Leading is not easy. It is easy to fit in. It is hard to stand out. Standing out is no longer optional in the post-pandemic new normal. You have to start saying something to the world. Think of making some contributions. You are needed. We are waiting for you.
Some of us think that if we continue to work hard with our hearts and minds, we will not only be recognized but also will be richly rewarded. It may have been the case couple of decades ago. It is not the case now.
There are no safe jobs. You will never find time to think of making your contributions and having a legacy. What is required from you is — your vision, a perspective, inspiration. You stand tall, value people, and they will stand up for you and offer you opportunities that you may have never imagined!
If you have a well-crafted message, and a compelling vision, you will be surprised to see the audience flocking towards you. Continue to seek value in people, processes, and technology. Pay attention to things around you. Stay away from being a copycat or a follower of what is popular. You have been brought up to follow directions, to follow a script and a map, and a specific course of action. If you just do that, you have not achieved anything yet.
If you start thinking broadly you will find that the world is waiting for you. People are waiting for you. Your ideas, your enthusiasm, and your foresight are very much-needed. Most people will step forward to support you and offer you a helping hand. They are looking for leaders, pioneers, and potential legends.
Especially if you are born in this country where I live, the United States, you should not settle for less. You have tremendous opportunities all around you. If you plan to finish school and get a job and settle, you surely settled for less. Do not go to school or college just to get a job. Go there, if you want to, to learn some skill and enhance your talent, and to create new things and opportunities for yourself and the world. Get out of employee mentality. Think of becoming an employer, a contributor, a producer.
Make connections. Build and expand the network of family and friends into tens, thousand, and perhaps millions of people. You can do that. Technology allows you to do that.
The goal should not be just about making money. You cannot eat more than two to three times a day. You cannot sleep in more than one bedroom at a time on any given night. You will not be able to find happiness only with money. You need many other things to make you and keep you happy and satisfied.
Thousands of people in the U.S. commit suicide every single year for a variety of reasons, even though they have almost everything they could ask for. Still, they find themselves empty inside. You have a chance now that you may not have later. You just cannot do that even with an Ivy League Degree, a house on the cliff with an ocean view, and marrying into a reputed family. You need something else and something more. Especially if you are thinking of leaving a mark and making a dent in the world.
If you are a millennial, and/or a young professional, start thinking of learning things as quickly as possible and start producing and delivering. Lead people. Serve people. Create opportunities. Stand up and stand out. Your legacy is what you create for yourself. You have to do-it-yourself. Do all of this with grace and gratitude. After several tries even if you do not fully succeed you would know in your heart that you attempted. You know you did the best you could. You have no regrets. You lived your life fully despite challenges.
Your profession demands that you come across as a thought leader to solidify your career. More important is a chance to change the world for the better. There is so much inside you – your ideas, your passion, and your talent. Do not deprive us of your perspectives. Whether it is to improve the educational system, healthcare, housing, transportation or how to make your company more efficient, your ideas matter. The world needs your insights, and it is time to be bold.
Face masks and social distancing shouldn’t stop you from making your contributions. Think of the impact. Now is the time to start. You leave a trail. You illuminate the world with your thoughts, your work, and your gifts. And that is something to be proud of because it is noble and honorable and you will become deserving of best rewards, and something extra.
Dr. Mohammed Nadeem