Can FEAR and FAILURES be part of a learning process? With all that has been happening, this seems to be a good time for the last of my three-part series. As a brief recap from my previous posts, the series started with Why I chose CPS to pursue my dream!, then I shared Unlocking Opportunities! And the journey continues…
In my final quarter at CPS, I focused my energies on the job search process. I spoke with many recruiters, sent many emails, applied to many jobs, and gave many interviews. Sound familiar? When I hear and see success stories, I keep in mind that I am only seeing the tip of the iceberg – there is so much underneath. Trust me, the learning during the process is powerful, embrace it!
Moreover, I love this quote from Robert Stevenson, “keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.” Hence, I decided to explore how my fears were overcome by my courage and how my failures generated motivation. By taking an inventory of my broad experiences, skills, and competencies, I prophesied that my career development goals are attainable.
As I think back to leaving Matthews Arena after walking across the stage for commencement, I was filled with excitement, fear, and uncertainty. Scanning through my pictures captured during the ceremony, my phone rang, almost as if I willed it to be so. Amazingly, the call was a job offer! Not to be outdone, I went from seeking a career to deliberating between roles within my career.
Initially, I was a HR representative at one of America’s top hospitals, then moved to a Talent Acquisition Associate role incorporating my intercultural communication skills. Almost with a flicker of the eye – actually within a year – I found myself in a new role as an HR Operations Specialist at a prominent museum in Boston. Additionally, an opportunity came available to future apply my experiences and skills. I became a board member of a local employment professionals group. Without explicitly following a Career Management Model, I realize it is a continuous opportunity for growth.
Speaking of Growth
When Dr. Patty Goodman, Faculty Lead for Cross-Cultural Communications, reached out to me inquiring about collaborating on a case study research project, I had that moment of fear and possible failure in not meeting expectations. Yet, I found myself saying, “Yes, I would be honored.” I was so proud to be a member of the team presenting our research at an international conference on Global Studies. Now, we are collaborating with another alumni, Zirui Yan, on an edited book about women leaders impacting their community through cultural resilience. Moreover, I accepted a part-time faculty position at College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University. Yes, you read it right! I have had the pleasure of sharing my skills and facilitating learning through teaching graduate level Intercultural Communication. I am seeing my career path development coming closer in line with another favorite quote.
In closing, I would like to share a framework to support both career development and a learning process, which embraces fears and failures. Northeastern University has created a holistic learning philosophy referred to as, Self-Authored Integrated Learning (SAIL). Furthermore, SAIL research supports five dimensions: Intellectual Agility, Global Mindset, Social Consciousness, Personal & Professional Effectiveness, and Well-being (explore the hyperlink for more details). The following three takeaways integrate my experiences grounded in SAIL dimensions.
- See yourself as a Leader —> Self-awareness and a positive attitude are the most important factors that will enable you to take charge of your life goals. Leadership encompasses personal and professional effectiveness. Becoming a part-time faculty at CPS is an honor and at the same time it is an opportunity to give back to the amazing NEU community. As an alumnus, I stayed connected with the CPS in different ways including supporting an NUAlumni event in Pakistan, serving at the Career Conversations panel for the current graduates, along with sharing my experience through this series of blogs.
- Gain Intellectual Agility —> Have you heard about Marshall Goldsmith’s book, ‘What got you here won’t get you there’? If not, check it out. It’s fascinating to realize that ability to expose, analyze and adjust your approach gives you competitive advantage on many others. My career path as a communications learner and as an intercultural communication lecturer emphasizes the importance of critical thinking and creative skills.
- Develop a Global Mindset —> The need to think and act as a global citizen is more critical than ever before. Whether it’s a simple conversation on a bus or a complex discussion in the boardroom, having a global mindset will lead you to build successful relationships and reason culturally smart business decisions. The different worldviews that I learned throughout my journey helped me to be culturally sensitive and inclusive in my role as a HR professional.
By embracing Lifelong Learning, you can face fears and failures, and GROW!
Author: Sahar Rehman CPS ’17
Acknowledgement: I cannot thank my CPS professors enough for their leadership and support, along with the mentors and empathetic professionals who showed me the way.