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Polished: A Young Professional's Guide for Success

Polished: A Young Professional's Guide for Success

by Jr. Calvin Purnell
Polished: A Young Professional's Guide for Success

Polished: A Young Professional's Guide for Success

by Jr. Calvin Purnell


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Mentors are a huge part of the success of many people. They offer real life information that schools often don't teach when it comes to building your career.

Polished is that - a mentor in a book that gives young professionals advice through the author's past experiences, advice given to him, and observations of others' success stories. The lessons learned are provided for the readers to give them information to carry as they begin walking down the path of their career.

It's like a message in a bottle giving tips on professional conduct, dressing, networking, and many other facets that lead to your professional success no matter your career choice. The information provided will guide you toward success if you work in a fast food restaurant or working your way up the corporate ladder.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504352659
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication date: 03/28/2016
Pages: 116
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.28(d)

Read an Excerpt


A Young Professional's Guide for Success

By Calvin Purnell Jr.

Balboa Press

Copyright © 2016 Calvin Purnell, Jr.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5043-5265-9



I haven't designed this book to brag about my success. I want it to demonstrate the path I've taken to achievement, using my God-designed formula. Each of us has a success formula. With every accomplishment comes some form of struggle and occasional failure. Much of it comes from self-destruction or disruption in the process created for us. At times we put our hands in places they need not be, especially when God is working out His plan for our lives. Impatient, we think we can make people move in ways to give us what we want when only God can actually move those individuals so things can work out in our favor.

When we interfere with God's process, we often sabotage His work and efforts because we think we can do it better, which brings on those struggles and failures that fortunately provide lessons to apply to challenges that come later in life. The key component is paying attention to those teachings so you can teach others who are coming up the success ladder by paying it forward.

This concept, paying it forward, is something that everyone should adapt and apply to his or her life. Everyone needs some form of guidance and help along the way. If people tell you they did it all themselves, don't believe them. At some point in their lives, someone has taught them a lesson that helped them get to where they are now, whether it was a "Yes, I will help you" or a "No, I won't assist you."

Think back to a time when you started looking for a job or you were the new guy in the company. You needed someone to give you a chance so you could get your feet wet. Or you needed a task to complete to establish your presence in the organization so you could begin to earn others' trust and they could see that you knew what you were doing. Once that confidence is established, others will probably give you opportunities to proceed with your duties.

People need to give chances to those who are trying to establish themselves in their new positions. Everyone has to start as a new person someplace. We don't hit the ground running. Not everyone is aggressive about making others respect him or her and giving him or her a chance. Be the difference. Be the one who lends a helping hand to a new person coming on board. You were once a new employee in an organization and you will probably be one again at some point in your career.

Being a new employee can be a not-so-easy task for people. Don't be part of the standard. Just because everyone else on your team does not give new people a chance doesn't mean you have to follow suit. Be the leader. Take a risk, and give people guidance and direction. Someone was nice enough to give you an opportunity at some point. We need to be more encouraging to one another rather than discouraging.

On the flip side, being told no helps those who know how to accept no as an answer. No simply means "not now." It also means the person isn't the right individual to assist you. The word "no" helps you move someone out of your way so you can get to the right person.

For some, no is a showstopper. They take it to mean that it can't be done at all. If you have a God-given vision for something in your life, only you yourself can stop it. God gives us the vision and blueprint to perform the actions needed to bring forth what He has for us. If you do not follow the design, you cannot blame anyone but yourself. The right people will be there for you once the time is right. See the vision through. Make your connections. Build your relationships and, most importantly, share. Do not be the person with your hand out all the time. People will remember that about you. Success is not a hobby. It's a lifestyle.

When I was a child, my dad always talked to me about starting my own business. In that business, he wanted a do-nothing office in the building. He would say, "When people ask you what that office is for, you will say, 'That's my dad's do-nothing office.' When they ask you what I do in there, you will say, 'Nothing.'"

I haven't started my own business just yet, and I'm not sure that I will. But if I do, I will definitely get my dad his do-nothing office.

Over the years I've created an invisible council that I occasionally tap into to guide me along the way. Some might think it is a bit crazy, weird, or stupid. I, on the other hand, consider it simply genius. I call my invisible council "my board of directors." It includes the Holy Trinity, Glover (Pop), Jessie (Mom), Riddick (my grandparents), Upsher Purnell (my pop -pop), Napoleon Hill, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Eckhart Tolle. Each directs me in different areas of my life via books they have written and lectures they have given. I use their past and present teachings to guide me in decisions I need to make. They provide clarity in circumstances and situations I come across, and they simply act as a helping hand. I also tap into my "other self," as Napoleon Hill calls it.

If you don't have an invisible council, I suggest you start building one of those who have been successful in life and once walked your path, which may not be exact but similar. They have left directions and clues as to how you too can become successful. But it's up to you to do the research.



