It's graduation season and hard to believe that I graduated college seven years ago this month. Inspired by this article shared by close friend Michael, I thought it would be fun to share with you 10 things I wish I knew when I graduated college:
1. Stay around inspiring people I've heard there are two kinds of people: those who inspire you and those who drain you. I've found that to be true in my life. It's important to stay around people who inspire you and not waste your time with people who manipulate you or drain you or that you find out you can't trust.
2. Work with good people Sometimes it's tempting to work because of money, power, fame, or job security and work with people who we might not want to associate with otherwise. Don't do it. Do work you're proud of with good people.
3. Be a giver and avoid the takers We all know givers and takers in our lives, don't be a taker. Be generous and sincerely help others. It always works out for the best. It helps you find the other givers really quickly too – people who gladly give to others when they feel how great it is to be around someone generous like you. It also helps you find the takers who would use you up as much as they could. Avoid avoid the takers.
4. See the world If you're inspired to study abroad or do something crazy awesome like join the Peace Corps, I say go and do it. It may be 30 years from now before you have a chance to do something like that again. I know plenty of people who regret not going or serving abroad, but I can't think of anyone who regretted going out and doing it.
5. Enjoy discomfort Most people spend their whole lives trying to be comfortable. They buy new stuff constantly, they stress out when things aren't just perfect, and everything seems like an emergency and an imposition. The world is constantly changing and it's out to get them. Learn to enjoy discomfort and realize that it's just part of growing and changing constantly. Then you will not only grow and become a better person, you also inspire others to dream to become better too.
6. Don't be a victim Whether you think you're a victim or not, the world is not out to get you. Whether you think you are or not, you are responsible for your life. You control your thoughts, your habits, and your life. If you don't like the way the movie of your life is going, write a new script.
7. Help others succeed We all have the chance to help others succeed. Write encouraging emails first thing in the morning. Thank people regularly and send them things that you think will be helpful to them. Write recommendations for people you love working with. Ask people you admire how you can help them. Judge your success as a leader by how many people you helped advance personally and professionally in the last year.
8. Build your personal brand The job market is changing rapidly and will continue to change. One thing that won't change is how important it is to have a good reputation, people who trust you and a personal brand that's authentically you. Start your own website (it's easier than ever), share your experiences and thoughts on a blog, or create something awesome and put it out into the world (which brings me to #9).
9. Create something of value Write a book and give it away for free. Create an online course by recording yourself doing something you're talented at. Send out an email to your close friends and colleagues and ask them what they think you're great at doing. Teach that. I've written three books, taught two courses, helped launch two companies, and organized an online conference in the past five years. I'm not special, the technology available just makes this easier than ever before.
10. Be the kind of friend you wish you had Constantly ask yourself how you can be a better friend. What do you wish someone would do for you? Do that for someone else. Eventually you will surround yourself with people who treat you as good as you treat others.
There's a lot more I'd like to say, but luckily I have plenty of space to share it in.
Until then, no mattter when you graduated or will graduate, good luck and I hope you have fun every day from here on out!