Advice for Having the LIVELIEST Career

August 18, 2020

Advice for Having the LIVELIEST Career


Glover Gardens is my hobby, but I also have a career and job that I love in knowledge management and learning. I don’t share much from that (super-busy) part of my life here, but this article I published in LinkedIn seems like it also should have a home in this “multifaceted blog for multifaceted people”.

The article is dedicated to the many wonderful people who helped me learn these lessons, and to all the young people who enrich my life. You know who you are.

Advice for Having Your LIVELIEST Career

We recently said goodbye an intern whose time with us was complete, and collected career advice from each team member as a parting gift for her as she leans in to her bright future. My advice, based on what I’ve learned over the years, was a set of behaviors geared toward having the LIVELIEST career possible:

  • Listen. Ask questions. Investigate. Be curious. Don’t assume that everyone else knows the answer but you.
  • Involve others and collaborate. The best results are co-created. Always share the credit – when you share it, it multiplies.
  • Volunteer for projects and seize opportunities to serve on cross-functional teams. Step up to lead them. You’ll learn much faster this way. But know that you can also ‘lead from behind’ and that sometimes this can be just as fulfilling.
  • Experience, expand and stretch: have a growth mindset. Believe in yourself.
  • Learn constantly. Never stop being a student of life, of other people, of the world. Find a mentor or two. Or three. And never feel like you aren’t also a mentor – you “know stuff” and can enrich others’ experiences and knowledge. Embrace benchmarking partners as an opportunity to learn, share and grow.
  • Imagine, wonder, muse and innovate. Don’t be afraid to be wrong. Fail fast / fail forward is a successful innovation strategy, and if you aren’t making any mistakes, you aren’t taking enough risks or stretching enough. Give yourself time to thoughtfully consider things, have ideas, and reflect.
  • Embody emotional intelligence and embrace all the other ‘soft skills’. And know that ‘soft skills’ aren’t soft at all – they are critical skills for success in any business endeavor. Communication, negotiation, problem-solving, creativity, relationship-building, and most of all, empathy. Cultivating these and other ‘soft skills’ will help you connect with other humans and create the best outcomes.
  • Speak about what you know. Become an external thought leader. Start now – don’t wait. You have insights to share with the world, at every step on your journey. The world will pay attention, and you will learn as you go.
  • Trust people. Trust is a gift that empowers people to be vulnerable and authentic. If you trust people, you will get trust back. Trust creates a bond that business challenges cannot break.

I’m very blessed to have numerous young people in my business and professional life and am sharing this LIVELIEST advice with them, but I’ve realized that nothing here is limited to the early days of a career. Embracing these LIVELIEST tenets should bring more joy, enlightenment, successful outcomes, job satisfaction, wisdom and excellent relationships at any stage in a career journey.

What is your career advice? Did I miss anything in my LIVELIEST model?

Find the original article here on LinkedIn, and feel free to connect with me!

© 2020, Glover Gardens

5 thoughts on “Advice for Having the LIVELIEST Career”

  • I’d like to like this, but… I don’t even know what some of those words means used in your context. Benchmarking partner? External thought leader? Emotional intelligence? Growth mindset? My head is spinning.

    I know about 11 types of intellgence, including spatial (me) which was what my dissertation is based on for my doctorate degree. I don’t know about emotional. I suppose Howard Gardener would call it interpersonal. I dunno.

    Trust? Over rated. Ask our tour mangers what they think about trust. At least externally.

    Sharing credit? I was part of a photo team that won the Pulitzer Prize for covering the LA Olympics in 1984. The big boys at the top decided that the entire staff including the maintenance crew should share the credit. Usually, that’s a big deal on your resume. Not one of us winners ever used it. I rarely talk about it. What’s the point?

    • I love a healthy debate on ideas and concepts! I might not have used words you like, but my friend, you are a champ at what I recommended. You are a go-to person in your field; people follow you for your advice. That makes you a benchmark. When you share something you got from somewhere else, you give attribution / credit. Although I totally get how “credit” has a whole different meaning in your field than in mine. An artist’s work is their name and reputation and credit is how you get paid. In the corporate world, a huge percentage of the work is collaborative, and it is galling when people take individual credit for a team’s work.

      I learned about emotional intelligence from one of Daniel Goleman’s books, Primal Leadership, back in the 90s when I was a young leader of an international team and it was one of those things that stuck with me. Maybe I’ll write a post about it sometime, probably in LinkedIn rather than Glover Gardens. I hadn’t heard of Harold Gardener (or I’ve forgotten) and just looked him up (thanks for the tip!) and found that Daniel Goleman’s work on emotional intelligence was expanding on Gardener’s Interpersonal and Intrapersonal intelligences. So, because I shared my ideas, I got to learn from you. I just learned about the concept of a growth mindset a few years ago and was inspired to write about it here: , not in any kind of an intellectual way, but as a reflection.