Growing up my parents provided me with nuggets to carry throughout life. Sometimes I felt like a record was on repeat. As I began experiencing life, I realized my mom and dad was setting me up for success with their words of wisdom. Being young and inexperienced, I thought they didn't know anything, especially when it came to matters of the heart. As the years passed and to date I would hear my parents' voices telling me the following truths I needed as I venture down my life's path.

• Believe in God.

• Say your prayers and have faith that God will provide.

• Choose your friends wisely.

• Not everyone who smiles at you is your friend.

• Everyone who offers you advice is not your friend.

• If you're not certain about something, ask questions.

• Be a leader, not a jerk.

• Nothing is beneath a leader.

• Never look down your nose at people.

• Think before making decisions and speaking.

• Learn from your mistakes as well as from other people's errors.

• Always have more than one way to make money, but stick to your original plan.

• Don't wear your heart on your sleeve.

• If you get your house in order, everything else will come in line.

• Surround yourself with people of like minds but different sets of wisdom.

• Engage with people who are smarter than you are. You just might learn something.

• Use your head for something besides a hat rack.

• Never settle for less than what you already have unless the Spirit leads you to take a few steps backward to get a few steps forward.

• Not every lesson is given to you once. Often those same lessons will be repeated.



Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1. Who am I?

2. Who am I when no one is watching?

3. What do I stand for?

4. What are my life's passions?

5. What do I believe in?

6. Who do I surround myself with?

7. How do I handle failure?

8. How do I handle victory?

Here are my answers at this point in my life to those questions:

1. I am Calvin Purnell Jr., a man who tries his best to honor God and help others along the way.

2. I am a thinker and a big-time mirror dancer, and I am working on creating a better me.

3. I stand for awareness and mindfulness.

4. I am passionate about motivating others and myself.

5. I believe in God and myself. I trust that He has my best interests at heart.

6. I surround myself with winners in life.

7. I receive the lessons of failure and find the blessings within them.

8. I am sometimes humble and arrogant when I am the victor. (I am trying to make that a full-time humility practice, but I'm still human, so I have work to do.)

Notice that I began the answers with "I am" or "I." Once you do that, you speak your intention into existence and give it life. This allows the universe to start sending it your way. The Bible says, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit" (Prov. 18:21) (NIV). We are only speaking life, so be careful with your words.

Let's get back to character. The above questions are a good place to start when you are strengthening your character. I say "strengthening" because, at this point in your life, you should have started developing your character. You develop character through social activity and your interactions with others. It is also developed when no one is watching, or so you think. Remember that someone is always observing.

By design, we all have character, including those flaws within. There's no getting around that. Once you discover who you are, you begin to strengthen your character and awaken to your flaws. You can try to fix those faults, especially those that affect others and yourself negatively. But most importantly you should fix them to strengthen your character.

Understanding who you are is key. You don't want anyone else to define who you are. You should do it yourself. Welcome yourself to the world and say, "This is who I am but am not limited to."

Not restricting yourself is important. It shows that you are not limiting yourself to who you are, and that's that. Who you are changes as you grow. For example, you change because your thoughts, lifestyle, and beliefs adapt. You get the picture. When I was about twenty-two or twenty-three years old, I was so immature, thinking I had my life all mapped out until my circumstances and priorities changed. I figured I knew who I was, and I was proud to beat my chest and say, "This is who I am. Take it or leave it." I was so undeveloped.

Circumstances and priorities change. Therefore, you adapt. Your character and your flaws transform. Maybe I should say that you are awakened to your flaws that have not been exposed until now.

Take time for yourself multiple times a week to learn who you are and how your heart and mind are wired. Those moments are precious and vital for you. It gives you the opportunity to study how your life affects others and how to build self-worth. Time alone also gives you the interval to understand how you impact yourself. Yes, yourself. We can be a detriment to ourselves if we don't take control. You have to look out for your own well-being, mind, heart, body, and soul.

Mike Zimmerman wrote an article, "Ties That Bind," in Success Magazine on Denzel Washington. A phrase that Denzel used — and I quoted below — stuck with me and hit home due to how I carry myself. "I don't take myself seriously, but I take my work seriously." Mike Zimmerman says, "That's how Denzel describes his relationship with himself" (November 2012). I got from that quote that he's humbled by life's experiences and has fun in his personal life and just goes with it. On the professional side of his life, he ensures he handles his business in a professional manner at all times.

Within your character comes an ego. Everyone has one. Remember that, if your ego is too big, it kills your talent. Be humble as it shows others that you care and you've been through something in life that slowed you down to give you time to think about your actions before causing reactions.

People will remember you for your compassion toward yourself and others. Then you have those who have the character trait of saving themselves first and placing the blame on others. Throwing people under the bus to save yourself when you are wrong makes you wrong as well. People will look at that and judge your character based on that incident.

