Comment ça va?

Recently, I started exploring how having dusted off my degrees in French and biology led to some very interesting reminders about being smart in business.

If you remember, I’m getting my “ear” back in shape by listening to a native French YouTuber whose channel is called “Dirty Biology.” The mere fact that I knew to subscribe to it is a direct result of applying lesson number 4.

Know what you want (or need) to find out.

I knew I didn’t want French lessons; I wanted French listening practice. And the best way to do that is to listen to native French speakers as much as practicable. That’s why my search was so tightly focused on “French YouTubers.” I didn’t want somebody slowing things down for the foreigner; I wanted someone speaking to their native audience in their native tongue. And that’s just what I got.

Be open to more than one way of accomplishing the goal.

This is actually different than what I’d originally intended to write about. That’s because a friend of mine, Jeri Hird Dutcher of Work Write Resumes, suggested I listen to news in “slow French,” which is just what it sounds like.

I told her I thought the more natural speed would help me more, and she pointed out I could use the slow French as a “warm-up round.” DUH!! That’s so obvious – now that someone else has pointed it out to me.

This was a great reminder not to get caught up in “either/or” thinking, but rather to look at ways to accomplish the goal from a “both/and” perspective. (Thanks, Jeri!)

Make sure your “Why” is energizing.

All of this would be sheer drudgery if it weren’t for the fact that I love French, I love biology, and I’m totally pumped about traveling to France next year.

In other words, the reason why I’m doing this is exciting and powerful enough to carry me through the inevitable frustration when I don’t catch everything the speaker says, or when I feel compelled to stop the video and get the translation of a particular word.

It’s the same in business. If you get sucked into doing things because someone else says you should, rather than because they’re intrinsically exciting or satisfying activities, you’re going to have a much harder time staying the course. And life is too short to make things harder than they have to be.


What’s been your experience in figuring out the best way to get from Point A to Point B? What hard-learned lessons would you share with your younger self? Please share below so the rest of us can take advantage of them, too!

(BTW, thanks to Pedro Szekely for posting the image of la Tour Eiffel in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)

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