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Passion, optimism and humour: 5 tips to building a career you’ll love

For ambitious young talent, it's important to remember that hard work, passion and kindness go a long way

Tom Beahon build career illustration

Before I co-founded Castore, I had one ‘real’ job, which was in finance. I am not naturally a numbers person, but I did make a point of being the first to arrive in the office every day and doing my best at whatever task I was given. Despite my lack of obvious talent, senior people appreciated my approach to work and would give me advice on where I could improve.

Given that many readers of this article will be leaders working with people at the start of the careers in their teams, I want to share the key aspects of what I learnt and hope some people will find these points worth sharing with their most ambitious young colleagues.

No substitute for hard work

When I look at people who have risen to leadership positions, the common theme is their work ethic. They generally work harder, sweat the details and care more than anyone else. This is not just true in business but in any walk of life. If you want to be really good, you must be willing to work very hard. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

Passion is key to everything

The only way you’ll be capable of dealing with the inevitable setbacks that come with any significant endeavour is if you are truly passionate about what you are doing. I love sports and thrive on the competitiveness, intellect and resilience required to build a global brand, so running Castore isn’t work for me. Before you do anything else, find your passion. After that, everything becomes a lot easier.

You either win or you learn

At the start of your career, many things are out of your control and you’re unlikely to find your perfect job at the first attempt. Rather than letting setbacks get you down, use them as opportunities to refine your approach and learn what your strengths and weaknesses are.

The one thing you can always control is your attitude. When you wake up every morning you have a decision to make: are you going to coast through the day, or will you be a positive influence on those around you? Having a good attitude every day will get you further than any technical skill or talent.

Be entrepreneurial

Anyone working within a company at any level can have an entrepreneurial mindset. If you want to get ahead, having one will undoubtedly accelerate your progress.

Take the initiative: make a process more efficient or do something that improves a customer experience. Constantly challenge yourself and others to think and do things differently for your company. Don’t expect to get noticed straight away but persist and you’ll get more responsibility and opportunities.

As a founder, my favourite people are those who bring me solutions and new ideas.

Kindness is a superpower

The best advice is often the simplest and always treating people with respect is a lesson I learnt very early. There’s not only a practical benefit to this – you never know when you’ll be dealing with people again – but a personal one.

It makes work a lot more enjoyable if you’re kind and caring towards colleagues whether they’re above or below you in the hierarchy. Courtesy costs nothing and smiling every day goes a very long way in business and life.

Tom Beahon is the co-founder and chief executive of the sportswear brand Castore

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