25 Years, 25 Lessons - Part 1

So, on the 31st of March I left my 25 year career with the tech communications giant that is Vodafone, and due to our current circumstances I have had time to reflect on those 25 years and the amazing lessons I have learned along the way, from some pretty incredible people, in a company I am very proud to have worked for. I have decided to publish it in 2 parts, and it is in no particular order, so stay tuned for Part 2 if you like what you read, or if you didn't get a mention this time round and feel sure your lesson will be in here :) ...

Lesson 1

If you don't love your job, find what you do love in it! Sub-heading: Always do as your parents tell you. I started with Vodafone (then a rather more yellow Peoples Phone) straight out of Uni, my dad made me apply for the job at a time when only big businesses, salesmen and hm, maybe criminals, used mobile phones! I didn't love technology I promise you, and I didn't know or care about mobile phones and pagers (remember them?!) so I very reluctantly went to work.

I sold phones like the CTN 7000, the Motorola Startac and the Sony Mars Bar. And I didn't love any of them, I did, however, love talking to people, the customers who came into the stores I worked in, hearing about what they needed, solving their problems, helping them. And I loved selling, was pretty good at it, and in time I got my own store and learned over a good few years how to lead others which I also absolutely loved. I truly loved coaching people to be at their best before I knew what coaching was and seeing people develop gave me a real thrill. And as time evolved I also loved my job as I was able to mould my role as I moved through the company to do everything I loved best. No job is perfect, but all jobs will have something that makes your heart beat faster. Find what that is and do as much of it as you can, it will lead to more fulfilling opportunities and help you work out what you want to be when you grow up ;o)

Lesson 2

Be authentic. I learned this from one of my managers who, to this day still inspires me and his many words of wisdom echo about my head, Graham Ingram. The only thing that truly separates you from the crowd is your you-ness. Embrace it in all its flawed, funny and formidable power. Think about the people who you admire, I betcha they are authentic, no one said I love Jimmy he's such a great fake. Stand up for your convictions, your values, show your foibles to the world and be ... exceptional.

Lesson 3

Laughter is life. So Graham definitely influenced this one too, particularly the day we nearly got thrown out of Durham Cathedral for crying laughing during my daughter's bible recital. It's a long story and you kind of had to be there, but the message is critical, at home, at work, in business, if you can't have a laugh there really is no point. Go find people who make you cry laughing, the ones who have you gasping for breath, I have worked with so, so many especially during my 16 years working in the Retail field, too many to mention, but if you are reading this and you remember our laughs together, thank you. Simon Webdale, got to mention you here, "I believe" you will know the kind of laughter I mean when you can't even breathe, unforgettable career moments. All of the teams I have worked in have brought those moments to my life.

Cheeky side note, humour can help you sell, get hired, influence, inspire and build relationships, and neutralise the odd mistake shhhhhh!

Lesson 4