni UBC AGM. Do I know anyone going? Who knows – probably not. What I gonna wear? Who knows – something nice.
All I know is that invitation, combined with my ridiculous reaction was the kick I needed to get into gear, and focus on my professional development again. And truly, that’s all I need to know right now.
A friend shared a great quote with me that I like to reflect upon when I know I’ve been neglecting something:
“Courage doesn’t always ROAR. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
‘I will try tomorrow’ Mary Anne Radmacher
Good luck trying to get back into gear before the end of the summer!