The first month of Praxis is focused on defining a personal brand and fine tuning the skills that you bring to the table. These skills are not revolutionary, but they’re true. I believe every person can put their own spin on ordinary traits and I have made these skills my own throughout my life so far.
Writing and Communication
Writing is the backbone of communication. Conveying ideas, strategies, and points of view effectively is something everyone should strive to refine.
While studying creative writing I’ve learned the importance of clarity and tone. These factors are important in any form of the written word. Emails, articles, sale techniques, etc.
The essay portion of my successful Praxis application is a decent example of when communicating an idea effectively was beneficial. I was able to tell relevant parts of my story and pitch myself successfully because of the years I’ve spent writing and learning the craft.
Writing has also made me a better verbal communicator. I exercise my communication muscles regularly working at Safeway with customers by ensuring they understand any practices or procedures we have. When a customer was confused by the coupon app Safeway provides, I showed them how to apply the deals and check which phone number is attached to the account, helping them to walk away satisfied with their experience.
Stories bring people together. I’ve witnessed and executed this at writing conferences I’ve attended over the years, day to day life, and online. This skill is invaluable within any position. It has the power to form beneficial relations and grow companies to a new level.
I’ve worked with professional editors to refine my own work, as well as provided editing suggestions to others. This means being able to convey an idea clearly and constructively without maiming someone’s joy for the project.
Going through the stages of publication with my short story last year proved to myself and others that I can see a project to the end. From idea, to outline, to first draft, revisions, editing, and final product. I saw it through to completion over the course of six months and met every deadline with time to spare.
My story is included in this anthology.
The most versatile skill writing has taught me is to consider different perspectives and approach each encounter with a goal of understanding. This is useful with customers, co-workers, and friends. Writing and communication each require a desire for clarity.
I’ve cultivated a constant hunger for putting in my best effort in everything I do.
My first job outside of my family’s business was working evenings every weekday cleaning, organizing, and stocking bins with merchandise that would be sent out to schools and set up as displays.
I was fourteen, and my future boss was not convinced I could put in the work. I proved to him I was more than capable by not only getting the work done but doing it so effectively he no longer needed another worker in the warehouse to complete the job. Staying to help load the van, sweeping out the warehouse unprompted, filling the bins with speed and accuracy, walking there and back everyday rain or shine and being on time, are all ways I proved my value.
I’ve applied this mindset to every position I’ve held; to meet or exceed expectations.
I completed over a year of equestrian training, and it takes a lot of drive to work with a 1,200-pound animal. It takes a good amount of determination to form that partnership and maintain control under adverse circumstances. I earned a great deal of grit and drive throughout my training and it translates into my work ethic.
If you have the drive, you need resilience.
Ambition comes with the risks of failing, and life itself comes with its own set of stumbling blocks. After discovering I needed over eight months of vision therapy, I didn’t balk. I completed each exercise without delay, two times a week, an hour or more.
When I applied to Praxis for the first time—sooner then I planned— I was seventeen and I was disheartened when I didn’t get in. My uncertainty and fear of moving, along with the lack of evidence that I could deliver all I was offering, is what I believe contributed to their decision.
I turned it into a challenge. I grew in every area that was lacking and made it a mission to not only improve, but to enjoy every second of the journey. I stretched myself past my comfort levels. I applied again one year later, and because I put in the work and didn’t let discouragement trip me, I’m here completing this deliverable today. Every obstacle is an opportunity for growth.
When I applied for a courtesy clerk position at Safeway and the hiring manager decided to hire me as a cashier instead, I was intimidated. But I accepted.
A few weeks in I thought I’d made a huge mistake. My resilience and faith reminded me to hold firm and I did. By reframing the situation into yet another challenge, I was able to push through and continue to perform with the standards I hold myself to.
I get back up when I’m down and I don’t let difficult circumstances determine my outcome. These skills are jumping off points that I will be expanding and refining my entire career. I’m excited to look back and think, “Wow. I’ve come a long way.” Again, and again.