Young, inexperienced, and new kid always came to mind whenever hearing the word ‘rookie’- that is until I became one. My background is in marketing and post-graduation I was avidly looking for a position in that field. That all changed once I learned about Bristlcone Holdings, a fintech company that exists to ‘democratize the world of finance’.
Prior to joining the team I had very little interest in finance. I was most intrigued, however, by the way the employees served its customers and one another- with integrity, passion, and genuine service. They honestly could have been selling toilet plungers and I would have still said ‘Yes’!
I joined the Concierge team late last year as a customer service representative. Although the position wasn’t exactly in marketing I didn’t care because I knew I would be exposed to far more than had I accepted an offer at a stuffy ad agency. Little did I know within a few short months I would be leading the very department I just joined.
Personally, I thrive in organization and established methods; I swoon over check lists, have a strange obsession with post-it notes, and love highlighters. Needless to say, jumping on the rocket ship of a high-growth, fast-paced start-up was out of the norm for me. I will never forget sitting in my CEO’s office discussing this new opportunity. His words of advice? Take great risk, dare deeply, and fail forward. You see, what I didn’t understand initially but got at that moment was the power of being a rookie. Let me explain…
Taking the easy road is boring and uneventful. It requires little risk. Embracing challenges, however, promises great growth and reward! Sure it’s unpredictable (oftentimes scary) but the gains are far greater. Everyday I go to work feeling inadequate and wonder what the heck I’m doing. It’s terribly uncomfortable but I hope I never lose this feeling.
I recently discovered Liz Wiseman’s book Rookie Smarts and it blew my mind. Being the ‘hold-it-all-together’ ‘always-know-what-you’re-doing’ kind of girl left me with very little room to take risk. However, Wiseman blows the lid off of the conception that you have to have it all together as a professional, young or old. In fact, she believes we are often at our best when we are new to an undertaking, doing something for the first time (1). Could it be that the best jobs are the ones we aren’t fully prepared for? Reading Wiseman’s book obliterated my misconceptions about being a rookie and in many ways has lifted the weight of the world off my shoulders.
Rather than cringing at the word ‘rookie’ I now celebrate it. Jumping into this opportunity has taught me to stay hungry and foolish. I’ve learned to seek out the counsel and wisdom of others, try new things but also approach with caution, and question the status quo. I ask more questions than a toddler, try new tactics that have already failed, and juggle lots of moving parts. Some days I crush it and other days it crushes me.
Ultimately, being a rookie has engrained in me the power of leaning into and building a strong support team. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for those who have believed in me and built alongside me.
My hope for you is that you’ll embrace being a rookie in whatever you do. Are you a new graduate, professional, spouse, or parent? Jump in feet first! Regardless of the position you hold- go at it as if you’ve never done it before. Try new things and take risk. Most importantly, stay hungry, foolish, and humble.
What have you tried lately? Drop me a line below or find me on Twitter!