Doubt by definition is the hesitation to believe. In times of change, many people seem to find comfort in doubt and appear to be just fine living in mediocrity. As a result, many people are influenced by these doubters who dismiss their dreams rather than uplift them, but there is hope. Many were chosen or as I like to say have a “call” to change ourselves and confront these doubters. These very few, “live like most people won’t, so that they can spend the rest of their lives like most people can’t (Anonymous).”
Throughout the past year, a community of millennial movers and shakers have assembled to provide the chosen few a voice. Together, we represent a segment of the millennial generation who push each other to discover and fulfill our wildest dreams and ambitions. Our channel to share our voices and to leave our legacies for the future is the National Millennial Community (NMC).
As a NMC representative, my goal is to mitigate the generation gap, identify business opportunities across generations, and craft marketing messages that will resonate and synthesize millennial leadership. I have traveled to Brussels, New York, San Francisco, and the Silicon Valley, participating in a wide variety of executive conversations with high-profile companies, governmental agencies, foundations, and nonprofit organizations. These conversations have shifted attitudes about our generation with leaders at eBay, General Motors, Warner Bros. and even The White House. The experience I have gained has also shaped my personal and professional future by building my confidence, perfecting my professional acumen, and increasing my networking capabilities.
Confidence is Key
NMC clearly provides a platform for young professionals to voice their thoughts, ideas and opinions to executives across a wide array of industries. Students entering the workforce often seek to impress prospective employers and industry leaders, yet they are rarely given an opportunity to meet decision makers at the highest levels of companies and organizations. NMC has provided us with this opportunity and so much more.
The NMC mindset is unique such that we are able to advise and direct, rather than impress. We work together with industry leaders to assist them in formulating new brand strategies, product innovation, and unique ways to reach millennial consumers. The result, a genuine professional relationship with other millennials and thought leaders with the confidence to communicate outside of the NMC forum.
Professionalism cannot be Overlooked
The development of confidence is inevitable in the NMC, and with this comes an underlying skill set that is built along the way. These professional competencies include, but are not limited to the following: knowing when to speak and when to listen; understanding when to lead and when to follow; and acknowledging what you do and don’t know. As many of us begin to transition into the workforce, these are the professional proficiencies that will grant us a strategic advantage over our competition.
Relationships are Paramount
Relationships initiated with our millennial counterparts are critical; therefore, we must place greater emphasis on building our relationships with one another in order to be effective communicators with executives. As we begin to forge these relationships around the country, we must continue to practice and perfect our professional techniques whenever possible.
While networking within the NMC setting, I have learned to ask questions and pay close attention to each individual, because “no one cares about you until you take the time to listen to them (Anonymous).” Communication is a two-way street, regardless of the knowledge we think we already have. The NMC is continuously using communication as its standard, which is leading to life-long friendships, invaluable mentorship opportunities, and many unique employment options.
These acquired lessons and best practices mean nothing if we give into doubt. We must continue to believe in ourselves and determine our own destiny.