I am very excited that I am a newly appointed adjunct professor at the University of South Florida. I have wanted to teach at the university level since I can remember, and once I completed my doctorate, that became a reality. My class is a graduate class on Business Communication.
I was psyched when I received an appointment to meet with the Dean of the Business School. The meeting went well as I discussed my 30 + years as an entrepreneur developing business executives and presented my ideas for a unique graduate school class. I was hired, signed a contract, and excited. Was this really happening? I then met Pat, the professor with whom I will team teach, and she and I immediately bonded. Does it get any better than that?
But now the class is one week away, and my excitement has turned into anxiety!!! I recognized the change from excitement to fear as similar to when I agree to play in a tennis competition. I am always excited that someone thinks I am “tournament-tough.” The excitement lasts through many phone calls, emails, and clinics with the pro. The excitement dies when the actual day arrives and I find myself praying for a heavy rainstorm!
Today, just a few days away from “going live” in front of the student audience, I am anxious. A rainstorm won’t help here. The pressure is on. Starting Thursday, I have to impart wisdom into the minds of men and women who have set their sights on a career in the business world. How on earth will I do that?
The pressure I am feeling is because I feel the need to give the students wisdom to really see themselves as they are and begin a life of ongoing personal and professional development. They need wisdom to discover their passion and follow it. The students need wisdom to find the organization that is tailor-made for them or the wisdom to create their own organization. They need wisdom to be an individual contributor as well as an effective member of a work-team.
Fortunately in the nick of time I am reminded of Marcel Proust’s words: “We don’t receive wisdom. We must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.”
My dear students: Do not expect your professors to give you wisdom because they cannot. They can give you knowledge and information, and engage you in activities to increase your self-awareness and your skill sets. But wisdom comes with experience and years on the earth. Wisdom comes when you apply what you learn in the classroom, when you digest what you have read, and what you learn through life experience. Wisdom comes from living, observing, and from putting yourself out there.
Here’s to your journey. While I wish it to be a straight line right to your goal, it will not be. You will take many side trips, and occasionally be faced with things that temporarily cloud your vision. If you lose sight of your goal, count on your professors and mentors because while no one can take the journey for you or spare you from its challenges, many people can help you refocus and find your way.