The Pressure of Competing and Succeeding after College Graduation: 5 Helpful Tips!

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Getting to graduation … 

Graduating college – Not an easy task! If you recently graduated you know exactly what I’m talking about. Many grads have subjected themselves to year after year of constant, self-inflicted “punishment” to get there.  To get to graduation day often means working full-time or part-time while also attending college in the evening, studying for exams and various tests. Let’s also not forget about everyone’s favorite “group projects” on a topic that you couldn’t care less about while simultaneously attempting to complete an internship so you can satisfy your degree’s requirements. Now imagine doing that to yourself day after day, week after week, semester after semester and its easy to see that graduating is no small task! An achievement that should come with a sense of accomplishment and relief, but can also induce a loss of purpose and in some cases, depression. The objective has finally been met, your mind and body are absolutely exhausted, but in terms of a career, all you did was get yourself to the starting line!

Under pressure …

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Any fans of Freddy Mercury? His song comes to mind with its catchy tune. Why these feelings of pressure? You graduated after all! You wore the cap and gown and received a ton of congratulations by your professors who just made your life a living hell for the last couple of years. You did it! 

You finally got that precious degree and made your parents proud!

You should feel accomplished and content with yourself after all those years of hard work, right? Perhaps not…Recent grads report that the initial sense of euphoria tends to quickly fade and a new and troubling reality settles in.

The responsibilities that comes after graduation …

“What now?” is the million dollar question that many start asking themselves. If you were a driven individual during your years of hard work perhaps you scored a decent job proposal. However, many young individuals are unable to land that “dream job” they fantasized about in college. In fact, graduation was 2 months ago and they’re still looking for a job while competing with all of the other college grads fighting for the same opportunities! 

Those student loans are not going anywhere either. Recent grads are reminded of this “new” responsibility fairly quickly, typically via mail. The payment plans kick in around the 6 month post-graduation mark. So before the first payment hits your bank account (and please make sure you don’t default on your loans!), a college grad has about 2 quarters to hopefully find a good job opportunity in their studied major. 

The freedom of choosing your life …

The post-graduation period is the beginning of an era in self-exploration not only in one’s career development but also in their personal and intimate life. The following techniques can keep your journey moving forward on the road of success:

  1. Decide what it is you want to become – This is a tough one, probably the most difficult step in the process after graduation. You may not be able to specify it exactly, but if you have at least an idea you’re already on the right path. Recent graduates find themselves disillusioned with the real world, there’s a real and inevitable clash between the college life vs the 9-5 work life! As long as you have some sort of a vision, you will be able to design a game plan. There are hundreds, if not thousands of life and career coaches who can assist you in identifying your passion and vision for yourself.
  2. Clearly define your goals – I have spoken on this topic in the past and firmly believe that without specific and measurable goals, the desired outcome will be unreachable. How can you pursue something if you don’t have a map? Create the map first, then follow the required steps in order to get to the end destination. And if your goals change, that’s just fine and dandy, but at least you have already achieved one, two, or three steps which allowed you to get to the point of deciding to shift your end goal! Aim for progress!
  3. Be ready to relocate – If you are at a stage in your life where you are not settled yet and are able to move to another part of the country (a stage many new grads finds themselves in) – then do so! Highly specialized jobs are generally located in highly specialized areas, that’s a no brainer! So if you are determined to rise above your competition you have to follow the jobs and make the necessary adjustments. Many people do not like change, they fear the unknown and are not willing to loose their social networks. While there’s nothing wrong with that per se, you might be out of luck in the area where you live in. There are many young individuals out there who are willing to take the chance and get their feet wet in a new city creating new friends, meeting new co-workers and making new memories. Choose, but choose wisely! Whatever you decide to do, make sure to consider the pros and cons of each situation. Sometimes a new job offering $20, 000 or even $30, 0000 more in San Francisco may equate to the same salary in Florida after considering the cost of living in each area! Put that into perspective!
  4. Be flexible –  when searching for jobs try to forget the expectation others have for you. If you decided that you actually don’t like to work what you studied for – that’s OK. In fact, many do! If your family is disappointed  by your decision, so be it. It may not be ideal – after all, now you have to repay those student loans you borrowed, but what’s the point to pursue a miserable job, one that you’d only despise? Use the skills you have acquired during college to specifically describe how you could be of value to your prospective employers. Show purpose and determination – some (many) jobs are won by character and confidence!
  5. Create a healthy lifestyle – yeah, yeah, I know you’ve probably heard that a million times but it’s true. Exercise, sleep and diet are important tools for your success. As a matter of fact, this trio is key in your career and personal development. Lack of sleep, eating fast food and idle work/ life regime will stifle your ambition and drag your energy level to a new low. Time and time again research has shown how this trifecta has the immense power to impact individual’s physical and mental capabilities. Therefore, take care of your mind and body!

If you’re interested and would like to learn more on this or similar topics, make sure to follow us!

 Become Who You Are!

 

New Year, Same Old You? Why setting New Year’s Resolutions has not shown to be effective.

Happy New Year to our wonderful followers !!

It is indeed the year 2018, and most likely many of you have already started working towards your New Year’s Resolutions. As  January 1st approaches, most people focus on such goals as loosing weight, exercising (Hello gym memberships!) and finding a new job. By the end of week 2 however, all that enthusiasm is  likely forgotten as the routine and mundane work and life troubles return in full force. Why are New Year’s Resolutions ultimately ineffective?

