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Experience is a Good Teacher

I know this phrase has been said by a number of individuals, but I remember it myself from the lips of Miki Howard-- the songstress’s opening line to the powerful ballad “Love Under New Management.” “It takes someone like me to know,” she would sing in reply.

The song itself speaks to a woman who’s had some ups and downs with love, but things have begun to look up. But, as usual, I applied this phrase to my own life, only not in love, but in-- well, life.

There have been more than a few times where experience has been my best teacher.

Professionally, I led a team of accountants not being a certified accountant myself. I’ve done my most impactful work in public health and health education, not having a Master’s of Public Health. And have had some of my most memorable roles on stage not having officially studied theater.

Not taking from those with more conventional journeys, but sometimes the most ideal candidate is the one with a non-traditional path. I encourage three-fold. Those who have found your dream in ways outside of the norm, congrats! It is often not an easy way when seemingly you are not the most likely candidate-- if even a consideration-- but you saw fit to push past doubt, inside and out. Stories like yours are remembered. The mechanic who decided to pursue singing. The stay-at-home mom who gave herself permission to get her degree. Hats off to you!

Next, I also encourage us all to embrace that our ideal may come in a nonstandard package. Our perfect employee, career path, or even mate might not be what you put on paper, but might be everything you need. No need in scrapping all your values, but look outside the box. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Last, to those who have been discouraged or hampered, because you don’t have the letters or the training or even the support of others, know that it’s not too late. I live by a phrase that says “If it’s in you to do, an outlet will be given for you to do it.” What that means to me is that seedling that lives in your heart—that passion to sew, or dance, or rap, or whatever—was given to you and you for a reason. If you give that seed space to grow, it shall grow. Nurture it, no matter what anybody, any application, or any judge's panel tell you.

When you bring experience, you bring something that no one can take from you. You bring the truest form of you.

Auditions, interviews, evaluations—all mean nothing until a person becomes involved. You are the one.

“It takes someone like me to know…”

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