Don’t Forget to Share Your Story
I was fortunate enough to meet with the Natalie Taylor Scholar Senior Cohort this week to discuss how to continue and integrate service into their lives after Babson–what an inspiring group! I learned about their senior projects whose topics range from faith, education, sports, to veterans. I look forward to learning more as their projects progress during the semester as they fulfill their mission to give back to varying communities all over the world – Babson, El Salvador and Nairobi. Our class discussion focused on assigned readings from the book, Do Good Well by Nina Vasan and Jennifer Przybylo. We discussed how unique each career journey can be as they determine how they want to integrate service into a career and/or a lifestyle. Students in this group have career interests in Accounting, Consulting, Start-Ups, Law School, Religion (and many more!). This is one of my favorite things about Babson: the MANY directions students can pursue with their Babson business degree.
As we sat around the table sharing key takeaways of the readings, I shared a tip from my experience as a career adviser which tends to get dismissed or is often undervalued: the power of sharing your story. I am not necessarily talking about sharing your “elevator pitch” at a formal networking event, but rather that story you share while standing in line at a coffee shop and sparking up a conversation with the person behind you about the book they are holding, or talking with your professor after class about how the class reading assignment resonated with you and why. The power of conversation is an important tool for anyone’s career development, but within the Social Impact realm, it should be at the top of your strategy list. Think about how you can engage in more conversations and interactions within your current network. College is a great (and safe) place to practice. It happens ALL the time in my office when meeting with students. One of the reasons that I enjoy and appreciate story sharing is that it feels authentic. There is no agenda in sharing your story because it is literally sharing something about you that can lead to some interesting stories from others, a new friend or a brand new career opportunity.
Although we are fortunate to live in a time that offers us the ability to share with people in nearly every part of the world, this sharing tends to come in small doses–pictures, 140 characters, status updates. On the other hand, sharing our stories–engaging face-to-face with another individual in a direct conversation–remains essential to our growth and development as individuals and as a society. Our world continues to find balance between technology and human connectedness. For some, sharing comes with ease; for others, it can feel challenging. I encourage you to find your own style and don’t forget that a little discomfort and challenge will open up a world of opportunities. As we celebrate Black History Month, I am reminded of Martin Luther King Jr.’s words: “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”