In a work environment, each person should come together to resolve all conflicts. If it is a simple issue of not liking someone, simply put your feelings to the side and work together. That's your purpose for being at work, simply to work. No one is there to make friends. Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with making friends at work. The bottom line is to produce for your organization as a whole.

People might not like you for a number of reasons, which might have nothing to do with work at all. They could be personal even though you never did anything to them. For example:

1. It could be the color of your skin.

2. Maybe you replaced their friend in the position you currently hold.

3. They might think you aren't a good fit for the job.

4. Or you filled the position they really wanted.

The reasons vary. What you need to know is that it's none of your business why a person dislikes you. Do your job to the best of your ability and with integrity, professionalism, and the highest level of quality. All should be your main objective. If you encounter issues in the workplace, make sure to keep a paper trail of your conversations and discussions by putting things in writing. It may come in handy later, especially if you find yourself in a "he-said/she-said" situation.

If you are wrong, have some dignity about yourself. Own your mistakes as you would your successes. Being able to admit your wrongs will always gain you respect from others. People will respect and trust your word. And without respect and trust, your relationships will never grow.

Always display good character. When starting a new job, don't be that guy who tries to become too familiar too soon, the one who thinks he or she knows it all when he or she has a lot to learn about the culture of the new team and organization he or she has joined.

Take your time to get to know people. Don't throw yourself at others and force your personality on them. If you do, most of your colleagues will not like you for that very reason. Sit back and assess your new environment. Focus on learning your new role. Get an understanding of who does what in the organization. Find out who can get you answers to the questions you have. Get an understanding of the inner workings of the teams and find out how you can add value to them. You were brought on because you impressed the hiring manager. Don't make that person regret adding you to the team.

Invest in yourself and take some courses in professionalism. Or find a mentor to help groom these specific skills. There are plenty of resources — articles, books, seminars, and people — who are willing to help you grow. Research and reach out to them. You can contact me if you like. I would be willing to help you develop. And once you feel comfortable enough, make sure you #payitforward and help someone else transform. We all need a helping hand.



Take pride in your appearance. Figure out your signature look and own it! Get yourself measured so you can purchase clothes that fit you properly. If you need something altered, go to a great tailor to get stitched up.

I built a relationship with Steve of Steve's Olde City Tailoring and Dry Cleaning in Philadelphia. Steve is an expert at his craft. I purchase off-the-rack suits, and he makes them look like they were made specifically for me. For example, Steve taught me, when getting your slacks hemmed, always ask for a blind stitch as it keeps the hem line invisible. Trust me. It truly makes a difference.

I enjoy getting dressed every day. Even on the days I don't feel like it, I make sure I'm fresh. I'm not bragging. I just take pride in my appearance. You never know who you will meet, your next employer, a new business associate, or your next boyfriend or girlfriend. Always be ready. Take the time to prepare yourself before walking out of your home. Make sure your hair is styled the way you like it and your nails are trimmed and cleaned. Ladies, if wearing makeup is a part of your look, ensure it's applied properly. If you wear lipstick, verify it's not smeared on your teeth. Some people will let you walk around and talk to others without informing you of your mishap.

Check your shoes for dirt, dust, and residue from spills. Take a cloth to remove any stains that might exist. If you don't get your shoes shined, polish them yourself. A polished/shined shoe will set you apart from the rookies who think they are making some noise with those run-down shoes and blended fabric suits.

Speaking of suits, stick with wool. Polyester rayon blends are a no-go because they look cheap. If you're unfamiliar with the differences in fabrics, find an image consultant to get an understanding of the different types of blends. My friend Brian Lipstein, owner of Henry A. Davidsen Master Tailors & Image Consultants in Philadelphia, has a great service that he offers to assist men in getting their image perfected. Visit his website at Brian takes the time to understand what you like and what you are looking for when it comes to your clothing. He wants to make sure you are putting your money in the right place when purchasing from him.


Excerpted from Polished by Calvin Purnell Jr.. Copyright © 2016 Calvin Purnell, Jr.. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgements, ix,
Introduction, xi,
Chapter 1 The Understanding, 1,
Chapter 2 Some Things My Parents Taught Me, 5,
Chapter 3 Character, 7,
Chapter 4 Appearance, 13,
Chapter 5 If You Become a Consultant, 24,
Chapter 6 Keep It Clean, 28,
Chapter 7 Mentors, 31,
Chapter 8 Building Relationships: Networking, 34,
Chapter 9 Speaking, 43,
Chapter 10 Diversity, 50,
Chapter 11 Work-Related Travel, 55,
Chapter 12 Study Your Environment, 58,
Chapter 13 Desire, 60,
Chapter 14 Focus, 66,
Chapter 15 Playing the Game, 71,
Chapter 16 Spirituality, 76,
Chapter 17 Self: My Notes To You, 79,
Chapter 18 Some Books I've Read, 89,
Chapter 19 A Few Pieces About Me, 96,
References, 103,

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