A successful career in Washington, D.C. will depend on two factors:
1. Can you manage yourself?
2. Can you create, manage, and maintain relationships?
Many of my blogs will provide tactical solutions to mastering these two factors, but at the core it all comes down to the steadfast spirit. The dictionary defines steadfast as firm in belief, determination, or adherence. Spirit is the force within a person that is believed to give the body life, energy, and power.
To me the steadfast spirit is the overall attitude and demeanor of a person that has embraced the practice of devoting themselves to a lifestyle, while taking faith in the outcome. Steadfast spirit is holistic, daily, and vital.
Can you manage yourself?
Someone with steadfast spirit finds balance within themselves. Humility is central to the steadfast spirit, but this is never confused for a lack of confidence. A person with steadfast spirit is aware of what they can and cannot control, but finds ways to influence situations others would leave to chance. They are organized and self-motivating.
Can you create, manage, and maintain relationships?
The steadfast spirit appears confident but not arrogant. It means to always be appreciative of others’ time and always make people feel important. A person with steadfast spirit is upfront about what they do not know but never waivers in asserting their ability to quickly learn new things and grow.
The person with steadfast spirit speaks to every person with respect. They speak with the janitor who takes out the trash and always treats the receptionist with courtesy and appreciation. They are easy to talk to and not judgmental. They understand rejection is a part of life and use it as motivation.
In practice the steadfast spirit is many things. In undergrad it is the person who finds balance between school and extra-curricular activities. They do not join seven clubs, they have leadership roles in two. They pick their friends wisely and keep negativity at a distance. They are aware of their limitations and seek the counsel of others often.
The steadfast spirit is strategic at all times. It means understanding the role and importance of a resume, it means knowing when to ask for a favor, and it also means knowing when a favor must be returned. It means looking at a contact as a lifetime connection not someone who can help right away.
It is the understanding that anything worth doing is worth doing right, even when it takes a long time. The steadfast spirit is getting coffee with 20 people before you meet someone in the right office and it can mean taking a few entry-level positions before landing the right job.
There is a payoff! I can confidently say the people in my life who have been living examples of the steadfast spirit are experiencing the payoff. It took 4-7 years in D.C. for many of us, before we finally broke into our fields, but we did it the right way!
* Please join the D.C. Hopefuls Newsletter!
* Like us on Facebook at D.C. Hopefuls Facebook Page
* Follow us on twitter at @dchopefuls
* CLICK HERE to schedule a 30-minute conversation with me about your career aspirations, struggles, and/or questions