“To succeed on your own, you’ll need to drop the passive mindset you learned in school and adopt an active one instead. School taught you that learning came from sit-down-and-listen consumption. The philosophy: Go to class. Listen to the teacher. Repeat what they say on the test. That’s nonsense.
The truth is learning is a messy process. Wisdom is earned through action, and consumption is only the first step. You have to build too.” David Perrel
I’ve coached many analysts who approached their work in the same way that we’re taught to approach school. Listen to the teacher. Answer the question. Advance.
After all, analysts are typically folks who were the very best at this passive system - getting good grades and acing tests!
And it’s always the same trance from which folks need to wake up.
Being an analyst means thinking critically about the business. It means forming your own opinions, recommendations, and pursuing them - no matter what anyone else in the organization says or expects.
I’ll share with you a few mindset shifts that really helped me.
- Unlike with school and teachers, your managers do not have the answers. I promise. If you're willing to put in the work, there's no reason why anyone is more capable than you to understand your business. Most of what we do in the business world is not that hard. I don’t intend to downplay some of the challenging questions we all grapple with at work - every business is complex in its own way. And building a business is hard work 😅. However, what’s important is knowing that you are capable of understanding any business just as well as anyone else - so long as you’re willing to put in the work.
- Don’t passively wait for interesting projects to arrive on your desk. Actively find them. One easy hack I used to start this shift early in my career - I maintained a list of every unanswered question I’d overhear in meetings, calls, lunch, etc. The more I heard the question, the higher signal it was important to answer. Then go answer the question (or solve the problem) without being asked to do so.
- Approach every analysis as if you’re the CEO - you’re the one ultimately making the decision and accountable for the results. This is a forcing function to make you gather all the information necessary, to consider every alternative, and to remain unbiased. Take extreme ownership over the results.
As I developed and practiced these mindsets, I found that I was given significantly more responsibility and resources. And I think it’s because the more that you demonstrate that you can find opportunities and solve problems the more folks will say - “hey, let’s give that person more resources!” In doing so, you act for the job you want, not the one you have. 🚀Image credit: https://www.oldbookillustrations.com/illustrations/canto-seven/