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10 Successful Professionals Share What They Wish They Knew in College

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10 Successful Professionals Share What They Wish They Knew in College

You hear about successful individuals and wonder about the journey they had to get there.

Perhaps you imagine them parading confidently down their college halls, studying their perfectly chosen college major. They must have been one of the smart studious kids that had it all together, knew it all.

And they ended up happily ever after as the wizard of their chosen profession.

That doesn’t seem to be the case. The amazing people in all different fields below have retrospective ideas about their college years. They wish they knew certain things, and may have made choices that they have some regret about.

In hindsight, they reflect on what they wish they knew in college.

Stick around until the end and read about an up and coming young film-maker, a recent college grad of 2014. Does she have some different ideas, having so recently graduated?

Here they are (in alphabetical order) reflecting on what they wish they knew.

1. Chris Brogan

cbheadshot

    What I Wish I Knew in College:    “I wish I knew that I knew so very little”.

    Chris Brogan is an adviser and strategist to professionals and owners. It’s business strategy meets powerful personal development.

    Chris has consulted with companies you know like Disney, Microsoft, Coke, Titleist, Pepsico, Google, Motorola, and many more. He is the New York Times Bestselling author of seven books and counting.

    2. Bob Burg

    BobBurgHRHeadshot

      What I Wish I Knew in College:   “Probably more than anything, just how little I knew about life…but *thought* I knew about life”.

      Bob is an advocate, supporter and defender of the Free Enterprise system, believing that the amount of money one makes is directly proportional to how many people they serve.

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      Bob regularly addresses audiences ranging in size from 50 to 16,000 — sharing the platform with notables including today’s top thought leaders, broadcast personalities, Olympic athletes and political leaders including a former United States President.

      The Go-Giver shot to #6 on The Wall Street Journal’s Business Bestsellers list just three weeks after its release. It’s an international bestseller and has been translated into 21 languages.

      3. Ann Convery

      AnnConvery

        What I Wish I Knew in College:  “In the real world, no one gives you an “A” for getting it right.  You can be perfect, and still not get the job, the date, or the promotion”.

        Ann Convery is an international speaker, seminar leader, trainer and author. Her list of clients reads like a “Who’s Who” of top professionals in the fields of politics, medicine, law, business, health and beauty.

        For 17 years she has prepared clients for CNN, 60 Minutes, The NY Times, Time Magazine, Oprah, People, Vogue and other outlets.

        “I got straight A’s in college, and I was an apple-polisher.  If the teacher said, “Hello”, I wrote down “Hello.”  If there was a right answer, I’d find it.   I wasted a few years trying to find out how to “do life right” before I realized that the answer lies in following my own North Star.  That path is uncertain, it’s scary, and it yields the highest rewards on earth.  And
        guess what?  The world doesn’t make it easy.  As I bring my vision into an uncertain world, I am living for something greater than myself, and there is no happier, richer, deeper way to earn your wings”.

        4. David Essel

        david

          What I Wish I Knew in College:   “That discipline and hard work were more than important steps for success, they were everything”.

          David Essel, M.S. is an Author, National Radio and Television Host, Master Life, Business and Relationship Coach, Adjunct Professor, All Faiths Minister, Addiction Recovery Coach and International Speaker.

          David’s professional presentations on how to lead a passionate and inspiring life have drawn rave reviews from corporations such as Chico’s, Nestlé, and Boeing, media outlets such as FOX and Premiere/Clear Channel Radio, as well as non-profit organizations like the March of Dimes and Unity Church.

          “I wish I knew:

          • The chaos alcohol and drugs could create in our lives.
          • That being in love started with loving ourselves.
          • That saving 10 dollars a week starting in college could make us all millionaires in life.
          • That gratitude, for my eyes, legs, heart…basically for what we take for granted…could lift us up on the crappiest of days.
          • That co-dependency in relationships was as devastating as heroin.
          • That my athletic abilities, while great, were nothing compared to my creative nature in life.
          • That I could become an author? National radio host? National television segment host? International speaker? I wish I knew I was that talented!
          • That my parents had given me the tools needed to be a nice person, and they were actually on my side from day 1.
          • That God loves the homeless as much as he loves me.
          • And that we all have the strength to become who we desire…over and over again.”

          5. Jeff Goins

          Jeff Goins

            What I Wish I Knew in College:   “Commit to something. The fruit is worth the cost”.

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            Originally from Chicago, he moved to Nashville after graduating from college and spending a year traveling with a band. In college, he studied Spanish and Religion and spent part of his junior year in Spain, which unlocked a passion for travel, writing, and making a difference in the world.

            He has written and guest-blogged for over 100 magazines, publications, and blogs and is also a speaker, creative coach, and consultant.

            6. Rhea Lalla 

            lalla

              What I Wish I Knew in College:  “I wish I’d known how to actually feel my feelings, listen to them, recognize & honor them and how to experience my emotional cycles all the way through to completion”.

              Rhea Lalla is the founder of Build Great Minds as a professional trainer, speaker and coach for parents who want to develop their child’s emotional and creative genius so they achieve success in all areas of life. As a mother who values fun and ease, her strategies are simple, effective and produce immediate results.

              “I used to think feelings happened in my mind, but I now know that feelings occur somatically, and can only be experienced by attending to the physical sensations in my body.

