If you’ve logged into LinkedIn recently, you’ve probably seen articles posted and promoted daily about first jobs. CEOs of major companies, motivational speakers, and other major influencers are chiming in with their stories and detailing what valuable lessons they learned now that they’re looking back.

Reflections: What made you the leader you are today?

The goal was likely to get the readers, all professionals on LinkedIn, thinking about where they came from. It worked! I cataloged my first job (waiting tables at a pizza place) and my first REAL job (bringing coffee to high level people in the broadcast business) and thought long and hard about the lessons I learned in those positions.

There’s nothing like the service industry, whether it be pizza or coffee, to teach you how to handle difficult people. When you’re in a position in which you don’t necessarily aspire to be, you’re always seeking opportunities to learn and grow and that can set the pace for career growth in the future. And finally, there’s that first big promotion where you actually started making money and doing what you really wanted to do.

We all have stories like that, and incredible life lessons that can’t be taught but must be experienced. However looking back, don’t you wish you had someone to explain some things to you?

Could you be that someone to an emerging association professional or association member?

We’ve talked about mentorship programs several times here on the MC Talks blog and while those have tremendous benefits for your association, consider your own expertise and if there’s someone hanging around, looking to duck under your wing.

Even the exercise in reflection can be beneficial. Changing positions or industries can make some lessons from earlier in your life fade away. It could be nice, cathartic even, to think back to previous positions and jot down some of the important take-aways. It might even inspire you to put together some programs or hold a specific  speaker series or talk. 

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