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5 Things Nobody Tells you About Graduating from College

5 Things Nobody Tells you About Graduating from College

So you’re entering your final year in college and prepping to graduate. Now get a job, ya deadbeat! If you think reality TV is crazy, wait until you see reality. A career, home, family—you’re looking down the barrel of a lot of long-term commitments. You’ll hear a lot of motivational speeches during your graduation ceremony about how you should follow your dreams because the future of our world depends on you. I’m not here to fill your head with gum drop dreams of you becoming the next leader of the free world. I’m here to give it to you straight. Here are five things nobody tells you about graduating from college that you seriously need to understand…

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    1. Grades Don’t Matter

    You put your nose to the grindstone and got straight As throughout your schooling. That’ll get your foot in a couple of doors, but in six months, your grades will mean absolutely nothing. You’re not in school anymore. Nobody cares how many points you score in practice. When you go pro, you’re only as good as your last project. If you ruin a data import that pushes the company behind and costs millions of dollars, the 24-hour on-call IT and accounting managers who have to fix your problem aren’t interested in your ability to guess the right answer on true/false quizzes. Don’t rest on your laurels.

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    To counter this trapping, keep working harder. Don’t expect to get hired for an executive-level position straight out of college. You’re likely going to have to start at the bottom somewhere. Odds are you’ll be working for someone with a lesser degree than your own; don’t let it get to you. Keep working harder. People grade you in the real world by giving you their money. Keep doing your homework and reaching for those high grades, and you’ll eventually see a payout.

    2. You’re All, “A Loan…”

    Haha, you got ripped off, dude. First off, I hope you noticed the majority of your textbooks weren’t available on Kindle. When Reddit founder Aaron Swartz noticed educational information isn’t publicly available and attempted to correct the situation by downloading and releasing educational databases, he was prosecuted to the fullest extent of outdated digital laws. That’s a sign of a huge racket refusing to change. To make matters worse, you’re stuck with a $100 History of Ancient Rome textbook you’ll never crack open again because a new edition has been released with new information about something that happened 3000 years ago that’s relevant enough to necessitate the release of a new edition. If that’s not bad enough, you took out loans to pay for all of this insanity.

    Stafford and Sallie Mae are a disease transferred to your social security number when you were getting nailed by your school. The debt from financial aid never goes away, and it’s immune to bankruptcy. If you let it go untreated, your pay will be garnished to automatically pay for it (which may or may not leave you with enough left over to continue living your lifestyle). The only thing you can do is treat it with monthly payments.

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      3. You Should’ve Dropped Out

      I never got a degree myself. It’s not that I didn’t have enough credits or intelligence; I just never wanted to give credit for all of my future accomplishments to some university. The idea of being haunted for the rest of my life by letters from the alumni association asking for money was too much for me to handle. Despite dropping out, I’ve had a pretty good run thus far. At Bank of America, I was working alongside people with degrees. I even managed quite a few of those people. Since I left the bank, I worked to build a career as a writer, and my career was accomplished enough that nobody ever asked whether or not I have a degree.

      Anecdotes aside, plenty of people are successful without a college degree. You may not be Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, but you still have a lot more options without graduating than you do by graduating. Even if you don’t drop out completely forever, drop out for at least a year. It will only set you back a year up front, and you’ll more than make up for that in the long run with the experience and wisdom you gain by traveling, pursuing a dream career in the arts, and just living life. Once you’re ready to graduate, come back and get that albatross of a degree to hang around your neck. No harm, no foul.

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      4. Employment Isn’t Guaranteed

      Once you graduate, you’ll be placed in a position you like that’s related to your degree, and everything will work out. If you think that last sentence was true in any way, you’re wrong…but you’re not alone. A lot of us thought life worked that way at one point or another – I know people in their 50s and 60s who still feel entitled. It’s not your fault; people throughout the education system were feeding us the Kool-Aid, and we trust them because they’re educators. It turns out you can’t trust anyone in life.

      The National Association of Colleges and Employers estimates over 1.7 million people will earn a bachelor’s degree in 2013. You may have heard the term “one in a million” used to reference you in a good way, but when you’re one of the 1.7 million people clamoring for the same jobs, the odds are against you. You may have to accept a job you don’t like or feel is beneath you. Make sure you only do this if it’s related to your actual dream job. There’s no shame in a call center or manual labor position, but those “transition jobs” you take while waiting for your dream career can quickly drain your time. The next thing you know, you’re a career McManager. Be prepared, and be willing to look outside of your box. Learn more about how to effectively search for jobs with this Lifehack.

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        5. Don’t Forget Anything You Learned

        When you start your new job, someone will tell you to, “forget everything you hear.” What they’re trying to tell you is that your book learning isn’t going to help you in the real job. This is true to a point, but somewhat of a misnomer.

        It’s true that you’ll learn a lot of proprietary information in your job that you couldn’t possibly have learned in school. There are also classes (Computer, Accounting, etc.) you took once, twice, or even every year that you’ll never use. Just because you took an accounting class doesn’t mean any company in their right mind would allow you to touch their accounting data if you’re not an actual accountant. The thing is, what you learned in school is important, and you should be mindful of discrepancies.

        If you were working at Enron, Worldcom, Countrywide, etc. during the collapse of these companies, there’s a good chance you were unaware you were even doing anything illegal. Even if you were aware, you likely didn’t do anything to stop it. This is because you forgot what you learned in school. Ethics matter, and you’re not always going to learn them in the real world. All the basic foundational skills and facts you learned in school are extremely important; never forget that… no matter what anyone tells you.

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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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