by Dr. David Kubes
When I started my career as a lawyer, individuality was nothing you would aim for: the definition of what a good lawyer has to be and do were solid and in place for a very long time. The way was clearly marked and there was no doubt of what has to be done.
Without practice you will not get a job later on. While everybody else was working in law firms and legal departments during the summer or in part-time student jobs, I found this amazing job at the Vienna International Airport. Austrian Airlines was hiring students for passenger handling and boarding during peak seasons. I loved this job! I could practice all my foreign languages, met people from all over the world, and after 6 months of working there I was eligible to the airline employees travel policy: I could apply for stand-by tickets at a 90% discount.
While my colleagues where sitting in offices on the weekends, I worked at the airport or visited other countries: karaoke night in Singapore, dinner in Paris, New Year’s Eve in Sydney – I travelled the world using my airline discount tickets.
The judgements of everyone around me were intense. I was called short sighted, wasting my talents, not building up towards my future career. The bottom line was everyone though, “you are throwing away your long-term future for short term fun – how stupid!” Whereas my point of view was quite different, I loved airplanes and travelling so much that I wanted to enjoy it as much as possible, before the gray lawyers routine was about to begin.
When I graduated from law school, I was not ready to leave the airline world, so I applied for a PHD program to extend my “students’ life” for another 2 years. I started working on my dissertation in Aviation Law.
When I finally became a Doctor of law I was still working at the airport and knew that it was now time to leave. And there I was – no experience at all, not one foot ever set into a law firm or legal department, a “check-in agent” with a doctor’s degree – what a misplace! Even at the airport I was a running gag! I started doubting myself, I started thinking that now I would have to “pay” the bill for all the “mistakes” I made; I should have done what the others did, I should have done normal, appropriate, and been more target oriented. And now, it was too late.
The day I finally quit my job at the airport I was not only sad to quit my job, but I had no idea what to do next. Until the next morning. At 10:30am I received a phone call from the law firm representing the airport and major airlines in Austria. They heard about my experience and my dissertation and offered me a job. Six months later I joined the CEO of a big airline to travel to Seattle and Washington to negotiate the terms of new aircraft lease agreements, and became specialist in aircraft financing – still travelling around the world; but this time no stand-by anymore – now with confirmed bookings in business class.
At the age of 28 I opened my own law firm, and today I shamelessly do what is really fun and joyful for me.
So, why am I telling this story instead of giving you a list of 6 things to make you more individual? Because there is nothing you can add from the outside. There is nothing you can take from others. There is no advice to listen to. I am telling this story to inspire you to believe more in yourself, to trust what you know and to follow your instincts, your passion and what brings you joy; especially when it comes to work and career!
The world is too diverse and different to be “normal.” If you truly want to have success in your business you have no other choice than following what you know. It might be intense and uncomfortable once in a while, but I can guarantee that it is worth it. Just give up the idea that there is anything out there that you could add or follow.
There are no 6 ways to become something, there is only one way to be it: be yourself. Enjoy yourself and trust your decisions. And for those of you who desperately need this list of 6 things to do, here they are:
- Be you, but don’t prove that you are being you
- Enjoy what already is unique about you – don’t try to become somebody else
- Don’t copy from others – learn from them
- Never listen to judgments or opinions of others – follow what you know
- Never justify your choices – nobody will understand you anyway
- Always move forward – never look back
Being more of that “your way,” judging yourself less for being different and seeking less from the outside, will allow you to be the uniqueness you are and will for sure turn your business into something unique, something with a very special twist: “you.”
Dr. David Kubes is an international lawyer, avid entrepreneur, consultant, coach and certified facilitator of several Access Consciousness® specialty programs, including Right Riches for You. He specializes in aviation law, finance and international project management. A savvy entrepreneur, he owns several companies and through his legal work, dealings and negotiatiions with different cultures and in different languages, Kubes has required a wide range of awareness and coaching.