Why Doing It the Easy Way is Often the Best Way for your Actuarial Career
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This Episode’s Roadmap
Have you found yourself working really hard at something, only to find that even with your best efforts, you still didn’t accomplish the full extent of what you were looking for?
This often comes up during the job search where Journeyers find themselves feeling passed over for job opportunities or during exam studying when Journeyers see others getting better results with less studying.
What if the reason that you’d not seeing the results you want is because you’re working too hard?.
Better yet, what if you go do things the easy way and spend less time, effort, and money to get better results.
Trust me, it’s possible and in today’s competitive actuarial landscape, it’s often more desirable – both to you and your employers.
Ready to explore why? Let’s do this!
Why Doing It The Easy Way Is The Best Way
Depending on who you are as a person, and what you’ve been taught, you’re either relieved by this blog post title, or you’re recoiling somewhat. If you’re in the first camp, you’ve been taught along the way to “work smarter, not harder” and to accentuate your strengths, which is a philosophy that’s growing more acceptable to most people these days.If you’re in the second group, you’ve likely been taught that if you don’t do as everyone else does, despite that thing perhaps being difficult to the point of being emotionally and psychically draining for you, there is something wrong with you. But what if you didn’t have to worry about this, or struggle to get results? What if, instead, you were able to put in less time and still get great results? That’s what we’re going to focus on today.
Be More You.
You’ve likely noticed by now that what’s “hard” for you takes more energy than what’s easy. You’ve likely noticed that what is truly challenging for you tends to burn you out faster, and what’s easier gives you a stronger sense of satisfaction and accomplishment because you have more energy to do more, and you enjoy your job—indeed, your life—a lot more.
And you’ve likely also noticed that the “hard” things end up not coming out precisely as you planned it in your mind. It’s one thing to take on something that’s challenging for you for the sake of overcoming something you want to overcome, (e.g., shyness in front of a crowd), or simply to gain a new skill set that you didn’t have before, but want to acquire.
It’s quite another to try to do something that’s challenging for you just because other people do it and they make it seem like that’s the way it “should” be done, always. For example, if you’re better at audio-visual communication than written, then do that. If you’re better at acting instantly on inspiration than planning everything out beforehand, play that up. Ultimately, being more “you” is far more empowering to you than doing the exact opposite.
Doing Things ‘The Easy Way’ In Action
Depending on where you are on your actuarial journey, you may be gearing up to get your first entry-level job. Think about the skills you have, the things that not only make you stand out as a person, but what also what you can bring to the table as far as your career is concerned.
Questions to ask yourself at this point might be:
- “What is easier for me than for others?”
- “What skills (e.g. creating macros, making video presentations) can I display to get myself noticed at X Company?”
- “What, ultimately, makes sense for me to use to move forward with my goals?”
And despite what you might have been told in the past, doing what’s easy for you is a “smart-cut,” not a “shortcut.” In other words, don’t let people “should” all over you. That’s a very disempowering, confidence-destroying feeling. Even if you consult with a truly fantastic career coach or mentor, take what they say and do with the proverbial grain of salt, because you can try what they do just to experiment, but if it doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work.
Whatever’s easiest for you to get on the road to real success, your “secret sauce,” if you will, may change over time. Or if it doesn’t, that’s okay. What matters is that you do what works best for you, because what works best for you will yield you more successful returns than what doesn’t.
We hold online and in-person workshops specifically to help you start taking action on what you’ve learned here through Actuarial Journey! Without action, there is not progress after all.
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- Transcript of Today’s Episode
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Hey there, what is up? Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your Actuarial Journey.
Now I am going to keep this one pretty short because I have to run off to work. I’m sure a lot of you — well I don’t know when you are going to watch this, but I have to run off to work so I will keep it short.
But I think the thing here is really just connecting with you real quick about this idea about doing what is easy. Doing what is easy so you can get more done. And I bring that up to you today because I just had a series of different events take place today, in my life I got a chance to give a workshop at Columbia University to inspiring [00:00:42.16 – inaudible] all about how they can differentiate themselves from others. I got a chance to do some career searching and some career reflection at work.
I had a great call with a few of my coaches in the last 24 hours, and I also add onto that another person I met in terms of weekly accountability. Where we discussed a whole lot of different things, based on like what is the best way for me to help people out on [00:01:14.00 – inaudible] journey.
And the end result of all this here is something that one of my colleagues told me. She said, “You are really, really great at being present and being there in the moment. You are probably better at that than you are at planned materials.” And that sort of set a seed in my mind and all the various of events that I sort of listed out at the beginning of this have kept adding to each other, to help me realise that what is easy for me, is also the thing that is also best for you all. Why is that? Because that is what allows me to be there for you. That’s what allows me to bring out new content. And that’s what allows me to help you take the next step. And what’s easy for me, especially right now is being present with you, being live with you and trying to personalise things to help you out. Right?
