As I watch my newsfeed filled with graduation pictures, I can’t help but think about this important time in a young adults life. Of course, I think next year as a Mom I will have my first graduate, and those sentimental feelings come rolling in. So while I am not going through this as a parent myself, I would love to offer advice to our graduates, as a professional Life Coach & Strategist, as they begin a new journey into adulthood and take on this important milestone.
Graduation marks two things, the end of an era and also the beginning of the next chapter in life. I would like to focus on the next chapter, and life lessons that I have lived, learned, taught and practiced over the years—these are great guiding principles that are important at every stage in life, and are a great foundation from which to build upon. These are leadership and life lessons which should be at the core of everything we do, graduate or grandparent, they can be applied to everyone. For today’s post, I focus on the graduates:
1. Believe in Yourself.
Always believe in yourself, no matter what. You always need to know that you matter, you have a voice, you are capable, you are worthy, and you can reach any goal you set your mind on. There will be times in life you need to be your own best cheerleader, coach and advocate, always believe in yourself and never let anyone take this away from you. Remember these two important lessons: What other people think of you is none of your business (it does not matter what other people think, their thoughts are a reflection of them). Also, never compare yourself to others (everyone has a different journey, focus on your own, also, with social media, you only see the highlight reel, never compare your behind the scenes to someone’s highlight reel on Instagram).
2. Work Hard.
Anything that you want in life requires hard work. Be willing to be the person that goes above and beyond, that gets the job done, that doesn’t give up until you reach your goal. Hard work is essential in life. This is the one thing you have control over, so while you can’t manage what happens or who has better skills and/or opportunities than you, you can work hard. A strong work ethic will serve you your entire life, let it begin now, and be that person that people and companies, and communities can rely on and want on their team, until you create your own.
3. Create a Vision.
Cast a vision for your life. You don’t have to have it all figured out and this exercise is on going and an evolution. Visualize as well what you want in your life, and believe that anything is possible. Expand your imagination, reach for a better version of you, and cast a vision of what is possible, believe in it and nurture it (even if it seems impossible, that word alone really means I’m possible). Have something in your living space that reminds you of your vision, even if it is pictures or words—review it each day. This is a powerful tool that can transform your life, and help you at each stage as you learn to expand your vision, and manifest what you truly desire in your life.
4. Set Goals.
This exercise and practice will help you throughout your life. The key is to take action on the goals you set, it is the activity that helps you achieve your goals. You can apply this to every area of your life. Choose two areas to begin, and work towards these goals—make sure you write it down, post it and review it each day. It is important to know where you are going, and to be clear on what to focus on each day. Focus on the activities which bring you closer to your goals.
5. Think Positive.
This is probably one of the most important lessons you can embrace in your life. A positive mindset will be what makes your life go from good to great. Life is hard sometimes, it is going to knock you down, and you will experience a range of emotions which are unbearable at times. Always remember that “it could be worst”. Think about the positive in each situation and train your brain to go to the positive thoughts rather than the negative ones. We are in one of 3 modes: complaining, blaming or building—be the builder, be the person that takes 100% responsibility for your life and take ownership of that and your attitude. Share your positive attitude with others, this will not only help you, it will make our world a better place. Be the light for others, and always shine light on darkness. Also, surround yourself with people that lift you higher and are positive, avoid those that bring you down. You become like the 5 people you surround yourself with, choose wisely.
6. Practice Gratitude.
When we approach life from a place of gratitude, it helps to shift everything. Gratitude helps us to put things into perspective, and also aligns us with the magic, beauty and blessings in life. If you can begin each day by simply writing down 3 to 5 things you are grateful for, it will keep you grounded in a positive place, and will help you stay the course, and focus on what is really important. It also allows you to appreciate the simple things in life, it is the simple things that truly bring joy to each day. If you can’t get yourself to do this daily, do it on occasion to begin, and when your mind wanders, or you are in a rut or overwhelmed, just capture the 5 things you are grateful for. An attitude of gratitude will truly make you accountable for your life, and also appreciate all you have.
7. Live in the Moment.
Mindfulness and living in the moment will help you really be present for your life, for those you love and for what is really important to you. As a young adult, you will need to plan for the future, however, don’t do so at the cost of the present moment and present day. Living in the moment helps you connect to what is important to you. Living in the moment helps you stay focused, and to engage in relationships that are meaningful and important. Remember, yesterday is a canceled check, if something has happened which bothers you, learn to put the past behind you, do what you can to make things right (apologize when you mess up), and move forward with your best intentions. Learn to be a good listener, and be interested rather than interesting when it comes to your relationships and being present for those you care about and want to be with.