      Your response is a good reminder that language is different in different fields. Perhaps my LIVELIEST career advice should be labeled as recommendations for a career in business. I’d love to hear more about your dissertation! I guess a high degree of spatial intelligence would be a huge advantage for a photographer.

      I see your points and recognize their truth; that story about the Olympics illustrates the point about credit being different in different disciplines. Ouch. The only area where I disagree with you completely is that trust is overrated. I don’t think you can overrate trust. I don’t mean that by trusting we should have due diligence, contracts, etc., but rather that it is a fundamental requirement for a healthy relationship between humans. Like you and me: we’ve only met in person once, but we established mutual trust early on. Trust is how I know that your comments are not an attack but a health debate. 🙂

      • First, it’s not a question of what I like. It’s a question of what I understand. For example, the word benchmark. In my world, which has huge corporate component. The word benchmark is replaced with the word expert. I’m still learning, which means I’m not entirely sure of your assessment of me although it is faltering and humbling.

        Goleman never liked Gardner. He said the there wasn’t enough hard data to prove anything. That said, in later learning I discovered a number of social scientists who said everything flowed from IQ no matter what you called it. I think singular IQ is nonsense. It was created from a series of tests that determined placement in the US Army during WWI. Placement… another not quite correct word. I should have used army terminology which would be “determined MOS.” Military Occupational Specialty or as you might say “job discription.”

        Spatial Intelligence is critical to any visual artists and musicians. NJ and I have always understood each other because we speak in the same terms. When she writes a song she sees it in front of her which is why she writes so quickly. I see the picture that I want in my mind and move into the place that puts me in the best position to make it.

        Growth Mindset. I represent yet another artist. She’s a little older and well awarded and known. I mention this because her new album is very reflective. She says that we only tell one story. But, that each time we do, we approach it from a different angle. She also says that every day is worthwhile and that you can never say you know everything, even about what it is you do.

        My dissertation is about how two groups of seemingly common people have disparate viewpoints of how and what they see. My major professor wanted me to go to China… for about six months. By the time I worked on this project I was done with that kind of extended one location travel so I did it here.

        The whole basis was founded on “Jimmy’s story.” Jimmy lives in Jamaica. His mom washes clothes by hand and hangs them outside to dry. Jimmy’s aunt invites him to come stay with her. She lives in Watts. His aunt has a washer and dryer. Jimmy thinks his aunt is rich.

        My comparison groups were people whose family are Creoles and those of former slaves. I showed both groups a series of photographs and asked them a long series of questions that were centered around their perceptions of what they were looking at. Their perceptions, once i completed a few interviews, fell along the same lines.

        Instead of costing me a huge airfare and living expenses in China, the working project cost me a bunch of dives, bar tabs.

        In the end, I wrote 212pp which included all references and so on. John Lennon said what I wrote in a few words. He was asked what his songs meant. He replied, “Whatever you want them to mean.” I don’t think I could have got away with that, although I received permission to complete 49% of my dis in photographs. This astounded the five professors who were grilling me. They didn’t know that I know how to make photographs.

        A tip for your son. If he has to defend his writing or music in front of a group of professors, order pizza into the room where he is doing that. Earns a lot of points. Professors go from hangry to sated and sleepy.

        Trust. I suppose there’s a lot of ways to trust. Since you were discussing corporate-business trust, I stand by what I said. Sara Oda used to be our tour manager (she’s stopped because she got married and is trying to make a family, but she is NJ’s friend from high school.) One of her most favorite sayings is “I wake up in the morning in thinking of all the ways someone is going to fuck with me for the next 16 hours.”

        You’d think that booking agents, promoters, venue managers and the musical crew would work together. In the end we do because the show comes first. But, along the way every one of us lies, steals and cheats to get what we want. Mine are little lies, because I have to moderate the big ones. I always tell the caterer that our food never arrived, so we can have extra food on the bus.

        Family and friends are different. Although, my family mostly hated each other and lied to me about the truth of how my paternal grandfather got to this country.

        On another note, we listened to Adjustments Made. We thought that a lot of the songs are very, very good. They reminded me of a lot of electronic jazz that was made in the 1970s. That said, NJ has a couple of comments.

        Background, she has become a very good producer because she’s worked with some of the best and she’s a sponge. She does it by ear, which is fine, but a true engineer understands sound theory, which is something taught at the Berklee School of Music.

        She thinks the sound is “too thin” which makes it overly bright. We ran one song through our own mastering gear and added some background sound, revived some of the midtones as well as adding a little more bass. Wow! That’s an example of trust. trust your mate. Then we played it through Sonos which is built for the digital age and double wow. If Tom is interested he can email me and NJ will tell him what she did. The good news about streaming is that as long as you don’t change the song order you can slip in a reworked song without anybody knowing.

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