1. Your name matters. Before you represent a company or a boss or a team - first and foremost you represent yourself. It is your name at the end of that email or at the beginning of that phone call that you use - your reputation will be your strongest asset in the future. Make time to create a name for yourself that is aligned with your values, ethics, and legacy you want to leave behind. Here is a helpful article on building a personal brand.
2. Surround yourself with the right people. Mentors, coaches, advisors, friends, bosses, colleagues - all of these will help you get better if you are willing to see the opportunities and be willing to learn and listen and grow from what you learn. Constructive criticism is a privilege so listen and process and apply as needed. If someone is willing to spend time giving you feedback in a constructive way - they care - listen. Next, it is better to be alone than in bad company - you will learn that the hard way perhaps - and that is part of growing - you might spend time with people who don’t add any value to your life and who drag you down but with time you will create a strong filter which you will use to your advantage when it comes to choosing who you spend time with. Energy is contagious - surround yourself with inspiring, positive, optimistic, and future focused energy. With that being said - make sure you work on yourself continuously to bring that same energy that attracts people to you - in order to be around a great circle of influence you need to be a person who can add value as well.
3. Work hard no matter what - there will come a time when you will struggle to perhaps monetize or get work that pays well - you will feel life is not fair and you will want to look at those around you and wonder why they get it so easy while you struggle. But, again it is not your business. You just do you. Everyone has their own path. Always do your best - find opportunities even if those are volunteer or project or temporary - that is still work! It is better to work and do something while you search for that dream job than not do anything but searching. Doing will always beat just thinking, or searching, or planning. Do as much as you can, as early as you can in your life. Experience will always beat education and talent that is not working.
4. Find a career you enjoy and feel passionate about. Opportunities are there - you have more at your disposal that you imagine to create opportunities for yourself. You will be influenced by society to take the well paying or ‘good’ jobs with good reputations, etc. and none of it will matter if you don’t enjoy your work. Today, I speak with many very successful - according to society - people - aka wealthy, big titles individuals - that are completely unsatisfied with their lives and their jobs drain them!). There is also something to be said about the fact that over 70% of the workforce are miserable (for the lack of a better word) in their jobs - and want to change but don’t do it for various reasons (most of them are excuses or fears that are simply not good enough to use as excuses). Check out this read about 'why work is boring' and what you can do about it. Imagine the kind of toll your health takes when you show up and work for 8-10 hours each day doing a job that drains you and makes you overall unhappy? Then ask yourself - is that how you want to spend your time? Change careers when needed and as often as needed, as long as you are moving forward and in a positive way that is all that matters - try new things - otherwise you will never know what you don’t know. You will never know what you are capable of unless you give yourself a chance to do something challenging, different and scary/exciting! Expose yourself to different types of opportunities - talk to people you normally wouldn’t talk to. There is so much to be learned and so much you have yet to know. This norm that work is just to make money is dead - the world is full opportunities and there are many ways to make money - including doing something you truly enjoy and are good at. Check out this read about why work is boring.
I will leave this point with a quote that I truly believe and live by. Those who know me - know this to be true.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” — Steve Jobs
5. Stay curious and stay hungry for growth. Do things that are different, something you normally would not do. For example, you might not be a fan of the fine arts – but go to an art show just to expand your mind – you are also likely to meet people that are very different from your normal crowd which also helps with expanding your mindset and seeing new perspectives. Try new things continuously. Do not get comfortable. Not much happens in the comfort zone and there is so much to explore, live, experience, and enjoy! Please, please always maintain your curiosity. It will create opportunities, open doors professionally and personally beyond measures.
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“Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.” — Chris Grosser