Live Your Best Life – Life Lessons for us All
Recently, I attended a weekend of events that helped transition our undergraduate students to alumni at my alma mater. The room was filled with students bursting with passion, drive and ideas to change the world. They were terrified, excited and ready to “start their lives.”
And the keynote speaker – a passionate mentor, dynamic leader and a dedicated volunteer at our university – shared words of wisdom that I’m still thinking about today:
“Take advantage of your opportunities.”
Your leadership experience often matters as much as your academic experience. The speaker shared how in college, in addition to her business studies, she was on the tennis team and served as Kappa Delta president. She knew that she wasn’t going to play tennis beyond her college years, but worked a tennis-related job that enabled her to meet a few famous tennis players and helped catapult her business career.
No matter what you’re doing, it can be a huge opportunity for you if you make the most of it. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and take a chance, even if it is a little off of the path you’re planning.
“Start saving now – invest in your company’s retirement & 401K”
As I was listening, I remembered back to my college days. I was fortunate to work part-time with a company that had a retirement plan. I saved $5 per week – and some weeks, it really hurt to give that money to my savings/retirement plan. As I continued to get promoted, I’d increase my savings slightly each time. By the time I’d graduated college, I’d saved $20,000 toward my retirement.
I encourage you to start saving now. Seriously, you can do this and it makes a huge difference. And if your company offers a matching program, save the maximum allowed each time. Your future self will thank you.
“Work to live; don’t live to work.”
Our speaker reminded us that you’re going to have amazing jobs and crappy jobs. You’ll have fabulous supervisors and terrible, terrible bosses. You can learn from every opportunity. I have to admit that some life lessons didn’t present themselves until many years later, but I’m a better employee, leader and supervisor because of the past jobs – especially the crappy jobs – I’ve had.
Whether you are just starting your career or have solidly established yourself, I encourage you to realize your potential, recognize your opportunities, and remain confident in your voice. Focus on living your best life and a life of meaning. And start today on the path you want for the future you’d like to achieve.