Storytelling, Fearlessness and Failure


Compass Quantum GM, Tony Grayson, talks about fearlessness and failure for veterans entering the private sector.

Hello, LinkedIn. Welcome to another edition of Transition Tips. Today I got my SDB team one hat, Charlie Platoon on, because I was talking to Sue about the resume, and I wanted to share some lessons learned about that. But I also want to talk about a concept too, about being fearless. And I’m not talking door kicking fearless. I mean, everyone who joined the military was willing to put their life on the line to defend their country. This is a different kind of fearlessness. So let’s talk resume. So the resume has a bunch of gamuts, a bunch of hoops you’re going to have to jump through. It could be automated, it could be trying to get through the sourcer, who combs LinkedIn, who combs resumes, looking for things to go to the hiring manager. It could be the recruiters who take the input from the sourcers and decide what to go to the hired manager, or it could be the hiring manager.

The big thing I’m trying to get across is you need to tell a story in your resume. You have to be that storyteller. I mean, just think of all the great movies that are out there. They came out there, and they made you feel emotional about a certain subject. That’s the same thing you’re trying to do, and I know it sounds goofy, but if you’re a project manager, you want to make that person who’s reading that resume connect with you, understand what you did, how hard it was, and the results that you had. And you’re going to have to do this for each kind of job you’re applying to. Whether it’s a project manager, program manager, engineer, form that emotional connection, tell that story, build that awesome blockbuster movie that will make the hiring manager realize how great a person you are, and want to hire you.

The next subject I wanted to touch on is being fearless. And by being fearless, I really mean don’t be afraid to fail. I think, and to be vulnerable here, I think a lot of time in the military, and when I got out, too, I was afraid of being wrong. I was afraid of raising my hand. I was afraid of making mistakes, and because of that, I stunted my learning. So it’s okay to fail, and so I can’t say it enough. If you aren’t failing, that means you aren’t trying. Smart people, like everyone who is probably in the military, you don’t learn by being successful, because that means you could have been lucky, or just right place, right time kind of thing. You actually learn by hitting that ditch, learning from those scars on your back, sharing those scars with other people.

So please, please, please, when you’re transitioning from the military to the civilian workforce, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s what the expectations are. People aren’t hiring you for where you are. They’re hiring you for what you can grow into. Once again, thank you for joining me on Transition Tips. Please let me know what other topics you’d like to hear or any questions you have. You can put it down below here on LinkedIn, and it’ll also have it up on YouTube. Thank you.

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