Up in the Air

     You never know whom you will meet when you are flying. You can learn a lot from a stranger, if you are open to having a conversation and enjoy the art of listening. Case in point, on a recent flight, I found myself sitting next to a man who was returning from Florida to Michigan. He was an entrepreneur, a successful entrepreneur, a few times over. He was able to retire early and was so effective at starting businesses; he was continuing to help others create small businesses, and enjoying it.

When I asked him what he credited for his success. He said that growing up on a farm gave him a hard work ethic. That used to be a common theme in rural America. I wonder what will replace \"farm living\" for the future generations as we see more movement away from agriculture. And, he felt his college degree from Michigan was also an asset. I agree, a college degree is always a good life investment no matter how you use it. Now pushing 70, it\'s hard for him to slow down. He loves putting the pieces together. He is still passionate about business development and has a lot of experience, knowledge and business savviness to share.

I transferred planes in Detroit to finish the last leg of my trip back home. A solider sat down next to me in seat 7-B. The man in camouflage was returning home after serving a year in the Army Reserves in Afghanistan. As a dad in his mid 30\'s, he was hoping he would make it home in time to see his son play JV basketball that evening.

Afghanistan…a world away. He said it was overwhelming to be dropped there, with very little language skill. He had a job to do and despite the steep learning curve, he did the best job he could do. He was looking forward to sharing his experience with high school students who know so little about Afghanistan, just like me. He would also pick up where he left off on his job search over a year ago. A year in the active Reserves provided income after he lost his other job. He certainly has some additional information to add to his resume.

Two different seat mates, two different stories about making a living from men who were in different stages of life and with different skill sets. We landed. Four friends greeted the solider at the gate. I saw the embraces and a few tears. I had a tear as well. Thanks you for a job well done, solider. Thank you for taking a year from your life and your family to serve.

I picked up my luggage. As I drove home, I thought, what a ride. I felt transformed and humbled by the strangers I met while up in the air. What did this career coach learn during her flight home?

I learn a lot about the world of work by talking to people. Hearing from people first hand is the real deal. It\'s one thing to read about the workplace, it\'s another thing to hear about it from people who are working. Be genuine, be curious, and share in the dialog. For readers looking for work or considering a career change, it is about talking to people. Do your research on the Internet and read articles and publications. Then, contact someone to talk to them in person or by phone. Do a short informational meeting to learn more the industry, their position or a related position, or learn more about what attracted them to the field. Have a list of prepared questions, but be prepared to listen and respond. Be flexible with the questions, read the situation and be ready to have a few questions come back at you. There is a need for ying and yang in any discussion, so look for the balance in your exchange.

When opportunity knocks, take a chance to engage a stranger whether you are up in the air or have both feet on the ground!

Article Source : http://www.abcarticledirectory.com

Barbara Wulf MS, ACC, CPCC, is a Certified Career/Life Coach and writer helping people redesign their career paths. Barbara offers career assessments along with resume/cover letter writing and interviewing strategies for impact. Her free monthly e-zine, OWN IT, WORK IT, LIVE IT offers tips for those in career transition and others who strive for more life/career balance and fulfillment at: www.beckoncall-coach.com/

Posted on 2011-07-23, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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