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Secrets of Success

Lessons from the New Kid in Class


When I was growing up our family moved–a lot.

 Twelve times in fifteen years to be exact.

Because of the timing of the moves, I was continually going to new schools.

I became a professional “new kid in class.”

It was perfect training for my work as an organizational consultant. I am at ease in situations where everyone knows everyone and I know no one.

 I can adapt and adjust to new environments with relative ease.

 What about you?

 How do you respond when you’re thrown into a new situation?

The lessons I learned as a new kid in class might prove useful.


 Lesson #1

There are more of “them” than there are of “you,” and they were there first.

I remember the feeling of walking into class.

Everyone would stare and whisper.

The teacher would introduce me and class would resume.

Everybody knew everybody and I knew nobody.

Think about the last time you joined anything–a new organization, a new committee, a new neighborhood, a new family.

Your ability to successfully fit into a new situation starts with the realization that you are the one who will need to adjust.

Are you the kind of person that walks into a new situation and starts “rearranging the desks?”

Do you tell other people what you used to do where you used to work or live? (How things were done in your “old school?”)

Those are quick ways to alienate others.


Lesson #2

Fit in or “die.”

I knew that the other kids in class were going to get along just fine whether I fit in or not.

If I didn’t learn how to get along with them, I was going to be the one left out.

Have you ever worked with someone who just won’t fit in?

Who insists on telling others what to do and how to do it?

Chances are they are the people others exclude or work around.

They are the ones whose careers go nowhere.

They are the ones who are asked to leave if business slows down.


 Lesson #3

Keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut.

I quickly realized that getting the lay of the land would take some time.

I was friendly but not overly familiar.

I waited to be asked to join in at recess.

I shared information about myself, but I mainly let the other kids talk.

Once I felt accepted, then I jumped in.

Timing, I learned, was everything.

I was in “Rome” so I needed to learn what the “Romans do” and the best way to do that was to watch and listen.

Its fine to be friendly but gaining acceptance takes time and patience.

It’s all about learning the rules and learning how to fit in.


Lesson #4

Don’t raise your hand too soon.

I was a straight A student in elementary school and scored extremely high on standardized tests.

Sometimes I would go to a new school and realize the material they were covering was something I had already learned in my previous school.

Though I knew the answers, I didn’t raise my hand for quite a while.

Going into a new situation telling people how much you know and what they are doing wrong is the fast track to nowhere.

Nothing will turn people off quite as fast as a know-it-all.


Being the new kid in class may be uncomfortable but it doesn’t have to be painful.

 Learning how to fit in and play well with others works in school– and in life.


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CTS Consulting, Inc

3126 Berkshire Road

Baltimore, Maryland 21214

phone 410-444-5857

cell 443-286-2488