Habits I’ve stolen from highly successful people

leadership poster

Yesterday was a mini blast from my past.

My old communications professors invited me to come back to university and speak to the freshman class of Business Communication majors – an enthusiastic but somewhat shy group of bright eyed and bushy-tailed kids just entering the rite of passage that I just (finally!) completed.

With 40 attentive faces staring up at me from desks in a large classroom, scene complete with old-school blackboard to my back, I had the stage.

I was looking at a new, fresh class of upcoming communicators. Although they’re only a bunch of 17 or 18-year-olds right now, pretty soon they’ll be the interns interns and new hires sitting next to us in this office.

So what wise words of wisdom did I impart?

I summed up the whole surviving college and landing a job experience into four tips. And while I think they’re great personal mantras for getting you through secondary education and into the job force, they apply to what we do every day in the creative field. Here’s the cliff notes of my prepared-the-morning-of (procrastinate much?) speech:

  1. Be open-minded - I had no idea what I wanted to do going into college. All I knew was that I liked to write. I know, that really narrows down the job direction, right? So when I looked at majors I wanted something that would allow me to try many different fields and have lots of different experiences. I didn’t want to be boxed in when I didn’t even know what I liked! So I chose a major that let me take all kinds of crazy classes that I never even considered before. The point is: don’t knock it so quick. Try something new! You might just find that you LOVE something that you never even thought you liked.
  2. Take on responsibilities -  So everyone in the Bus. Comm. major has to take entry level journalism and be on the newspaper staff. It’s just part of working up the trenches. If you’re good and you work hard you can make editing staff – that means input and more control of putting the newspaper together, creative freedom and some leadership over the journalists. Then, if you really prove yourself, there’s a shot at making Editor-in-Chief. That means leadership over all, a lot of respect, but also a ton of responsibility. Trust me as chief of last year’s paper, with great power comes great responsibility! But it’s a position that is pretty coveted and absolutely worth a lot. The point is: If you work hard and prove yourself, you will earn much more from it.
  3. Go on adventures – I spent 3 months studying abroad at London Metropolitan University, and then another summer interning at a TV production company in London, plus 10 days roaming the ancient ruins of Greece on an Honors Seminar excursion. This coming from a girl who never really thought about leaving the east coast before college. One travel experience and I was hooked. The time I’ve spent exploring has been some of the most amazing, though-provoking and telling times of my life. The point is: there is more out there than 20 feet in front of us. Go on one adventure and you’ll never see the world the same way.
  4. Don’t burn bridges – I may like this one the most. It means keep your connections in good form because you never ever know when that person could help you in the future. I know it sounds simple, but it’s one of the most important things you’ll ever do – or mistakes you’ll ever make. The point is: It’s a small world, my friends, and it’s only getting smaller. Be good to people, and you’ll see that positivity come right back to you.
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