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ARN Graduations Special! - 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Graduated


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I still remember my graduation. Classes were over, I had sold my last book back to the book store, had a job lined up, and was ready to go out on my own.

I was prepared. Or was I? I was having a cup of coffee with a recent graduate and was asked, “If I had just 10 minutes, what advice would I give to a new college graduate?”

If you are reading this…you may be a recent graduate ready to embark on your journey looking for tips….you may be a parent who has an eagle entering the “real world” who is looking for some advice to give…..or you may just be someone who hasn’t made much progress since college and you are ready to handle life with a fresh outlook. Regardless, these are the tips from my exact 10 minute conversation.

  • Stop Being So Smart – You just left college with an education, and you probably 1) Think you know a lot, and 2) Are tired of old farts like me telling you “you don’t know anything yet.” Here me out. Your brain isn’t done, and nor is it full. You MUST KEEP LEARNING. Read books, meet new people, ask questions, and question the things you think you already know. When learning, start with an empty cup. New ideas cant fit in a full glass. Be open to new ideas, and keep a journal of one new thing that you learned every day.

  • Learn To Sell – Learn to sell yourself to potential employers and you will get better jobs and more money. Learn to sell yourself to potential relationships and you will end up with better relationships. Learn to sell your ideas and you will find more people who will listen. Good salespeople get what they want. People who cant sell settle for whats left. Sales is one of the most valuable skills you can learn. The BASICS will take you further than many other people have ever gone. While we are at it, drop the idea that salespeople are sleazy. The best influencers in the world are the ones who can sell their ideas to people.

  • Stop Eating Alone – Network, network, network. Have a couple of meals or cups of coffee every week with people you can learn from. Ask questions, take notes, and follow up. Be an awesome person. Nothing impresses me more than people who remember my kids names, even though they don’t have to. Build lasting relationships with people who are better than you at things you would like to be better at. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Spend time with awesome people.

  • Take Time To Look Up – OK…I knew I would lose some people on this one. I am writing this in 2018. Maybe you are reading this in the year 2406 and smartphones are not a thing. Look up. Enjoy nature and all the beautiful and amazing things that God created for a few minutes a day. Look up when you are having a meeting or a conversation. Stop staring at your laptop or phone when people are talking. Learn to make eye contact with the world. It shows confidence and respect, and it is something that not enough people do.

  • Have A Strong High 5 – This is a personal favorite of mine. I give a lot of high fives. Corny…maybe. Does it make people smile…usually. Its unexpected, and I can only think of one time (at Target in the Starbucks line) that someone refused my high 5 because they thought I was a weirdo. Hundreds of high 5s over the years with cashiers to CEOs. Be memorable and be you. Don’t stop doing things at the expense of looking “professional.”

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