Here I am, in the heart of the Albanians of America, Boston, Massachusetts, near “Vatra/The Hearth”, which has kept “Albanianism” alive, and where my great uncle, the nationalist Ibrahim Kulla, served as vice president. The personal can only strengthen the public.
In one of the best career centers in the USA, “Employer Engagement & Career Design” at Northeastern University, where I am working with innovative programs, resources, and tools in Campus Studio, Virtual Studio, and Coaching Labs that I am entrusted to lead.
I have started this journey with a tip from Chris Brogan, an executive-level strategist, key note speaker, and among the most recommended authors by the NYT (his eleventh book is in the oven). Since 2006, Brogan has chosen three words, which he explains as follows: “The three words are a shorthand representation of your bigger story. It’s kind of like an icon is not a software program. It’s just a way for you to mentally access all the work you’re doing.”
So, the idea behind this “little game” on words is to identify what triggers me when it comes to action. Should I say yes to a certain project? Does it align with my values and mission?
To get to my three words, I had to go through a deep process of reflection, for which I am deeply grateful to my wife, who is taking exemplary care of my son 7,126 km from here and inspiring me to do and get the best from this experience.
My three words for this journey are simplicity, focus, and intentionality. Let me tell you why.
From the American experience, I have learned that unnecessary complications must be put aside. In fact, most solutions are simple. And if the process/solution is too complicated, then someone involved in the process is probably complicating it. Of course, that could be me, so I will be mindful to keep things simple.
Simplicity will help me focus on implementing simple solutions. I will reduce distractions, eliminate being “busy,” and learn simple implementations with value and stability. I am aware that sometimes my “busyness” distracts me from focusing on the tasks I need to attend to. Usually, I want to do several things at once. I love reading, learning, teaching, writing, and my brain is like a pinball machine. I need to focus and ensure that I will do my best in the projects in which I will be engaged.
My intention is to work for the development of a more collaborative, innovative university environment where students develop themselves personally and professionally, based on values such as service and love for the country.
Last year, I approached most days with the confidence and optimism required to face any challenge, yet there were days when only my “why” kept me going and motivated for a better tomorrow. Knowing and pursuing a purpose is unparalleled spiritual nourishment. Its absence breeds lethargy and compromises efficiency, which no one would want for themselves or the team they lead.
Intentionality has helped me on my journey and continues to do so, and I think it will help you, dear reader, as well. I now have a clearer picture of how far I’ve come versus how far I still have to go.
Today, thanks to the support of this excellent fellowship program, I find myself supported by colleagues and partners who share the same ideals. I started this new journey with more opportunities to reflect and learn, and I will focus with simplicity and intentionality to put this knowledge and expertise at the service of the young people of my country.
Employer Engagement and Career Design
Northeastern University, Boston, MA
© Xhafer Rakipllari, MIP Internship Fellow 2023