So it’s a lot easier for me to come on and share my message through the podcast, through video, through live meeting, through in person, workshops and one on one sessions and group accountability sessions. That is where I shine, that’s where things are just easy, easy, easy for me. I am just going to keep saying the word easy because quite frankly I have done hard. I have done hard and guess what? Done hard is like not only is it taking more time, it’s taking more energy, the result is almost never as good as what I have in my mind, and quite frankly I don’t get the positive benefits of it during the process and afterwards. Because I’m like ugh, did that really come out and spend too much time on this one thing and, should I have done that, I am not all that creative in that sentence here. And I’m a creative person so that’s actually saying something.
So, it really comes back to — got to do what’s right for you. Got to do like — how I say it is be more you. Be more you, and the more that you keep being more you the better your results are going to be, the better your results are going to be. It is so awesome, it is so empowering, it’s one of those things where I was literally getting ready to put on my jacket and walk out the door, and I’m like no I need to share this with [00:03:39.18 ¬– inaudible] and get out there and let people know that like — it is ok to be more you.
Now through that process, it might be a little bit painful to figure out like what is you, who you are, what you are great at, what makes you shine, what comes easy to you, what comes easiest you. What is the one thing you can do that to others might take — might take them just so much more time to do? I can literally not plan on talking to you [00:04:08.24 – inaudible] and within like two seconds of getting the inspiration to do it, jump onto Facebook live or my microphone, onto my webcam, whatever I want to do in order to communicate with you, and share and talk and to connect and help move you forward one step in your journey.
And so like, this has been my experience and I can almost guarantee you that for most of you, doing live videos or talking may not be for the way for you to go. That’s not easy, I want to make sure I am clear here; I am not saying if you want things to be easy for you, you should just go ahead and do videos or what not. No, in fact I am probably saying the opposite. There is no one solution here and you will find that with — where we are going with [00:05:00.23 – inaudible] journey, we are moving away from just one path and more to a path of, hey there are different legs along the journey. Different milestones you should be hitting along the journey, whatever order you hit it is probably going to be more based on you and what your — where you are in your journey. But, you have to craft what that path looks like for yourself.
There is a reason why we call journeyers and trailblazer’s right? I look at a trailblazer as someone that is out there creating a path for them. A journeyer is someone who is here, we are getting inspired, we are moving on a journey together, but are we taking the appropriated action based on us? Based on us as an individual. Right?
People I work with one on one like — we are pioneers out there right? We are creating new paths altogether for others to come through, we are seeing where the solutions are and we are doing in a light, easy, agile way. Comes easier to us, and by that it allows us to go further. It allows us to go further and we don’t need every single trick underneath the book. Like that’s a heavy book back that you are carrying with your right, that’s a heavy took kit.
Instead, keep it light; by focusing on where I am heading right now, what comes easier to me, ok. What is in my way at this moment? Great let me get rid of that, let me [00:06:27.20 – inaudible] help remove that roadblock, let me find a way to overcome this obstacle or this challenge. Ok great took care of that business, now we are moving forward again because I got this and I’m doing it the easy way. Right?
So take some time real quick, and think about it for you and your journey right? Let’s go ahead and break it down into your — if you are looking for an entry level job. If you are looking for an entry level job, what is easier for you than it is for other people? What is that thing that like — you don’t have to think all that much about but others may? It can look a lot of different ways, it could be that you are really great at making videos. So you go with that, so maybe at the end of an interview you go ahead and you put in — you send them a video interview. Sorry video interview, a video thank you. That’s something that i ended up doing in my current role when I got done, rather than just sending the e-mail, I also took some time to record a video, put it up on YouTube, send each of the people I talk to a link and you know, ultimately I got the position right?
There are two things, firstly that was very easy for me. And secondly the role I was going for kind of — it fit, it made sense with that right? For you and your [00:07:49.25 – inaudible] what makes sense? Is it easier for you to write macros or use the access and database and do different things? How can you use that on your journey to help — inspire like potential employers to get that understanding like — Yo I am awesome, this is something that comes really easy to me, it doesn’t matter what [00:08:11.26 – inaudible] software you have, note that I am just good at understanding systems and translate that very quickly into results. Right? And if i can learn macros on my own or if I learn the process of learning macros, then I can learn anything, right? And I cannot wait to bring that to the table.
Anything to do with any of these things. Maybe it’s — maybe you are musical, maybe you are artistic, maybe you are hands on, maybe you are really great at doing research and your way, of what’s easier for you is to go out there and find a whole bunch of information on a specific topic and such. Maybe that’s what you include on some follow up e-mails, or maybe that’s what you include in some of the ways that reach out and interact with people when you are making your connection for the first time. Hey I did some research and I saw that you were interested in X Y Z as it related to the [00:09:06.19 – inaudible], I thought that topic was really cool and I did some addiction research on top of it, have you seen this articles in A B C? On 1 2 3? For me I found them to be really useful, I would love to talk to you about it sometime if you have the chance, peace out. No, not peace out. But — all the best, Nemo.
That kind of e-mail is going to go way further than Hi, I am interested in learning about the actual profession, and could we go ahead and have a one on one if you have some time. Not to say that the latter isn’t good, but what is going to get you further? What is that thing that is so easy for you that it just makes you sparkle? Makes you shine, what is your golden thing? Keep thinking about this, when it comes to exams, you just have this innate ability to sit in a room and just work.
