Last year at this time, I was an unemployed recent graduate. Since then, I’ve worked for a dozen clients/companies to pay my bills. In the last three months, I’ve held three separate “career-oriented” jobs. It seems I’m navigating through an extreme period of transition in my life. I’m sorting the puzzle pieces of where I will work, where I will live, and with whom I will surround myself. These choices will help define my future.
I have two points to make. Writing these down probably accomplishes more for myself than it will for anyone reading. This is more for personal clarification and motivation than an attempt to do the same for you.
First, choose to never hold yourself back. Never turn a clouded eye to an opportunity to better yourself or your standing. Better jobs will come; take them. Opportunities to experience something new will present themselves; jump on them. There should be no reason to not accept better pay, more security, a higher position, or a free hotdog at that. Never hold yourself back out of fear. Fear of being inadequate, fear of leaving something good, fear of the could’ve/should’ve/would’ve – these fears only exist to keep the majority in line so as to not disrupt the universe. One person not being afraid to do better will not stir the cosmos; choose to be that person.
Now, a disclaimer: do not make rash decisions when a “better” opportunity comes along. Do your research. More money isn’t better when it may only last six months. Look before you leap and, if your pros list is longer than your cons list, make it happen. I’ve been on both ends of the deal. I’ve left opportunities in favor of the path more travelled and missed out. I’ve taken opportunities that have flat busted. Both have failed, yet both succeeded. I’ve learned an enorm
ous amount from both and I have those connections and experiences for the rest of my life (by the way, never burn a bridge).
Secondly, choose your company with the upmost care. Not a business, but your friends and acquaintances. Take care in choosing your acquaintances and even more in choosing your friends. No matter what you think or what you “know,” you will take on the mannerisms of those you surround yourself with. If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people. What did you do when you wanted to party in college? You hung out with people who partied. When it was time for an exam, you hung out with people who studied. Same in life.
If a friend doesn’t believe in you, you may have just made a new acquaintance and lost that friend. Don’t hold people near who hold you back. Only the friends who encourage the craziest ideas are worth keeping. Keep the rest at arm’s length. I’m not saying ignore the people who have been there for you or start neglecting people you know. I’m suggesting drawing a personal line between you and others. Share you dreams and ambitions with the closest of friends; those who will help you, encourage you, and offer opinions. When they start picking your dreams apart and telling you every reason they won’t work, it’s time to find a better friend.
I’ve been a bit lax on both points in the last two years. I’ve allowed fear and laziness to make decisions for me and I’ve allowed less-than-beneficial friends to guide my life. It’s time for me to take my life back and seek out opportunities and people that push me forward rather than hold me back. I’ve been very blessed with great opportunities and great friends over the years and I look forward to more of that in the future.