True story - Once upon a time there was a very shy 14-year-old candy-striper who volunteered in a hospital gift shop. She was so shy that when anyone she didn't know spoke to her, her face would get flushed with red and her hands would tremble. Working in the gift shop was easy for her because selling gum and newspapers was a pretty easy task as there was little conversation for those short transactions. One afternoon, a man who had obviously been celebrating, bolted through the door of the gift shop and in a loud voice happily announced that his wife had just delivered their first child. His “celebration” had obviously removed any inhibitions he had, if he had had any at all. He chose a gift for his wife and brought it to the volunteer to be wrapped. She took the gift and nervously began to wrap it. The new dad was talking away and noticed the shy volunteer’s hands trembling as his voice got louder and louder, “Look she’s turning red. Don’t be nervous, it’s OK. Look, she’s shaking!” It seemed to take forever for the young woman to get that gift wrapped, the transaction completed and for the new dad to get back out the door. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, it was over and new dad was gone. The volunteer was left red-faced, trembling and in a sweat from the arduous encounter.
We are always told experience is key to getting a career. But this attitude is misleading. In reality, the title of this blog should be ‘You’ve got the experience, you just don’t know it yet’. Don't get stuck on the notion that your skills need to be gained 'on-the-job'. If you think carefully, you will find plenty of examples from the world outside the workplace.