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5 Life Lessons for Fresh Graduates

5 Life Lessons for Fresh Graduates

Well, the day has finally come. At last, you’ve managed to graduate and earned the right to enjoy in this monumental achievement. Trust me: when reality begins to settle in, you will start to remember your college years as the best time of your life.

If you are interested to see what your life will be like from this point on, the following article will give you a rough idea. Here are some useful life lessons for those who have recently graduated.

Enjoy the perks of your recent success

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    Don’t let this period of joy go to waste. You will have few more chapters in life that are this vibrant, so make sure you make the best of it. Of course, don’t grow too attached to this feeling either, because it will hold you back if you do not abandon it on time. Think of it this way: this time gap between your graduation day and the day when you need to enter the rat race is like a last meal for a convict who is a about to be executed.

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    Soon, you will get a job and start thinking about how to seriously advance in your career. The more you devote yourself to that goal, the more trapped you will feel. In order to graduate, you need to work hard, but if you want to advance in your career, you will need to make additional sacrifices.

    Finishing college is a great achievement and you deserve to treat yourself by having a good time. Devote more of your time to doing what you love. Go travel and see other countries – maybe you’ll get new ideas for where you want your life to go. Your goal now is to make sure that once this period is over, your regrets are at a minimum.

    Face your new reality

    Here’s one of the major problems that will occur when your college days are over. During your studies, you have midterms and exams. These are all imposed responsibilities and, in a way, goals that you need to achieve. As long as you have those goals, you have a clear path in front of you.

    Furthermore, you get evaluated and have a rough perception of your level of knowledge. So as long as you earn satisfactory grades, you have this idea of advancement and that your life is heading in the right direction. Once your student days are over, there are no more exams, there is no way to measure whether you are heading in the right direction, and on a subconscious level, that can be staggering.

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    The choices you make are your own, and every failure you experience is felt on a more personal level, which can undermine your confidence much more than any exam you failed. You will experience a new pressure to do something valuable and meaningful during your youth, but you may not have a clear idea of what that is or how you are going to pull it off. It’s like you start to hear this inner clock telling you how another day was wasted.

    Moreover, you realize how your theoretical knowledge is not appreciated to the same extent in the real world. The important thing now is whether you have what it takes to do your job right. In a way, you are learning again from the very beginning. So, buckle up and start acquiring new and useful skills to create something meaningful.

    If you think that your theoretical knowledge can help you become a good teacher, think again. It takes tremendous amounts of self improvement to become a good tutor. Just presenting an abundance of facts isn’t enough.

    Start looking for a job

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      Getting a job will change your life dramatically. Sure you won’t have as much free time as before, and you might not end up doing what you originally intended, but with income comes stability. In other words, it’s better to have a job and routine than to be stuck in limbo. Once you have solid ground to stand on, you’ll have a better perspective on what you should do to improve your lifestyle, plus you will advance in learning more practical skills.

      Of course, this does not mean you should accept just any job that lands in your lap. Look for something that has more benefits than just earning cash. Make sure the employer accepts you as a valuable team member, get the job offer in writing, verify pay and benefits, see if commuting to your workplace takes too much time, and if you manage to get the job you want, send a thank-you letter to your employers to show them that you appreciate the opportunity given to you.

      Another thing to remember is that you should start saving money as soon as you start earning it. It is far more satisfying to make a bigger investment than to focus the fleeting satisfaction that results from pampering every minor desire. This can be somewhat difficult, especially if you are still trying to adjust to a new lifestyle.

      Try out freelancing

      Let’s assume there are no desired jobs available in your vicinity, or that you still don’t know how to leave a good first impression. You need to work on your confidence and your portfolio, so freelancing is a great tool to solve those problems. While working as a freelancer, you will be able to earn some money while improving your skills.

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      The problem is that even people who need freelancers don’t want to hire someone who doesn’t have anything solid to back them up. Luckily, you’ll mostly converse via messages or emails, so it will be easier for you to leave a good impression. You might have to take on a few jobs at the beginning that won’t pay as much, but that will secure good references and reviews.

      Visit places like Up Work and Craigslist to find job offers. There are various sites where people outsource writing jobs, design jobs, sound, video or photo editing jobs, and more. Additionally, if you want to develop your skills as a writer, start blogging and visiting places that pay their contributors. There are even job platforms that look for freelance handymen, so if you possess any particular skills, make sure you search out those relevant platforms.

      Remember to save your money. If you work as a freelancer, you can never count on the same income each month, which is why spending too much is out of the question. The last thing you need is financial suicide, so take some time to organize your budget accordingly.

      Don’t give up on your governing passions

      Finally, never turn your back on your governing passions. They make up a big part of who you really are, and the biggest sense of achievement comes when you work in the right direction. You might not have as much time as you like, but with good organization, you’ll manage to find enough of it and do something fulfilling. If your job is completely different from what you truly love, either look for a new one or view it as a means to an end — something that can help you gather enough resources so that you can do something you are truly good at and love.

      I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors, because let’s face it, we can’t all be superstars and legends in today’s world. Let’s keep our goals realistic. If you make the effort to end up where you want to be, eventually you’ll get there. And remember: it is perfectly normal to change your aspirations and to start working toward different achievements.

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      Vladimir Zivanovic

      CMO at MyCity-Web

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      Published on March 20, 2019

      How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

      How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

      Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

      As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

      While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

      What is a Mission Statement?

      Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

      In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

      “Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

      In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

      Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

      While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

      First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

      While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

      While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

      “To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

      This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

      What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

      When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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      Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

      When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

      • What we do?
      • How we do it?
      • Whom do we do it for?
      • What value are we bringing?

      Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

      After all, that did check off all the boxes:

      What we do? Provide widgets.

      How we do it? Online.

      Who do we do it for? The consumer.

      What value we bring? The best widgets.

      The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

      Compare that mission statement to this one:

      “We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

      What’s the difference?

      Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

      Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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      You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

      A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

      Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

      1. Keep It Brief

      Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

      You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

      2. Have a Purpose

      A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

      Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

      3. Include a “How”

      Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

      How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

      4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

      This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

      Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

      5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

      It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

      Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

      6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

      Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

      7. Think Long Term

      A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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      8. Get Feedback

      This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

      Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

      9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

      You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

      First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

      And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

      For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

      The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

      It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

      First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

      If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

      Strategic Planning

      A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

      Measuring Performance

      By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

      Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

      Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

      Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

      As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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      Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

      To Hold Management Accountable

      By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

      So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

      If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

      To Serve as an Example

      This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

      After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

      Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

      Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

      Final Thoughts

      Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

      Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

      That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

      By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

      More Resources About Achieving Business Success

      Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
      [2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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