It starts with a thought…

Setting goals take some time. Most people tend to make a list of the top 5 or 10 ideas that have been circulating in their mind (for like the last 10 years). Instead, why not take the time to dive deep within and actually figure out what drives you? Who are you now? Who don’t you want to be? Who do you want to be?  How can you get there? What actually makes you happy? What is your passion? What brings contentment and joy to your soul? These are questions worth pondering. Start there. You may not like the answers to some of them. But even though it may be scary to experience a sense of vulnerability when truly assessing oneself, the act will serve as motivate to take the next step. Be specific when answering the above questions. When your goals are generic and abstract in nature, the chances you will follow though are slim to non-existent. So look within, and be specific when determining your goals.

It starts with a plan…

OK, so you have set those goals. Awesome! You have the list in front of you. But actually achieving these goals can be challenging. The idea behind New Year’s resolutions is that individuals can start on a clean slate: New Year, New You –  forget the mistakes of the prior year and focus on your best future self. And while this may look great on paper, in reality it creates a few difficulties for those who actually attempt to implement their resolutions. You have to start with a plan and you must execute it, but more on that later. Planning means that you have to purposely decide to stick to your agenda despite the daily  life and work anxieties that you’ll encounter. Planning also should include your resolve to stick to agenda despite your mind trying to sabotage you into abandoning your goals. You have to outsmart yourself, so plan wisely.

      It starts with an action…

“Breaking the Habit”, the famous Linkin Park song might serve as an inspiration . The unhealthy or unwanted behaviors that individuals perform each and every day, week after week, month after month, year after year are difficult (yet not impossible!) to break. People have their go-to daily routines which become deeply ingrained in them.  It takes a lot of effort to change such behavior. What is amazing though, is that once an action is implemented, then another action follows, then another, and another…pretty soon the goal is within reach! Implementing your plan takes bold moves and action in order to change a routine. It takes discipline, determination and drive. Determine what you want/need to achieve (dig deep and be specific), make a comprehensive plan (and plan to stick to your plan when the going gets tough), and take action! It may be difficult but the reword is more than worth it.

 

 

So how are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? Are you holding strong or have you taken a temporary break? Drop us a line and share your experiences. We would love to brainstorm with you, support and encourage you to Become Who You Are!!

Looking Forward to Thanksgiving Dinner with the Family?

Is the approaching holiday weekend stressing you out?

Guess what? You are not the only one! And no, I’m not talking about the extra pounds gained from the oven-baked turkey your mom prepared, or the stuffing, mash potatoes and let’s not forget, your aunt’s amazing apple pie you’ve been dying for. We all know the pounds are coming, but cant help looking forward to the food! No, I’m not taking about the meal and the drinks! What I have in mind is something else entirely, and that is the anxiety of seeing family members who may not have been your biggest friends or supporters.

You know who I’m talking about, right? I mean those family members who have to, and I mean just have to say the most irritating, often inappropriate “words of wisdom” while lecturing you as to why your life is not measuring up to your cousin Joe. Bingo you say, and that make me crazy!

So what to do? Thanksgiving is this week… Make a game plan!

First things first! Be aware of your feelings. Mindfulness is always helpful and is often needed to decrease your level of nervousness. Remember, anxiety often tends to provide panic type symptoms – you become sure that something horrible will happen, you won’t act appropriate, etc. etc. Sometimes anxiety can be so overwhelming that an individual can become incapacitated to the point that they can’t even process the upcoming “disaster”. You think your parents won’t get along with your in-laws… Guess what? Maybe you’re right, maybe you’re not. But one thing is for certain: if your anxiety is through the roof, your spouse will surely notice it, your parents will notice it too, and everyone’s behavior will change for the worse. Everyone will be on edge, and most likely no one will have fun.

You need to relax

I know it’s a cliche, and you’ve heard it about a million times but it’s true. Take a deep breath, and let go! And then do it again. Actually, try breathing slowly for a while. Inhale and exhale. Several things will begin to happen:  your muscles, all tensed and contracted a minute ago, will slowly ease. Your feelings of panic and that “all hell will break loose” will also subdue. Instead of a flurry of thoughts entering your mind simultaneously,  you will slowly start to develop a strategy… perhaps generate a list of relevant talking points for dinner conversation (just remember to avoid politics at all cost!).

You can even “role play” different situations: in your mind and/or with a friend

Odd you may think. Well, think again. Imagine you’re going to a job interview. You most likely will rehearse several Q&As before you show up in front of that 5 person panel you were told about on the phone interview. It’s basically the same thing. Yes, it’s sad that you have to role play a potentially tense or confrontational conversation with your family, but remember – you are trying to get through this holiday. Stay focused! Embrace the awkwardness of the role play and practice.

By doing this, you can anticipate and prepare for almost anything. Yes, topics such as no current boyfriend/girlfriend? (“What happened with that nice guy/gal you dated a while back?”),  not married yet… no kids!!?? (“Why yes, aunt Lydia, I have postponed marriage/ kids at this time. I’m focusing my attention on my career so I’m not broke when I turn 65”). And let’s not forget the old favorite of how you didn’t follow your parents’ hope for your career (“You work in a gallery?”).  These topics should be first on your list. I repeat: prepare and rehearse, rehearse and prepare.

And who knows? You might actually enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend after all. And if all else fails, remember this: the last suggestion of this article: you can always make the extra trip to the kitchen for that pie! :0

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!