              I’ve since learned the ability to breathe through intense sensations & let the wave move through me. This is the fastest way to find calmness in the face of stress, sadness, frustration, anger or fear.

              Now I have access to more inner peace, greater patience & empathy -with my kids, myself and others”.

              My practice for feeling my feelings goes as follows:

              1. I close my eyes, take 3 deep breaths -where the exhale is 2X as long as the inhale

              2. I explore my body for salient sensations: tightness, pulsing, tingles, and tension

              3. I take my awareness near the sensations and explore the texture, color, movement, curious about its message

              4. I try to identify & name the feeling, so I can dis-identify with it

              5. I appreciate and honor the feeling as being a teacher with a lesson for me

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              7. Anthony Mora

              AnthonyMora

                What I Wish I Knew in College:  “In retrospect, there is quite a lot I would have liked to have known in college, although most was best discovered as time went on”.

                Anthony Mora Communications Inc. is a Los Angeles-based public relations, media relations, media training, and internet marketing firm formed by Anthony Mora in 1990. He has placed clients in a wide range of media outlets, including: Time, Newsweek, 60 Minutes, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The New York Times, the BBC, Los Angeles Times, Vogue, People, Rolling Stone etc.

                Anthony has been featured in: USA Today, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The BBC, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fox News, MSNBC, and other media.

                “What I do wish I had known in college was how different theory is from practical application.  It was almost a given that college was not the place to ask those nuts-and-bolts practical questions.

                In retrospect, there is quite a lot I would have like to have known in college, although most was best discovered as time went on.  Too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing.  Still, a melding of theoretical understanding and practical application, that would have been appreciated”.

                8. Leigh Newman

                Leigh

                  What I Wish I Knew in College:  “I wish I’d known that the friends I was making would be with me for 22 years”.

                  Leigh Newman is the Deputy and Books Editor of Oprah.com. Her memoir Still Points North was a finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle John Leonard Prize.  She has received fellowships from the Corporation of Yaddo and has taught fiction at Pratt Institute.

                  “I wish I’d known that this would be the last time I could take oceanography. I would have taken more of that—and marine biology—and napping 101.

                  I wish I’d known that I like quiet, and it was okay to live off campus and go to bed early with a Melville novel”.

                  9. Debbie Pomerantz

                  Debbie Pomerantz

                    What I Wish I Knew in College:   “To go after what I want and not allow others to derail me.  I wished I realized my potential and recognized my abilities”.

                    Debbie Pomerantz, Assistant Vice President of Gebroe-Hammer Associates has been selected as a “Woman of Influence,” an elite ranking of the nation’s top female real estate professionals.

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                    She joined Gebroe-Hammer Associates, a dominant commercial real estate brokerage firm in the NY-NJ area as a sales representative. In less than one year with the firm, she was promoted to Assistant Vice President. 

                    10. Leah Gottfried

                    Leah

                      What I Wish I Knew in College:  “Having graduated this year, I can honestly say I have no regrets. A weekly meditation group kept me living in the moment”.

                      Leah Gottfried created the first Film Studies major at Yeshiva University.

                      She is the owner of Dignity Entertainment, a full service production company dedicated to creating meaningful visual content that she started while still in college.

                       

                      So it seems like when you look back at a time period in your life, such as your college years, there are things you wish you would have known or wish were different. From a newly graduated college students perspective,  it seems like at the time, during college there is mostly just in the moment college life.

                      As for the successful professionals that make great strides in their field of work, they continue to make their mark even though there were some crucial things they wish they knew or did differently.

                      So go ahead and make your mark, do your thing with whatever you have and know today, in this moment.

                      Rest assured knowing that during your college years you probably were just that – a college student looking at the world with the youthful lense of hope and promise.

                      For today you are exactly where you are meant to be. Your exact experiences, what you did or didn’t know in college make you who you are in this moment, and most things may best be discovered as time goes on.

                      Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/drurydrama/4266958089/ via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on October 7, 2021

                      Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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                      Are You Addicted to Productivity?

                      “It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

                      Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

                      “Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

                      Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

                      Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

                      “The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

                      This is my mantra:

                      I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

                      But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

                      Addiction to Productivity is Real

                      Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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                      “A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

                      Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

                      “It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

                      Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

                      “A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

                      “There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

                      “For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

                      There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

                      Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

                      By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

                      Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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                      Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

                      Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

                      Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

                      The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

                      Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

                      • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
                      • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
                      • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
                      • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
                      • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
                      • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
                      • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

                      The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

                      Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

                      Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

                      1. Set Limits

                      Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

                      For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

                      2. Create a Not-to-Do List

                      Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

                      3. Be Vulnerable

                      By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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                      4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

                      Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

                      Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

                      There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

                      5. Don’t Be a Copycat

                      Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

                      That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

                      6. Say Yes to Less

                      Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

                      That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

                      Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

                      7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

                      “In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

                      “That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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                      • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
                      • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
                      • Establish realistic goals.
                      • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
                      • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
                      • Hold yourself accountable.
                      • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
                      • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

                      8. Simplify

                      Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

                      The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

                      9. Learn How to Relax

                      “Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

                      “But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

                      “And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

                      But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

                      • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
                      • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
                      • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
                      • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
                      • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
                      • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
                      • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
                      • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
                      • Visit a massage therapist.
                      • Just breathe.

                      “Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

                      It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

                      Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

                      Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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