Some of life’s most valuable lessons come from the innocence of youth and in a recent incident with my children which I would like to share with you, it got me thinking.

I have two wonderful children, Charlie who is five and half and Barnaby who is four.  During a conversation it was decided that there should be some ‘house rules’.  My wife Sarah wrote down four house rules, the normal things, ‘you must ask to leave the table etc’, little things that give children a sense of manners, discipline and direction.  In response, Charlie and Barnaby decided they would contribute with their own house rules.  Barnaby came up with nine, Charlie twenty two!

It was Charlie’s first house rule that took me by surprise, number one – Stay Confident!

In this simple little message I saw something.  Charlie started school last year and over the course of the year I witnessed a phenomenal change to a far more confident boy, keen to have a go at anything that was put in his path.

Every now and again something is said or happens that levels you, and for me it was this.  Whether you are in business or starting out on your career, confidence is linked to attitude and attitude is demonstrated in our behaviour.  At the ends of the attitude spectrum, we either tend to adopt an ‘avoidant’ attitude (avoiding things like change, risks or dangers etc.) or we tend to adopt a ‘pursuant’ attitude (pursuing things like rewards, freedom, thrills etc.).  Our own particular attitude is what enables us to strive for success, perfection, to do a good job – it gives us the strength and courage to tackle issues, setbacks and in turn, create opportunities.

In Charlie’s simple message I saw an innocent statement, which in reality he probably doesn’t truly understand but with encouragement and support, it will fundamentally underpin the direction he takes in life and the success with which he does it.

Throughout my career in graduate recruitment I have always believed attitude is far more important than experience and invariably those individuals who demonstrate a positive ‘can do / will do’ attitude go further than those that don’t.  We become ‘experienced’ by the very nature we have a job but the difference between outright success and mediocrity lies firmly with the attitude with we undertake our roles and professions.  Some will say that the successful people were lucky.  In part this may be true but there are far more people who come before me who have said what I am about to say which is “we create our own luck”.

Another wave of graduates with huge potential now find themselves entering the work place and there are challenges ahead for some in choosing their path in life. There are those that will outperform their peers and there are those that won’t even though they may be virtually identical in skills and qualifications.

Right now there are many opportunities for graduates with progressive companies who recognise the enormous value a graduate can bring to their organisations but competition is fierce.  Graduates, we encourage you to take a moment to analyse yourselves to identify your strengths and work on your weaknesses.  Ensure you are able to put yourself in the best possible light.  You have worked hard and achieved your qualifications for which we congratulate you but on their own, this is not enough.

So reflecting on Charlie’s missive, now you have to go for it and above all, ‘stay confident!’ and things will happen for you.

As for Barnaby’s house rules, they cause me slightly more concern as his number one rule was ‘Don’t touch bees!’ swiftly followed by ‘don’t lick knives’ and ‘don’t climb out of the window of the house’.  I think I’ll have to keep you posted on his progress!

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