Wants vs Needs: It’s All About Curiosity

portrait of Susie Pan
Susie Pan is a leader of many talents, a product manager, a scout, a coach and currently an On Deck Fellow. Susie chats about shifting one’s mindset and gifts us her newfound equation to joy. Understanding why rules exist, discovering her gift of being curious, and the importance of constantly redefining her “normal” has opened up unexpected career opportunities. If you’re looking for career guidance and motivation, let Susie take the lead.

What to consider when you shift from a start-up to a larger company

  1. The most significant learning that you’ll receive when working at a larger company is how complex decision-making is. You’ll understand why the hierarchies you have to go through to make a change are in place. Internally, you have to know who your blocker is and how approvals get made. This can be hard sometimes, which is vital to find a champion within an organization that can help you navigate the system and understand people’s structure.
  2. In large companies, every action has consequences. There is room for error in certain start-ups, but in large organizations like RBC, your actions will affect thousands of people. This is why it’s crucial to understand why rules exist and are set in place before you decide what rules you want and can break and the reasons behind your decision. 
  3. Transitioning from working at a 20 person start-up to an 80,000 person company can be a big and confusing leap. At first, you may not understand why there’s a need to fill out many forms for everything you do. Still, it starts to make sense when you understand that working at a company like RBC, as Susie did, you’re responsible for the banking of a third of Canadians and have access to all their data. By implementing forms, and processes you’re organizing a structure for their data to be secured.

Insight on how a coach can support you 

  1. Coaching is often misunderstood. Essentially a coach guides you and helps you figure out what you need. They act as mirrors and ask you deep meaningful questions, to help you gain clarity on what your next steps should be.
  2. A coach is essential for young graduates, young professionals, people trying to figure out what they’re doing, and those trying to transition into a new industry and sector. You can only do so much journaling and introspection when trying to find your path, so having another person to listen to you and guide you in the process to find opportunities and tools to reach your goals is crucial.
  3. To benefit from coaching you must be open to feedback. When someone is offering philosophies to apply to your life and career it is the tool you need to overcome stubborn habits that might hinder your progress, and provide the motivation and direction for you to pursue your goals. Always stay open-minded and eager to unlearn your ways.

Tips on exercising curiosity and holding space for others

  1. Stay curious by asking a lot of questions, this action gives you the space to think about different situations and arrive at various conclusions. Don’t only leave questions for others, but also take the time to stay curious about yourself. Curiosity is everywhere, you have to stay open to it because it can benefit you in the long run.
  2. Ask yourself what is important to you versus what you think is essential. Be honest. Probe yourself into understanding why you value certain things and opinions. Research what others are doing, and learn from them too.
  3. Lastly, ask questions that create a space for you to become a better listener if you’re trying to become a coach. There are tons of frameworks out there, but you need to find what works best for you. Be intentional about learning how to listen better to what people say and how they say it. Learn how to hold space for people actively.