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10 Successful Professionals Share What They Wish They Knew in College

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 September 18, 2020

                      How to Be More Self-Assured and Get More Done During the Week

                      How to Be More Self-Assured and Get More Done During the Week

                      Time is a great leveler isn’t it? We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Even if you’re self-assured, the day may never feel quite long enough.

                      Why is it that some people can be so much more productive and achieve so much more in a typical day, while others struggle to achieve anything apart from feeling time crunched and overwhelmed?

                      Everyone I know and work with wants to make the best use of their time. They want to learn how to be more self-assured, happier, and work less—all while growing in their career.

                      How effectively we use our time—and how we actually work in our business—can make a huge difference to the amount we accomplish in a day or week. It can also make us more focused and more confident.

                      Do you want to have more thinking and creative time? Do you want to spend more time working on your business rather than working at or in your business? In this article, we’ll show you how.

                      Get More Done by Gaining Confidence

                      What if you had a strategy for making the best use of your time that brings you more joy and allows you to focus on the biggest activities and opportunities in your business? You may find the following outline below to be helpful:

                      1. Create an Exciting Vision

                      If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there?

                      You want to be more productive and spend more time getting the right stuff done. Well, you need to create a compelling and exciting vision of your future.

                      What does this future look like? How will you feel when you get there?

                      Creating a new vision, especially one that is a lot bigger than where you are right now, has a way of igniting your passion. It may be something that feels hard to achieve, but every step you take towards that bigger vision will certainly build your confidence.

                      Create a vision board to feel more self-assured.

                        Commitment to this vision, and accomplishing continual daily progress depends on your ability to look at any situation you’re faced with or currently in, feel self-assured, and see something bigger ahead.

                        Also, when you know where you’re headed, you will instinctively start to see all the new opportunities and connections that will get you there.

                        Make a vision map to get you started on the path to better productivity. This doesn’t have to be fully actualized, but you should know at least what direction you are heading.

                        2. Build a Strategic Plan

                        Once you have your future vision mapped out, the next step is to build a strategic plan to get you there.

                        Your future vision may be for 3 years or 5 years, or you may choose a longer time frame. Any timeframe over 3 years may feel like a long way away.

                        You may wonder how you are ever going to feel confident and motivated on this bigger future years from now when you feel as though you have so much to accomplish today.

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                        The first step is to decide on some specific goals for the next 12 months. Don’t list too many or you may begin to feel overwhelmed.

                        The magic number for me and my clients is usually five annual goals.

                        These are big goals that will create massive change in your business and life and bridge your current situation to your bigger future; accomplishing these goals one by one will help to increase your confidence on a daily basis.

                        3. Get on Goal Planning

                        Get yourself a piece of blank paper and a pen and divide the paper into 4 columns: A, B, C, and D.

                        Ask yourself the question: What is great in my business and life right now? Write these things down in Column A. This might be a couple of things, five things, ten things, whatever feels right to you.

                        Then ask yourself: What things are happening right now that I don’t want in my future? Write these things down in Column B.

                        This is your opportunity to take a step back and look at the things that are simply not working. You may list people that are bringing you down or projects that you don’t want to work on any more. Maybe you’ll include a service offering that’s going nowhere. It could be the people you’re working with, or it could be your pricing.

                        Now, let’s look at your personal strengths. Write down everything that you’re great at in Column C.

                        These could be things that you’re doing right now and having success with. It could also be things you know you’re awesome at but you’re not spending enough time on.

                        Column D is for your biggest opportunities. Is there a new service/product you could offer your ideal customers? Is there a new innovation you could bring to market? Just take some time out and really think and list these things in Column D.

                        Once you’ve analyzed everything you’ve written down, take some time to really think about what goals you want to set for your business and life in the next 12 months.

                        4. Set Outcomes to Build Confidence

                        You now have your goals, and you’ll feel self-assured and raring to go. They are written down and you’re committed to achieving them. You feel self-assured and motivated.

                        But how do you ensure that you stay on the correct course to achieve these goals?

                        Managing and juggling day-to-day projects can get in the way. Dealing with problems can get in the way. Staying on top of orders, managing cash flow, and handling day-to-day stuff can move your ship off course.

                        You want to be productive and achieve your goals, but you also need to ensure the day and week runs smoothly.

                        One way to ensure this happens is to set 90 Day Outcome Goals; within those Outcome Goals, put some specific process goals that need to be undertaken.

                        Let’s say you want to get 10 more speaking jobs in the next 90 days, and you know that you typically convert 50% of opportunities.

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                        Therefore, your process goal needs to be to have 20 conversations in the next 90 Days to deliver the 10 new pieces of work. You will then work out who you can have those conversations with.

                        It’s smart to overshoot, so you will more easily hit your target. This is a clear plan to work through because with every win, your confidence will grow.

                        5. Completely Commit to Your Success

                        If you are not truly committed to achieving your goals, then chances are that you won’t reach them.

                        Motivation can only take you so far. It is the intentional commitment[1] and emotional investment in your future success that will move you forward.

                        Think back to any time that you really committed to achieving something. There must have been a reason you actually achieved what you set out to achieve. What motivated you?

                        Were you fully invested? Why did it matter? Did you have to be really courageous to achieve it?

