Congrats to the Class of ’22. Being the third graduating class since the COVID-19 pandemic began, you face challenges that not many have faced before you and there’s no doubt, you will face others during your life and career. Your heart might get broken and your spirit might feel broken, too. Worries might keep you up at night and a problem or unrealized dream might cause you to feel incomplete or dissatisfied. Happiness, at times, might feel unachievable and elusive.
Having said this, below are my tips for how to persevere as you enter the next phase in your life, whether it be continuing with your education or entering the workforce.
1.. Surround yourself with happy people. Happy people are also supportive, warm and giving. These qualities will encourage you to be happy too. Conversely, hanging out with miserable and unhappy people will weigh you down and won’t allow you to focus on your own well-being and goals. So choose who will be part of your inner circle and don’t be afraid to rely on them.
2. Take action. There’s a big difference between worrying and problem solving. The former is about repeating thoughts that are unhelpful and leads to more stress and worry and gets in the way of actually enjoying life and being productive. The latter is focused on getting out of the current way of thinking and making life better. Put on your problem-solver hat and think about solutions. How might you advise a friend who has a similar concern? What steps would you take to ensure a solution? Take action now
3. Know your strengths. As with any venture, it is best to work from a solid foundation. Think of your confidence as a table top that is supported by four legs. Each leg needs to be solidly planted to support the table top. What are your strengths? What are you good at? Maintain your focus on what you are good at, not on what you perceive to be your shortcomings. This mindset will help you to succeed in whatever you pursue.
4. Eliminate the “what-ifs”. This type of thinking is equivalent to getting under that table top and shaking a leg or two. It will destabilize your beliefs, introduce doubt into your thinking, and shake your foundation. Any time you start to think “what-if,” change your thinking to “I will.”
5. Open your mouth and speak. Simply put, open your mouth and say something. Anyone who has made a mark in this world has spoken up, presented their ideas, and taken a chance. Dare to say what you believe in. You might be pleasantly surprised by who listens to you and is impressed by your confidence and innovative thinking.
6. Maintain a positive and optimistic outlook. Encountering negative events in life is normal. For example the pandemic or worsening economy we’ve been dealing with. Understand that such events don’t have to define you or the path that you take. Do your best to find the silver lining, and counter negative thoughts with positive ones. Change the way you think by nixing your negative thinking and seeing problems as challenges and opportunities to learn something new. Think what’s possible, not what’s impossible.
7. Be resilient. There will be naysayers and those who doubt you, but don’t let that stop you from speaking up, taking a chance, and doing what you believe in. Criticism just means you got people thinking. Many who have taken confident and bold steps have faced resistance. Stay focused on what you believe in and forge ahead.
Finally, make friends with uncertainty. Feel okay not knowing exactly how things will turn out and accept the unpredictability of life. Can you imagine how dull things would be if we knew everything that would happen? Think of all that is right with life and embrace ambiguity.
For more tips on living a healthy and stress-free life, check out my book Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days.