8. Do Your Best.
No one can “do you” better than you. Always do your best, and don’t worry about being the best. When you do your best, you allow yourself to truly blossom and bring your best gifts forward. When you try and be the best, you can force yourself into competition mode, which is okay, but it is at the risk of not being aligned to your true self. When you do your best, you will grow in many areas, while staying true to yourself. Being Authentic and being who you really are is important, never forget where you came from and always honor yourself. The world does not need more imitations, the world needs more of you! Take a brave step forward, declare who you are and what you want and go after it!
9. Be Kind.
Be kind to others, and always be kind. The world has too many bullies and there is too much angst and fear that needs to change, let that begin with you. Be kind to others, and also be brave enough to stand up for others when someone is not being kind. Always put yourself in the persons shoes, and look to make everyone in your path feel important and recognized. Very simply put, treat others as you want to be treated. One important lesson here also is to be kind to yourself. Say kind things to yourself, be good to yourself, take care of yourself, and practice self care. Empathy and compassion are two attributes that are necessary for to achieve greatness, because greatness is not just achieving, greatness is who you are being.
10. Be Humble.
While it is important to believe in yourself, to achieve and reach your goals, to do better and to create success in your life, it is equally important to be humble. Stay grounded in all you do, and be good to all walks of life, it is diversity that allows you to be well rounded, grounded and an amazing human being. See the best in others, give credit to others, recognize the people around you and focus on others—when we serve others and genuinely want to make a difference, it becomes less about us, and more about being of value and service to others.
11. Give Back.
Be generous with either your time, money, skills, compliments and self. When you create a mindset of service and helping others, it truly will bring you joy but also, it makes our world a better place. If you see a problem in the world, don’t complain, ask yourself “what can I do to make this better”. Exercise your voice, be the difference maker, stand up for others that can’t stand up for themselves. Find a purpose or cause that you are passionate about and get behind it, if it does not exist, then create it. All great movements in life start with one person, believe you can be that person, or at the very least, get behind a cause that you believe in. Do you want to create a legacy that is selfish or do you want to create a legacy that you are a generous person that gives back and helps others. In life, there are givers and there are takers, be sure you are the giver.
Lead your life from a place of love. You only have one life, and for some it can be short or go by fast, put your heart into everything that you do, and lead your life with love. Tear down any walls that you have built, or lay down the fear of what others will think. Expressing love and opening your heart is the greatest gift you can give to the world and those around you. Tell the people you love that you love them. Show your affection, write the letter, send the text, make the phone call, and share how you are feeling. Your emotional intelligence is far more valuable than your intellectual intelligence—the world has not caught up to this yet, but listen here, and own this now, it will be what sets you apart. Always lead your life with love, and let that love begin, by loving yourself first. Speak love to yourself and others and always remember that YOU ARE LOVED.
13. Eat Well & Exercise.
You are what you eat. When you eat better, you feel better, this is so important yet so hard for young adults. Strive to practice this to some degree and make it part of your lifestyle. Choose nutrient dense foods when possible, and always try and get exercise and fresh air, it really does matter and it will be important to how you feel. Your health is by far your greatest asset, don’t take it for granted, and fuel your body well, so that it performs well. If you take this on as a priority, you will create good habits, and will feel better on a daily basis. Sleep, exercise, eating, hydration are all important when it comes to daily living, be mindful of this, and make it part of your daily practice—this will fuel you today and shape your future in mind, body & spirit.
14. Make Good Choices.
By now you know what they are. Really try and make good choices, when you are presented with situations that may or may not be a good option for you—choose good. There are consequences to our choices and you need to think through this and be aware of this in the decisions you make. Live by this simple motto to help guide you through decisions and daily practices of life: “Do the Next Right Thing”. You can ask yourself “what is the next right thing for me to do”, this will help you stay the course, do the next right thing and live life in a way that helps you prosper and grow.
15. Cultivate Integrity.
Integrity and character are as important as your health. Choose to be a leader, and an example for others by making integrity important in all that you do. Having integrity means that you are honest, responsible, reliable, and a leader in the roles in your life. Character is important, and it begins with you. Character and integrity mean that what you do when no one is looking should be equal to what you do when people are looking. God is always watching, and being honest to yourself and others is important to your values and the values and the core you are building. You will be tested, and in those times, remember how important this is, and by doing the right thing, you are leading by example and living a life of honor and honesty—expect this of yourself and others.
These are just a few lessons that are really important to remember, embrace, practice and live by. You only have one life to live, so begin by owning it, and getting to know your heart and soul and what it is you desire. Be patient as you figure things out, be willing to make mistakes, it is not about the setbacks, it is all about the comebacks. Have fun, take chances, and make memories with those you care about. Congratulations to you, and this is not the end, this is the beginning to so much more, the journey ahead begins today, it begins with you! Make the world a better place as you step forward in creating your best most wonderful life!