I’m a dad. Before any other title or nomenclature, I claim that with the highest regard. Part of the journey as a young parent is figuring out how to take these monumentally complicated things and break them down to your 3 year old. Sometimes it’s by using things like Thomas the Tank Engine characters and others it can be by singing a song.
This weekend, I was holding our newest addition, a 1 month old little boy named Harry. I was trying to get him to sleep and was walking around the room searching for some new feature on the wall to study as I paced back and forth. After three kids, I can tell you every dimple, scratch, and missing speck of paint on our walls! This time, I found myself staring at a framed poster in his nursery. It is his piece of a larger work that all the kids share containing the lyrics to the Bob Dylan song, “Forever Young”. I’ve always thought the words summed up my feelings perfectly about what I hoped for my kids. But as I stared at it for the 100th time, I started thinking about us as Young Professionals. How as we grow up in this town, we shouldn’t lose sight of our hopes and youthful ideals. So, I wanted to examine some of the lyrics and show how they can be guiding principals as we navigate the course of making Spartanburg and ourselves the thing that we hope to be.
*I highly recommend that at this point, you find the song on Youtube or your phone and crank it up. It’s almost impossible for you not to tap your foot or dance with the slick harmonica and grooving organ in the first 10 seconds. I’ll wait while you do…..and you’re welcome. Now, on to the lyrics!*
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
The easy takeaway here is to be charitable and kind to others, which is without question important. Spartanburg has many opportunities for you to get involved with nonprofits that match your passions. But as Young Professionals, I think you can take a different approach. This can speak to your ability to network and find people who are on the same path as you. Use each other as resources to maximize your efforts. Immediate examples of YP led companies that are great for this are A-Line Interactive, Arrowhead Design Co., and Tallent’d Marketing. Not to mention, all of the opportunities with SYP for networking.
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
Goal setting should be the first step that you take when planning your career. Establish a baseline of what you want and expect from your job. Outline the rungs that you need to hit along the way to climb that ladder of success. Everyone’s ascent has a different pace and you may fall a few rungs before you climb back up, but the view from the top will be worth the effort.
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
What’s been great to see in our community is the overall acceptance to new ideas or philosophies. It’s easy to accept the stereotypes that surround us and ignore change. Spartanburg doesn’t follow the same rules and you can look at events like Upstate Pride, Black Excellence Community Gala, and the Women in Business Conference held by the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce as great examples.
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
As much as we talk about professional growth, we need to make sure that we’re taking care of our mental and personal health. These new challenges will continue to pop up and at times you will feel like you’re playing Whack-A-Mole with your emotions. No success comes without some error or modicum of stress. It happens and you need to have the foundation to stand strong. Great resources for this include books on Mindfulness, professional therapy, working out/yoga, or practicing whatever religion makes you happy.
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
This is my favorite one. You can ask my wife because, unfortunately for her and our kids, I do feel like I have a song to be sung and I like to sing it often. Lately it’s been Baby Beluga, but man do I hope that passes! Kidding aside, Spartanburg has so many great things for YPs to do and be joyful about. If you can’t find it, then start it. I have seen Young Professionals start events that begin as little gatherings in a parking lot and turn into behemoth events that raise major money for local charities (looking at you Cal Wicker and Hub City Hogfest who have raised over $300,000 for Mobile Meals in 6 years). If you are passionate, you can inspire others to be as well and you will find a band full of friends who want to play along.
The city of Spartanburg may have been incorporated in 1831, but it feels like we’re still in the Young Professional phase of our city’s growth. I hope that as we continue this rapid ascent into stardom that we remember to keep these key ideas in mind.
Hub City, may you stay forever young.