Congratulations to all the new graduates out there! Now that it’s been more than 20 years since I graduated from school, I want to give a few key pieces of advice for your new adventure. Keep in mind that I’m always learning and improving myself (I guess this is a great tip too!), so these tips are only part of my long list.
1. Find a mentor. As a new graduate, look for ways to achieve success right out of the gate, and the number 1 way is to find a mentor. A mentor is simply someone to guide and inspire you. Success leaves clues, so if you know someone successful, just do what they do (and if you know someone who is not so successful, definitely don’t take their advice, nor their criticism). Many folks are open to giving advice – what has worked and what hasn’t. Don’t be afraid to meet new people. You never know what they might have to offer you or who they know. A mentor can be a parent, pastor, community leader, business person, even an inspirational TV personality – pretty much anyone who can give you advice on how to succeed. Once you find success yourself, remember to give back and mentor someone too.
2. Use stress to your advantage. In your new adventure out of school, stress will unfortunately continue to build – time to get a job, start a new life, pay off your debt, etc. I talk to patients all day about how stress affects you mentally, emotionally and physically. However, if you change your perspective of stress and regularly de-stress, you will not suffer the adverse effects of stress such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, and insomnia, just to name a few. If you focus on the “positive” effects of stress (ever do your best work just before a deadline?) and follow healthy methods to lower stress like healthy eating, daily exercise and getting plenty of sleep, you can make stress work for you. If you change your mindset to see stress as something to push you to reach your goals – getting that promotion, providing for your family, getting more “me time” – then you will see stressful situations as an opportunity to better yourself instead.
3. Get used to failure. The more you fail, the more you learn. That’s how success works. If you’re not where you want to be in life, it’s time to change your routine and try something new. This usually means taking a risk. This can be scary because no one wants to fail. No one wants to look stupid. But I’ve learned that you won’t succeed unless you fail often. As a new graduate, you’re in the best position to make mistakes – you’re new and still learning. Just make sure you learn better from each of your failures. One of my favorite quotes I’ve ever heard is by playwright Sam Beckett which sums up failure and success beautifully: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”