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  • Writer's pictureVincent Holloway

Non-Legal Advice That Works: My Pick 6

A few years ago, I spoke to a group of students at the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Engineering. When I received the invitation to speak, I was not quite sure what to talk about but I knew they did not want to hear about the law of wills, trusts, and estates. I also knew that the UK engineering curriculum is the most difficult course of study at the university, and the students might need a few words of encouragement. I settled on sharing a few things that helped me be successful in my engineering, business, and legal careers. I call them my Pick 6. While not necessarily related to the legal field, these tips will help most people get started in any career.

Know Yourself: The most important thing you can do is know who you are. If you do not know who you are and what you stand for, no one else will know either. Once you figure out who you are, let others know. Who you are, what you are passionate about, and how you respond in situations becomes your personal brand. Be your genuine, authentic self in most situations.

Solve The Tough Problems: Learn to do what others can do but establish a reputation for doing what others cannot do. Anyone can solve the easy problems. Go after and solve the tough problems. By doing so, you will develop a unique set of skills and experiences, and distinguish yourself from your peers. In the end, your uniqueness will be what others value the most.

Be A Team Player: You will be asked to play various roles as you grow in your career, and in most cases, you will be part of a team. In some cases, you will be a leader. In other cases, you will be follower. Sometimes you will be asked to create a solution. Sometimes you will be asked to implement a solution. Make sure you understand your role and do whatever it takes to make your team successful.

Strive For Perfection: Most people can provide simple solutions to simple problems. Whenever you think you have solved a problem, look at it again from a different perspective and make the solution better. Keep relooking your solution until you either run out of time or you run out of improvements. By taking this approach, you will consistently deliver superior products and services.

Pick Your Friends Wisely: You will encounter many people in your life but there will be relatively few people that you can call your friends. Friends have your best interests at heart--not theirs--when they provide you advice and help. When someone's words do not match their actions, they cannot be counted among your friends. Likewise, make sure you do what you say so others will consider you among their friends. Know who your friends are and keep them close.

Have Faith: The reality is that no one is perfect. You will make many mistakes and have many failures in your life. If you don't, you are not trying hard enough. How you deal with uncertainties, mistakes, and failures is critical. Realize that no one does anything by themselves and the actions of others may ultimately determine your individual or team success of failure. Just do your absolute best and let God take care of the rest.

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