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We are all too familiar with the loving advice we heard as youth from loving adults in our lives telling us all their ancient history and sharing encouraging words like, "Little Sally, apply yourself and through your valiant efforts, dreams and studying hard you will achieve greatness!".

Well, I mean they were somewhat right. However, if I may, they missed a few key ingredients to set us up for real success. Someone should warn us (or I suppose you since I technically already lived past most of the "learning curves"), that sometimes it's going to get bumpy. Life brings several set backs , some and perhaps many of which are not a direct correlation to how well we did or didn't apply ourselves.

So let's talk real talk.

I am here to tell you that, Yes, you need to apply yourself, work hard and dream big, but in order to not be blind sided like so many of us, brace yourself. The truth is, life is going to get even tougher then what it is right now for you (well especially because we are assuming that you are just getting started. If you have been in the "adulthood phase" for some time, disregard this comment).

So back to the real talk. The truth is it may be hard to find work that you love, work that is somewhat closely related to that pricey degree of yours and that actually aligns with your passions.

There is also the issue of people. Working with people I believe is the hardest challenge life throws us, other than marriage and parenthood of course (not to scare you, marriage and parenthood is great- just a lot of work too).

Then out of nowhere, some people simply won't like you without any particular reason (congratulations and welcome to the human species, we are super fun!). You will also come to find that some, if not all, of your co-workers are not going to share the same core values and beliefs as you. They will be opinionated and perhaps unable to understand what constructive feedback actually sounds like. They may even be a little egotistical and selfish. There might even come a time that they try to take credit for all the awesomeness you create through your work. Yes, even that.

Now, my apologies for perhaps fully discouraging you of the great things adulthood has to bring. I know it is a lot to take in, but it is not impossible to make it great and also, let me be clear... it is not always hard! I mean you have to sleep, right?

I can guarantee you that the tough patches will make you stronger. They will help you become you, learn what you love and are not willing to change.

Here are a few key suggestions that I believe will help you do and accomplish all the great things that Granny keeps telling you that you should do.

1. Invest time in the important relationships you currently have and eliminate the ones that you know are not healthy for you.

  • That means go get a coffee, call and send cards to the people you love, who you can pour into and they can pour into you! You will thank yourself later for caring for these valuable individuals who at some point in time you will need to call upon and be confident in trusting that they have your best interest at heart.

2. Find a mentor that you respect and is willing to invest into you.

  • You need someone who isn't family or a super close friend who will be critical and instructive when it comes to your professional development (spiritual development too if possible).

3. Find a hobby that isn't about being "fun", but that helps you reflect, relax and renew.

  • I once heard a story about a millionaire who picked up every penny he ever came across. Not because he needed it, but because he wanted a reminder that his success could come and go, ultimately all we have is given to us by God. Which by the way if you didn't know is referred to on all of our American bills and change.

  • Personally, I like journaling. Now don't make fun. This is legit. Pick a favorite book or study and after reading a portion, reflect and meditate on it and see your spirit grow by leaps and bounds.

4. Allow yourself to fail.

  • You aren't going to get it right every time, no matter how smart, intuitive or sharp you are. There is something to be said about a leader who is willing to recognize that they are not always the smartest person in the room. Therefore, be ok with who you are, acknowledge your set backs and know your own limitations.


  • At some point you will get an opportunity to lead, develop or build a team. Don't take this lightly. Even if you don't have open roles or the "right fit" for someone, if you see the talent, self-discipline and "right stuff", move forward! If you can get the right people on the team, everything else will follow!

Well, I hope this introduction to some of the bumps and bruises that are to come wasn't too scary and that the tips might help you avoid some of those.