As I enter into this new school year as a “veteran” counselor, I don’t have the same burst of energy and bubbly personality as I had my first year, not to say I am not enthusiastic or excited, I am! BUT, I feel as though I have really matured in this position. I know how to work with my students and what the job entails, I know how to work with my office colleagues and face the challenges of higher education. Instead of being the over-excited, over-enthusiastic, over-talkative person to make up for the knowledge I did not yet know, I can really hone in on my goals and my true skills.
One thing I have noticed that happens once you become seasoned in anything, is that you forget what other people don’t know. I have worked with so many students that I often think that when I talk to a new one, they SHOULD know the admission process, they SHOULD know what steps they need to take in their college search. Ironically, this is something I repeat over and over again in training with my tour guides- “Remember, this might be your 100th campus tour, but it is ALWAYS their first!!”, I say. Yet, this is a principle that I often have to remind myself of as well. Almost every family or student that comes into my office is going through the college search process for the first time. They are confused. They are overwhelmed. They are lost and looking for guidance. So it is SO important, that even if that is the 7th student I have met with that day, that I slow down my explanation, I ask questions to make sure they understand and I make sure that they know they can come to me for help.
But… we have all been there, no matter what your profession is, we speed through explaining things because it is natural for us, the information is embedded in our minds so it is easy for us to talk about. We have also ALL been on the other side of this with SOMETHING. That phone call with your insurance company? That professor who lectured for 2 hours and you did not grasp a single concept? It is the worst feeling to be on that other end, so desperate for guidance/important information… yet trying to get it from somebody who could care less if you understand it or not. We are all experts in something, that is a gift. But it is a waste of a gift if we cannot slow it down and help others understand. What good is knowledge if you cannot share it?
So my challenge to you is that no matter if you are a teacher, a receptionist, a nurse, a mechanic, a manager…doesn’t matter. Take time with each of your customers, clients, patients etc. to really connect with them, to understand them and to guide them. Use your knowledge to empower others, not overwhelm them. Use your knowledge to inspire. The rewards you will get in return, will blow you away.
Stay blessed in the mess 😉