Radical Wisdom

Some of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received have also helped to form a collection of the most radical and border-line inappropriate quotes I still carry with me. Although at the time, they were taken with humor (and a grain of salt), when applied to less radical and hopefully less offensive scenarios, they offer some solid insight that I think we can all learn from.

Never limit your options.
This one was born on the Governor’s campaign and quickly caught on among my co-workers as what they felt should be my life motto. I think at one point it was even printed on a piece of paper and stuck to the wall above our desks. That same piece of paper made its way across the state where the plan was to tape it to my hotel room door on election night. Luckily, the victory celebration took precedence over the prank. This quote was originally intended to be applied more toward my “social” life than my professional life, but I can now see how it is a guideline for both. Especially in your career—never limit your options! Say yes, try it out, take it on. Overload your plate until you find what you like the best then knock off the less desirable projects or the projects that aren’t paying out. I would never be where I am today if I limited my options. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t like everything I’ve tried, but I wasn’t afraid to move on and seek out what I did.

Respect the real estate.
Give me a chance to explain. Actually–I’ll just leave it at: in the business of cocktail waitressing, your ability to take drink orders isn’t what earns you tips. And while some are more “skilled” than others at this job, our manager would always say “Respect the real estate.” This of course was hilarious at the time, but has since turned into a little pearl of wisdom that I wish more people took to heart. The obvious translation is to respect yourself, your body, etc. But I find it more inspirational when I think about respecting my skills and talents. True confidence is formed by respecting what you’re good at and being proud of it. So find what you’re good at and own it! After all, it is YOUR real estate.

If you want to throw a party, you’ve got to pay the band.
This is the most recent addition to my collection and it came from my boss one night at a lobbyists’ reception. We were all getting our money’s worth at the open bar and I joked that I didn’t think we’d make it in to work the next day by 9am. His response was “If you want to throw a party, you’ve got to pay the band.” Now there was no band at this particular reception, so I laughed when I understood what he was really getting at. How simple, but how true. It doesn’t matter what you want to do—have another cocktail, go on vacation, start your own business—you have to earn it or pay for it in some way. I’ve thrown some great “parties” in the past several years, but looking back I did always pay the band—often in full and upfront. Needless to say, the morning after the lobbyists’ reception, I was at my desk at exactly 8:33am.

I can’t be the only one…what radical ideas have you turned into relevant wisdom?