Whether it comes from a family member, a friend, a coworker, a mentor, or a stranger on the street, we’ve all received advice that sticks with us over the years. Often, that advice is something small that helps us get through the day. Sometimes, it’s advice that helps us get through a challenge we didn’t think we could overcome. And occasionally, it’s advice that you didn’t realize you needed until you were in the moment.
We asked members of the Hurrdat team about some of the best and most interesting advice they’ve received over the years and how that advice has impacted them to this day. Here’s what they have to share…
Sausha Durkan, Media Producer
“You can’t go back home.”
When I was super green in the media and broadcasting industry and interviewing for my first big producing gig, the General Manager told me, “You can’t go back home.” I was so confused by that, until he explained it.
Basically, the advice is when you embark on a new journey, you can’t do it the same way you’ve done before. It doesn’t stick and becomes stale quickly.
I realize now that advice can apply to a journey of any kind, and I’ve really taken this message to heart in both my personal and professional career. When you try new things, and you go about it with the same approach or the same road map you’ve used in the past, it won’t work 90% of the time.
I’ve even embraced this advice on my recent fitness journey. I avoided “going home” as much as possible. I started doing things way outside of my comfort zone, and it truly helped me stay the course.
Dan Hoppen, Content Strategist
“Always bring a notebook.”
As a young professional, I once left a job interview that I felt had gone very well. But as the recruiter told me about next steps in the hiring process, he warned me, “Next time, bring a notebook to write things down. I almost told you to leave as soon as I saw you get off the elevator without one.”
You better believe I’ve always brought a notebook and taken notes at every interview since.
While I find this recruiter’s line-in-the-sand approach a bit harsh (Would he really pass over a great candidate for a minor slip-up?), that thought instilled the importance of preparedness to me. You can never be sure what’s going to happen in any career situation, so always come more prepared than you think you should be. Research the people you’re going to be meeting with and the subjects you’re going to be discussing. Bring notes that you can reference to every meeting, and be prepared to take more throughout.
My goal now is that I leave every interaction impressing the other person—not because I was so great and prepared, but because I valued their time enough to put in the work ahead of time to ensure every moment we have is maximized. I want them to feel that I put in the legwork beforehand to avoid wasting time or creating confusion. In an era where it feels like everybody is constantly short on time, showing someone else that you care about theirs can go a long way. So bring your notebook.
Brandon Taylor, President of Hurrdat Innovations
“Stop, drop, and roll when your clothes are on fire.”
This advice comes from my childhood. When I was in elementary school, my teacher would sprinkle in some life-saving advice throughout the school year—stuff like never get in the car with a stranger, where to go during a tornado, and what to do if you ever find yourself on fire. That one caught my attention. I loved playing with fire. Her advice was “Stop, drop, and roll when your clothes are on fire.” Stop where you are; drop to the ground and cover your eyes and mouth with your hands; and roll over and over and back and forth until the flames are out. I stored up this great advice and was ready for anything that life wanted to throw at me. Or so I thought.
One day, I was playing outside and decided to make a little fire in the driveway at our house. (We all see where this is going.) I gathered some sticks and put them in a pile, then grabbed some paper and a lighter. Finally, I started a fire. There was just one problem—it wasn’t big enough for me. I ended up grabbing a gas can from the garage to add a little bit of fuel to the fire. This is where everything went wrong.
As soon as the gas touched the fire, it shot up into the gas can and caught the entire can on fire. It ended up blowing up and catching me and my clothes on fire. Okay, I thought, I’m prepared for this. I stopped, dropped, and rolled and rolled and rolled. I was still on fire. My clothes were covered in gas, and the method my teacher taught me wasn’t working. Just as I saw my life flash before my eyes, I felt a cool sensation of water rush over me, and the flames were extinguished. There, standing over me, was my older brother with the garden hose. He saved me again. (I say “again” because this was not the first time, nor the last.)
Here are the key takeaways that I learned from my experience that day. There are going to be times in life when everything seems to be on fire all around you. The first thing is to not panic. It’s really hard to solve problems when you’re not thinking clearly. Next, if what you know is not working to solve the problem, try another solution and don’t give up. When you give up or don’t do anything about it, that’s when things get a lot worse. Eventually, you’re going to have to deal with the problem. Finally, surround yourself with people you can trust—people who will help you battle the flames when things get to be too much. These people matter more than you can ever imagine. Never stop investing in them, as they could save your life someday.
Meghan Trapp, Agency Director
“It’s not your job to tell yourself ‘No’.”
I switched career paths after my first job out of college, and I remember feeling inadequate. I was much younger than my colleagues and less experienced in the field and didn’t feel like I deserved a seat at their table yet. One day, a well-respected superior told me the old adage “Fake it ‘till you make it,” and I realized that he also had no idea what he was doing!
At a startup, we were all embarking on a new journey together, and our individual experiences made us all valuable. I had been holding myself back by believing that I still had to learn the job before I’d be worthy of contributing. I never doubted that I could eventually be great in my role, but I had been subconsciously believing I was not yet ready, and I was making that my reality.
Once I overcame my fear of being unmasked as young and inexperienced (Duh, they already knew this from my interview!), I realized I had nothing to hide and started believing in my abilities to act now on what I do know. My confidence grew, and so did my opportunities.
Today, I still am both humbled and amazed by the opportunities that present themselves. I embrace the opportunity to learn and grow, but now I leave it up to others to tell me “not yet” instead of telling myself “I can’t” first.
Hurrdat Answers is an ongoing series of interviews with Hurrdat team members. Check back for more!