Learned Along the Way #3


I apologize for the long period of radio silence. For those who haven’t heard, I had a baby last week. My new baby boy, Colton Craig Lauritsen, arrived a week ago today. He and mom are both doing great. We are now into the process of adjusting to life at home with three kids and a dog–real life sneaks right up on you.

I like this path we headed down talking about some of the lessons we learned as young professionals as we worked to improve our communities and companies. So I want to continue down that path a little further.

To refresh, we have talked about Making Big Plans and having Clarity of Purpose so far. I’d like to share another lesson that I think is an important one for young professionals specifically.

3. No Fear.

As a young professional, you possess an advantage you will never have again in your life. That advantage is that as a young professional, the rest of the world expects you to be a little crazy and uncontrollable. There isn’t an expectation that you should know better–yet. Once you are further into your career, you are expected to understand “how things work around here” and to follow that norm. But, as a young professional, there is no such expectation.

About ten years ago, you and I were working on an idea for a summit for young professionals in Omaha. As we thought about the event, we realized that we would need a partner with the credibility and resources of a large established organization. We quickly decided that the Chamber of Commerce in Omaha would be a great partner. There would have been a lot of ways to approach the Chamber. Not having any well established connections within the Chamber at the time, we could have called the receptionist at the Chamber and asked who we should talk to. Likely, we would have gotten connected with a member of the chamber staff who (if they took the time to meet with us) would have heard out our idea and buried in a stack of papers on her desk. Instead, we decided to go big. We called the president of the Chamber and asked for a meeting to share our idea with him.

In Omaha, the Chamber of Commerce is a big organization. Since Omaha is a city approaching one million in population, the Chamber is a large, well-funded, political machine. However, we were young and had no fear, so we made the call. And, we got the meeting. In this meeting, we pitched our idea of a young professionals summit. The meeting was the catalyst that led to the creation of a young professionals council at the Chamber (and ultimately the Omaha YP Summit).

The moral of this story is that if we had been fearful to make that phone call to such an important and influential person, we couldn’t have made the progress we made as quickly as we did. As young professionals, you can ask tough questions and challenge the status quo. In fact, you are almost expected to do this. YP’s are given the opportunity to bring a “new perspective” to our workplaces and communities. Don’t squander the opportunity.


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