The Strongest Influencers On Your Career Path

As we grow into adults we discover everyone has a narrative — their own story comprised of personal battles, discoveries, successes and failures.

Here at Smart Savvy, we try to understand those stories in-depth so we can effectively understand and place our candidates. We ask the following of our candidates: “Please plot 6-8 key life/career developments that have helped shape you into the person you are today.” On one end of the timeline is ‘The day you were born,’ on the other end, ‘Today.’  9/10 people love it. In five years, we have only had one person struggle to the point of not being capable of completing it. 

So what have we learned from our candidates’ stories? The old adage “people are more alike than different” holds true when it comes to people’s personal stories. Here are the commonalities that stood out as consistent themes in one’s life (and career), supplemented by excerpts from individual’s answers:


1. Cross-Culture Experiences + Travel

What’s more humbling, entertaining, and possibly frustrating, then not even being able to ask for a glass of water or have small talk about the weather? Travel turns us on our heads in terms of what we know about language, culture, a dining experience, etc. It educates us in a way that no classroom ever could, both about ourselves and the world around us. 

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2. Post-Secondary Education

The whole university experience is an unforgettable one: all-nighters, varsity sports, finals, and walking the stage when it’s all done and over with. This is a time in life to simply learn; be the proverbial sponge; and figure out what your passions, strengths, and motivations are. 

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3. Performance + Achievements

Of course our successes are a fundamental part of our stories. Our first win in a hockey game, our first piano recital, a GPA of 4.0. How we respond to these wins truly shape how we respond to success and failure in the future. 

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4. Aha Moments + Adversity

“Humans naturally seek comfort and stability. Without an INCITING INCIDENT that disrupts their comfort, they won’t enter into a story. They have to get fired from their job … A ring has to be purchased. A home has to be sold. The character has to jump into the story, into the discomfort and the fear, otherwise the story will never happen.” – Donald Miller

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5. Relationships

Relationships and (especially) family, form a foundation from which we emerge.  Sometimes they catapult us forward and other times we need to invest time re-engineering some of  ‘fundamentals’ we need to shed.  Regardless – the family we share, and the relationships we build along life’s road,  are instrumental in shaping our beliefs and futures.

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