Written By Robyn Shulman
In July of 2012, I was interviewed on video for the “American Dream Project” run by Xavier University. I was greatly honored, humbled, and most of all grateful to be able to participate in such a tremendous movement. If you have not heard of this project, please take a few minutes to read about it at this site: http://www.xavier.edu/americandream/programs/composite-index.cfm.
One of the questions I was asked to prepare for was the following: “What is your advice for all of the young dreamers out there?” I thought about this question for a long time. I had so much to share, and since my time was limited, I would like to share a bit of these thoughts here.
If I were to sit in a room with young dreamers, I would say:
1. Always follow your instinct: You have an inner voice that will talk to you for many situations. Listen to that voice and hear it loudly. Don’t ignore it. The universe will reach out to you many times in your life, pay attention and use your own inner guidance and strength.
2. Focus on your strengths, and not your weaknesses: Whatever you are good at doing, strive to do it better. Don’t focus on what you cannot do, but rather, what you can do. Become an expert in your field, but remember to always stay open minded in regard to other ideas, resources, etc. Don’t waste precious time involved in an area that doesn’t spark your interest, as you will put your true calling on hold.
3. Follow your passion: Try and stay within the areas of work you love. You will always be at your best doing what you truly love.
4. Research a career choice before majoring in it: Take the time to research the field of work in which you are interested. Read about current trends, job opportunities, and requirements. Check to see what the competition is like, and if there is a great need or overpopulation in the field. Talk to those who are currently working in your prospective occupation, as to get a true sense before jumping in. Ask to shadow someone for a day to see what the job is really like. There is a big difference between the image and the reality of many chosen careers.
5. Make career decisions using both your head and heart: Focus on what you love to do, but keep reality in check. Don’t become a gym teacher if you live in a small neighborhood with few schools (unless you plan on moving). Remember, there is a need and demand for everything, and this is especially true in the work force.
6. Stop and think before you send that text, post a picture, or write an email: Everything you say and every picture you post online is on a server somewhere forever, even when you delete it. Pause for a moment and think: “Would a potential employer hire me if he/she saw this?” “Would my parents approve?” If you even have to ask yourself these questions, than you already know the answer.
7. For every fall, jump up twice: Always keep going no matter who/what tells you no, you can’t, or you didn’t get in. Go for another one, another place, try again and keep trying again until you succeed, because you will.
8. Be aware of the playing field: The playing field has been leveled for those who hold a college degree. Ask yourself the following: “What makes me different than the graduate next to me?’ “How will I stand out?” Know yourself well and define your uniqueness. You are unique but you must be able to see this within yourself before anyone else will notice. Stand above the crowd, but also do it in the right way.
9. Make use of your time wisely: Read, read, and read more. Don’t waste time scanning entertainment columns, watching you tube videos and drowning in social media. Read about things that matter. Learn, share, and grow. Pay attention to what is going on in the world around you, visit other places and enjoy your life. Indulge in nature, connect with friends and family, and visit those you love in person, not only through your iPhone.
10. Last, but not least, give, give and give some more: Whatever you do in life, always choose to give to others. Give your time, information, hold the door, and smile. Make a difference and reach out to those less fortunate than you. Giving doesn’t have to be a groundbreaking event. Simply give where you can. You will be surprised at how much you will receive in return for being selfless instead of being selfish. Giving is the greatest gift in life, and the best route toward finding your own true fulfillment, as well as, your purpose.