The Only One Left


In college, I was a photographer on the yearbook staff and our office was a place to “hang out” between classes.  We’d work on the yearbook, study and socialize.

One day in my senior years (yes, plural), my friends were all sharing stories about one particular professor from the College of Business.  After a number of these stories, I commented, “Well, I guess I’m the only one in engineering.”

My friend Lee Moore promptly (and correctly) pointed out, “No, you’re the only one LEFT in engineering.” 

Lee was right.  A number of my friends had started in engineering and found it was not to their liking.  For whatever reason, they made a change that suited them better.

Being the only one left can be good or bad, depending on the situation and your perspective.  However, the big lesson I took from this was just how many people start down a path that changes as they learn.

Several of my friends had made major changes to their life and career plans while in college.  And they had the guts to change course when the original plan was not to their benefit or liking.

Why do people change paths?  Perhaps they want a path that is more interesting. Maybe they seek a path that is not as difficult or one that adds a better challenge.  Perhaps the path they started was only at the direction of others and not their true passion.  It may be that the path was not what it was expected to be.

But the path can change.  If something is not working for you, what will you do about it?

Improving your communication skills is about change as well.  If something is working, learn more, practice, improve.  If things are not working, make a change.  Don’t keep doing something that does not work.  That is just a waste of time and energy.

Of course, to know what to change and what to improve, you must also focus on listening, observing and even asking others how you are doing.  This is the step that many people skip or struggle to take.  So here is a tip:  Instead of focusing on being right, focus on being better.

Adapt, change, learn, improve.

And if you find you are the only one left, realize that does not mean your path is wrong.  Maybe your path just suits you.  Mine did.


About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.