                        How did it feel when you achieved it? What difference did it make?

                        When have you felt truly self-assured? When you are committed to something, then you are propelled into action. Your mindset is focused, and your body follows; you want to get it done.

                        And, when you do get it done, your confidence goes through the roof. You feel a level of certainty in achieving the goal you set out to accomplish.

                        6. Focus on Your Strengths

                        To feel self-assured and build up the confidence needed to achieve our biggest goals, we need to focus on our strengths.

                        What are you best at? What are your unique skills? You want to spend as much time as you can working in the areas that you’re great at.

                        Multiply your strengths. These areas are where you add the biggest value. They often bring you the biggest amount of joy, and you feel more and more confident when you are using your unique skills.

                        If you think there is a specific capability you need to learn or be better at, spend more focused time in that area.

                        Many of us want to do it all. We want to be good at everything. We want to offer a lot of services. But, in reality, there are some very specific things we are great at; nobody is good at everything!

                        Spending more time adding value in the areas where you excel can create breakthrough results and boost confidence.

                        7. Embrace the Present

                        Sometimes we spend so much time thinking about the future or worrying about the past that we forget the present moment[2].

                        Are you spending most of your day reacting to things, or have you taken the time to think about what your perfect day looks like?

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                        We all have the opportunity to create rather than react, to decide what we do with our day. All of our future success can be created in the present moment if we just take a step back and take action.

                        Sometimes, doing it now is more important than doing it perfectly. There are hidden opportunities in every moment. We need to make sure we don’t miss them if we want to feel self-assured.

                        8. Calm the Whirlwind

                        The day-to-day life in business and life can be hard, which leads us to feel less self-assured.

                        Your mind may be full to bursting with all of the things you feel you have to do. The phrase “I don’t have time” has almost become an instant reaction by so many people when new opportunities are presented.

                        There is a whirlwind happening inside our minds.

                        Appointments, notifications, tasks, phone calls, errands, cash flow, staffing issues, networking, marketing all can clutter up our timeline. The sheer volume of things we feel we should do creates procrastination, stopping us from pursuing the projects and people that matter.

                        Many of us feel we have to do everything within our business.

                        Rather than simplifying things and doing less, we do more. We work longer, which creates a lack of energy and focus. Because of this, we lose clarity on our biggest opportunities. If you feel this way, take some well-deserved time off.

                        Look at where you’re spending your time. How much of your time is being spent moving your ideas forward?

                        In the next 90 days, if you could delegate or outsource more daily tasks and spend more time focusing on where you add the biggest value, what difference would it make?

                        Calm the whirlwind by slowing down and doing less.

                        Focus on areas that you add the biggest amount of value. By doing this, your energy levels will increase, your confidence will grow and you will have more success.

                        9. Take More Time off

                        This may seem counterintuitive, but taking more time off to recharge and refocus can pay huge dividends.

                        If you are constantly fighting fires and caught up in the myriad of different activities that you have to do each day, then how can you move your business forward?

                        You may be being pulled in difference directions without any focused time on your biggest projects. If that’s the case, then it’s almost impossible to gain any real momentum in moving your business forward and hitting your goals.

                        The best way to get off that treadmill is to take more creative time out of the business.

                        Could you realistically take one day off per month to work on your business? If you could, what would you do with this time?

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                        Just imagine no distractions, only focused time on the strategic development and growth of your business.

                        Every day off per month could have a different focus: New product innovation; Thinking about your biggest clients; Improving operations.

                        Add to this a quarterly review to check in with your goals progress, and this could have a dramatic effect on where you spend your valuable time.

                        10. Celebrate Wins

                        Sometimes you just want to get through the day, right?

                        You have so much to do. There are so many things on your task list that you just complete what you can and then start another day. But what would happen if, at the end of each day, you took some time out to look at what you’ve accomplished?

                        Celebrating success keeps you motivated and helps you become more self-assured. It is not just another day. It’s a day that included things that should be celebrated.

                        If you’re struggling to feel motivated, try celebrating a couple of wins each day.

                        Celebrating success combined with the gratitude you have for achieving those wins will boost your confidence and inspire you for the next day.

                        11. Give Yourself More Space

                        When was the last time you gave yourself time to think?

                        Within the hustle and bustle, it can be difficult to give yourself a little bit of space and time to just think[3].

                        Imagine giving yourself just an hour a day to just let your mind wander or think about a specific thing.

                        If you think about it, we can all free up an hour a day for something without really losing any efficiency or really impacting our business.

                        In fact, that hour could be transformational for your business and life.

                        A new idea for a product could form, or an idea for adding value to your existing clients could materialize. Perhaps you could do a check in to your ideal future and your goals. You could decide that you want to take your business in a new direction.

                        Try this: Just sit alone for an hour with a notebook and let it be your creative thinking time. See what happens.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Ultimately, being self-assured happens when you have a clear direction.

                        This, coupled with having clear goals and working in your unique skill-set, gives you the biggest opportunity to be more productive and get more of the right things done.

                        The old mantra that “less is more” is right on the money. By giving yourself more time to work on your goals, you will inevitably increase your confidence; at this point, your ideal future can be anything you want it to be.

                        More on How to Be Self-Assured

                        Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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