In this post, we share career advice from an executive at a Fortune 250 company: Tim Rozar, the Chief of Staff to the CEO at the Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated (RGA). He originally shared his thoughts in March to a group of students and alumni at Maryville University in the US.
Fortunately for all of us globally, Tim also wrote a LinkedIn article setting out his advice, in which he describes it as “22 years of experience distilled down to fortune-cookie sized memes… Hopefully at least some of it will resonate with or inspire you”. Commenters on that article highlighted how it provides “great reminders for seasoned folks as well”, and applauded his “guiding principles [that] endure and serve you well throughout the many changes [in life]”. While another cautioned that “one of the many challenges of youth is that you often don't realize the wisdom of the advice of others”, this hasn’t been our experience at Protagion – our professional members love exploring and learning, which is why we are sharing this with you all. Read more for a summary of his advice, and the link to his full LinkedIn article.
Regular readers of Protagion’s articles may recall that we previously shared insights from Dorie Clark in two formats:
This article focuses on personal branding, building on some of Dorie’s thoughts on this topic, especially as she has been described as “passionate about helping others take control of their professional lives and make an impact on the world”. Her perspective is influenced by her own background in journalism, public relations (including as a spokeswoman), and marketing strategy.
Defining and shaping your personal brand is a topic that surfaces fairly regularly in our engagement with Protagion’s members, so we anticipate that this article will be of wider relevance to our readers too.
For some, the word ‘branding’ conjures up ideas of insincere or disingenuous promotion of a desired personal image, packaged in a way to elicit specific emotions. In our context though, it is all about your reputation and being conscious of it i.e. how others see you.
Carla Harris, who we’ve also written about before, argues that “perception is the co-pilot to reality: how people perceive you will directly impact how they deal with you. And it’s important that you if want to maximise your success, you should understand the perception that exists about you in the marketplace.”
Others’ perceptions are part of our reputations, yes, and these views can be shaped authentically by how we behave. Our brand is not something we say (or advertise), it’s something that we live i.e. how we act over time. The key question is then how we can live in a way that people are more likely to get an accurate impression of us.
Dorie explains that you can’t build a reputation “in an obnoxious way... foghorning your way into people’s consciousness. You’ve got to find a better and more subtle way of conveying your value, your worth and what you can really do.”
So, this post shares some techniques for learning a new language, from a TED talk by a woman who speaks 8 languages and counting… Lydia Machova likes to learn a new language every two years, and loves the feeling of reaching a level where she can “use the language freely and fluently to express anything.” Her infectious enthusiasm for language is apparent throughout her talk, and she describes herself as a language mentor: “I help people learn languages by themselves”.
The talk shares the secrets of polyglots, people who speak a number of languages, and is about 11 minutes long.
We are no geniuses and we have no shortcut to learning languages. We simply found ways how to enjoy the process, how to turn language learning from a boring school subject into a pleasant activity which you don't mind doing every day.”
Lydia shares four principles for learning new languages:
1) Find enjoyment in the process of learning languages – see some ideas for making learning fun later in this post
2) Use effective methods to retain words in your long-term memory by revising them repeatedly – her talk shares some examples of methods commonly used such as spaced repetition and the Goldlist method
3) Create a system for your learning such that it becomes part of your everyday life e.g. set aside specific time to revise vocabulary or listen to a podcast
4) Appreciate the motivation small successes bring and be patient with yourself: Lydia warns that “it's not possible to learn a language within two months, but it's definitely possible to make a visible improvement in two months, if you learn in small chunks every day in a way that you enjoy.”