An Open Letter to Every College Graduate in the Class of 2019
Dear newly minted college graduate:
You’ve made it.
You’re in. Welcome to the club. You’re a college graduate. This is a huge accomplishment. The first lesson is to savor and celebrate the wins in life. Second, is not to linger too long in that space. Because there is work to do. But for now, for today, this is your day. Get your party on. Celebrate. This is your moment, so own it. Celebrate with your friends and family and realize the magnitude of this moment.
This next part is for the coming days to follow, but you can let it simmer and marinate today. You’ve joined a club that many people are already a part of. The job market, creative market, entrepreneurial market, you name it — it’s a very competitive landscape. Other than your college degree, what are you bringing to the table?
Yeah, it’s time to get to work. Time to start learning in the “real world.” The bubble of college is a great protection for a few years, but hopefully you spent your time wisely. Have you thought about your passions? What are the things that light the fire inside of you? What are you enthusiastic about? Have you spent your time exploring and learning about these things?
Have you spent your time doing these things?
The Real World
The most important thing in your life is to live your life with integrity and to not give into peer pressure to try to be something that you’re not. — Ellen DeGeneres
This next part is not for the faint of heart but someone has to tell it to you: A college degree does not entitle you to anything. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to get knocked down. Check that — you’re gonna get knocked on your ass. And you’re going to have to learn from those experiences, failures, mistakes and adversity.
I encourage you to try as many things as you can but try and refine your focus early on in your post-college journey. Why? Ah, remember what I said — the world is a competitive place. You have talent. Now, it’s all about learning, accumulating wealth — in the form of knowledge and skill, not money — and melding that with your enthusiasm and God-given ability.
All the while, keep asking yourself,
“How is this making me better?”
What did I learn today that will help me move in the direction of what I believe I want to do? Oh yeah, write that down. I’d highly recommend keeping a daily journal. There is an extraordinary, universal power in putting things in writing. Write down your thoughts from each day.
Better yet, while it may seem early, put together a five-year plan. Why? Well, don’t just take it from me. Take it from millionaire entrepreneurs. CEO’s who have personally told me that this five-year plan made ALL THE DIFFERENCE in finding their true calling. Put together your plan. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It could be very simple. Put it in writing.
And know this — plans change. Life changes. And your plan will change. But you should always work toward something you believe in. Let the desires of your heart lead and guide you toward what you want to become. These are the formative years of your professional life! The time to be a dreamer — with a great imagination — is always right now!
Live the Dream
From my point of view, which is that of a storyteller, I see your life as already artful, waiting, just waiting and ready for you to make it art. — Toni Morrison
As President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” Dream. But work each day to make that dream a reality. Avoid laziness at all costs.
The quickest way to turn your dreams into reality is to put them into plan, work toward them and do so with a positive attitude. The facilitators for these actions are other people! You cannot make it on your own. You need your parents, friends, colleagues, mentors, teachers, coaches and community members. They will lift you to new heights.
The relationships you build will determine your course in life. Don’t wait. Make an effort to build relationships and meet new people. Always FIRST offer something in return. Be a giver, first. Demonstrate value. You’ll reap huge benefits in return.
Oh, there is just one more thing. Don’t forget to say, “Thank you!” Your Mom, Dad, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts likely made all of this possible for you. Express your gratitude. Soak it all in. Just know — there’s work to do. Good luck!
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