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Ed Bacon: Perseverance pays in starting a career

Six years since graduating from college, Sierra is “yet to find a job that requires a degree.” See the video where Rev. Ed Bacon spells out three things she can do. Read the article for additional ideas on getting ahead in your career.

29 year old Sierra receiving advice about feeling stuck in her job.
OWN Video (screenshot)

Reverend Bacon says, “Give up the notion of ever giving up” stressing the importance of staying with what ever you are doing. "Nobody has ever made it who wasn't persevering," he says.

This writer’s observation is to always seek out the things you like and do what you are capable of doing. As we enjoy what we are doing, we expend more effort and ultimately become skilled at what we are doing.

Live one day at a time
"Get the clue today of what the next day will be.” In order to do this, you must suspend any belief that you should have a vision of what is “down the road.” The Reverend says he lives a very regimented life but has to understand that the end of the day totally different than what his calendar said the end of the day should be. In this writer’s experience, life choices seldom turn out to be what we envisioned. We are well served to accept it for what it is and move on.

Be confident
"Staying really confident that you are unique and that you do have a beautiful contribution to make to the history of the universe that nobody else can make,” says Mr. Bacon. He says one need only learn how to have your fears but to not let that become your fear.

Has Sierra been wasting her time for six years?
Sierra has been doing customer service jobs for six years feeling that her talents learned in school are not being used. Little does Sierra realize she has been building the base for her future. Sierra need only follow the same path to leadership that everyone follows.

Learn to lead
Successful people learn to lead. It does not come easily. It comes from humility and hard work. No one starts at the top in any profession. Instead, they must go through a cycle of leadership in everything they do. The cycle is learning, doing, mastering and leading.

Start by learning. Take courses, find related volunteer jobs and learn from others around your job.

Expect to start at the bottom. Everyone learns best by doing. Repetition builds skill and skill makes your job easier.

One must practice higher-level skills over and over. Higher-level skills are needed in most every professional job today. These skills are as diverse as selling to designing a machine. These skills are a diverse as communicating effectively to solving complex problems. In Sierra’s case, customer service is a higher-level skill.

Practice 10,000 times
A commonly accepted rule of thumb is that one must do a higher-level skill 10,000 times before becoming proficient. A good measure of comparison is the number of golf balls a professional golfer has to hit to stay on top of his or her game. It turns out to be many more than 10,000 every year.

Leading is all about teaching your higher-level skills to others, coordinating your work with others, and coordinating the work of others.

Repeating the cycle
Everything we do in life is at one of those steps. One may have mastered his or her cell phone and begin to teach others what he or she has learned. The president of a large company may take up golf and will have to become a student of the subject. Everyone must work their way up. Those who do not put in the effort to master or to lead will find themselves behind organizationally and socially. Their pay will reflect their low commitment.

About Reverend Ed Bacon
Reverend Bacon says he met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by the luck of fate at a baggage claim in the Atlanta airport years ago when he was a student at Mercer. Because of this meeting, he went on to study Dr. King’s works. That led him to better understand the importance of overcoming fear, embracing inclusion and promoting universal compassion.

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