Dropping Pearls of Wisdom

by Julie, wanting to wear sandals in Somerville (but wearing boots instead)

Julie's PearlsI have a few different jobs. I run an arts service organization called StageSource. I write the Clock Shop Mystery series as Julianne Holmes. I also teach arts management classes as adjunct faculty. I only started teaching eleven years ago, and I really love it. In fact, if I’d known how much I love teaching I likely would have rethought some of my earlier career and gone on the academic track, but I digress.

This time of year, with classes winding down and graduation looming, part of my job is to calm the seniors down, and get them ready for their next adventure. The advice I give is applicable to other fields, and all ages, so I thought I’d share some of it here.

Be Curious. Never stop learning, questioning, thinking. Find new ways to do things that are routine. If you don’t know an answer, find it.

Lead with Kindness. Once I turned fifty I stopped being nice all the time. But I always try to be kind. A subtle but important distinction. Snarkiness and cynicism is easy, but also lazy. Be kind.

Once You’re Done Learning, Move On. A former student reminded me of this piece of advice, which (we think) came from Michael Kaiser in the Art of the Turnaround. You can keep doing a job when you are done learning, but it is really tough to stay fresh and on point. I’ve been in arts administration for thirty years, and I keep learning. I’ve changed jobs, but I keep learning.

Be Brave. You will be afraid–afraid to make a mistake, afraid of rejection, afraid of being laughed at. The key is, do it anyway. Be brave.

Don’t Lose Sight of Adventure. So many folks are so focused on the path/career plans they are pursuing, they lose sight of the side paths, other opportunities that may actually be the better choice. Life is full of side paths. Explore a few.

Be the Person You Aspire to Be. Be classy. Dress as if you are the boss. Manage your social media profile/life well.

No One Cares About Your Career As Much As You Do. Don’t look for outside validation. Listen to other people, but make your own decisions. Then live with the decisions you make. You have to take care of you.

Don’t Be Afraid of  Change. Making change, or being the change that folks need.

What are your pearls of wisdom? What do you wish someone had told you when you were starting out?

30 Thoughts

  1. These are brilliant, Julie. And all so true, as Michele says, for all ages. I would add Carpe Diem. Seize the day. This might be a corollary of your Be Brave, but we really never know how long we have to live. Grab that chance, take that risk, because you might not have another opportunity to do so!

  2. I am printing this out! Great post! This year I became a cheerleader for myself. I wish I had done that all along. Being supportive of other people is a wonderful thing to do, but don’t ever forget to show that same type of spirit and confidence to yourself.

  3. Great advice. This should be given to every senior. I would add — Own your mistakes, apologize when necessary, and learn from the experience.

  4. Love this, Julie. I’d add be confident – it’s not something anyone else can give you, but a gift you give yourself. I’m definitely saving this list!

  5. These are pearls indeed, Julie. I would add two: (1) Learn how to ask for help (not to be bailed out of hard work or trouble, but helpunderstanding challenges you are facing for the first time) and (2) always make a point to thank others for their support.

    On that note, thank you for your many wonderful posts and ongoing support of other writers, Julie!

  6. Seriously, what is with the reminders to keep learning new things this week? It was a point in both my pastor’s sermon and my brother’s sermon (I listen via podcast since he doesn’t live in town). Now it’s the first thing on Julie’s list. But I refuse to learn anything from it!!!! 🙂

    Honestly, this is a great list that people need at every point in their lives. Not sure I have much to add.

  7. Great post, Julie! I would add the advice the tell myself when I feel crotchedty and stressed: Attitude Makes the Experience. It usually makes everything better almost instantly.

  8. Great post. My additions would be: it’s a long game and it takes years for all the pieces to line up. And relationships count.

  9. I would add one more thing — Be yourself, not who someone else thinks you should be.

  10. Find a little bit (or more) humor in whatever you do each day. Laughter is the best medicine, release, and ray of sunshine you can have in any day no matter how dismal or grey.

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