I had a roommate, actually he lived across the hall from me in my freshman year and — for the longest period of time you would say what happened to this guy? He just disappeared, where did he go? He was really funny, he could hang out with us like all day and it would look like he was doing absolutely nothing, just like chilling and such. But he had this process and something that worked out so much better for him, where he could get to a certain part of the day and just zone in. His focus was just like right there. Not only did this person look like he was having a lot of fun or was pretty available. Not only was he able to stay focused, but he used that extraordinary skill of his to actually graduate a year early.
So let’s bring that for you and maybe your studying, maybe you are really good at studying on your own, setting aside the time and putting into the time to study. Find a way to continue to make that work for you. Or maybe you work best in group settings right? So please don’t feel like — for me I found out what worked really well for me when studying was to have a friend that was also at the library. And we were completely different majors. Political science and I was economics. And we would both go to the library together or I would see him in the library and moved my stuff to where he was. And we would just sit there focused, getting the work done, then one of us might look up at each other and do a little shimmy, a little something like this. For those of you just listening on audio, you just missed out on some really great dance moves. I am considering them to be really great but what I am asking you to do is fill in the blanks in your mind how that went.
So, I have to take off here and I think you all have to take off to, but I think the idea here is like — please do not let — don’t let other people shit all over you. You should do this, you should do that, hey you should do this, everyone else is doing this, and you should do it too. Instead, even take this with a grain of salt because it would be hypercritical for me to say, don’t let anyone tell you, you should or don’t let anyone shit all over you, and then I am going to do the same thing, no. Put this into your tool kit and use it as you see fit, you know? But like think about the power of — if every minute you put into your [00:12:45.12 – inaudible] journey, you got [00:12:48.02 – inaudible] returns as compared to someone else who is doing the same thing. What’s happening right now, and at least in my mind, a lot of people have been successful doing certain things. And those certain things have become quote on quote the standard. And other people try to do the same things that — came naturally to the people that were successful and quite, as you would expect unnatural or isn’t their very natural way of going for them, getting less results. The results are not shiny, they are not standing out for employers, they are not passing exams the first time, they are not getting promoted in the way that their colleagues are. And because they are playing a game where the rules are stacked against them.
How about this, let’s play a new game. Or in [00:13:37.13 – inaudible] journey terms, lets kick a new path, lets blaze that trail, let’s go out there an pioneer and find the thing that works for us, its hard work. It is not easy stuff, like plain and simple, not easy. I am going to admit it, but with it, it is incredibly rewarding, and it’s a thing that moves you up to the next level.
I could still be sitting around saying I really need to make an e-mail right now. Writing is very difficult for me, because I am a perfectionist. When I get a chance to craft each work specifically, and make sure all the thoughts combine into a very cohesive aspect where one thing adds to another. Notice as i am thinking about writing here, I am like — my tones changes, the way that I [00:14:30.28 – inaudible] changes. Every single aspect, it’s weird because it’s something people thing you need to do right, but you don’t. Most people might think, hey you need to plan out — before you go ahead and speak live so everything comes out and you are all prepared and everything like that. That’s why, I have been preparing for this particular call for the last 30 years of my life. How? By preparing on how I can be unprepared. Or not even unprepared, because that’s not fair, that’s not fair to say to me that I’m unprepared because I am so prepared, I am probably more prepared than most other people. What I have been preparing for is being able to connect with people through technology through any means necessary, to have them take another step forward on their journey, and to also communicate what I am trying to say in a clear way that can really make some emotional connections.
I am here to [00:15:30.11 – inaudible] and empower you, that’s my ultimate job and goal. Whether you’re a friend of mine, whether you are a journeyer, whether you are a trail blazer or pioneer, whether you are a co-worker, whether you are a family member that is what I am here on this earth to do. And — to do that I have been preparing for a very long time. It might seem like I just picked up the phone and starting talking away, that’s not it. We are playing a very different game here. We are taking a different path, we are taking a less travelled path, we are taking a path that leads most quickly to success.
It’s not a shortcut, it is a smart cut, it’s a cut based on you, it’s a cut that makes your life easier with monumental results. But it’s not easy, it takes work, i gave the presentation, I reflection on that, I got some feedback from my friends, I reflected on that, I got some comments from my managers, I reflected on that. I had some time in a session to think about that and really quantify some of my thoughts and I reflected on that. I got some feedback from not one but two different coaches that I have and I reflected on that.
It takes work but guess what? I can smile here and just know — for my experience with [00:16:58.04 – inaudible] journey and connection with others just in life, I have found my secret source. The secret sauce might change that around, but for right now it’s clearly the easiest way for me. And as such it is the best way for me. And through that it is the best way for you. So don’t let anyone shit all over you, spend the time to find out what resonates with you. And connect that, translate that into a way that can help others or help you reach your goal.
I like to think that if you can help others reach your goal, by reaching your goal; in that case you end up winning on multiple levels.
So I am going to take off, i will catch you on the flip side. Here is to your continued success, journey on.