The best advice I ever received came from my Dad during Junior year of college. I was struggling mightily that year and there was a chance I would not see graduation.
As I explained the situation to my Dad, he said, “you have two choices; get your act together, commit to your studies and graduate college or come home now and you’ll see, Buddy Boy, what life is like with no college education.”
Admittedly, not the most eloquent way to state my options, but I got his point. I changed my major to something aligned with my interests and innate abilities and not only graduated on-time, but made the Dean’s List along the way (the “good” list this time). Looking back on the experience of this challenge, the changes I made and ultimately succeeding taught me a few things:
- Do what you love- In life there are many instances where we have to tackle something we are not crazy about. But we do our best and get through it. I have found life to be way more enjoyable when you choose an education, a career or any task that you love. When I switched majors I excelled at my studies. I truly looked forward to the education part of my experience in college. Doing what you love brings some terrific benefits- joy, peace and contentment. And the money will come.
- Perseverance- This was the first time in my life where I was faced with tough choices and I was looking at difficult road ahead if I did not complete my education. Buckling down, making an informed decision about what I wanted to do at school and committing myself to a course of action in the face of adversity, had a tremendous impact on me. When confronted with even tougher challenges in my career (downsizing, business contraction, etc.) I have been able to tap into the experiences of college and bravely forged ahead. I have not been distracted during times of unemployment and each time found myself in a better situation than the last. Moments like these build character and reveal to yourself and the world, who you are.
- Pride in a job well done- Having found success in my new direction during college, I learned about pride; pride in your work but more importantly pride in yourself. It is a wonderful boost to your confidence to know you not only persevered, but you excelled after putting in the hard work to excel. Along with pride in the accomplishment, I learned it is never too late to make a change. Whether it is being a better student, better employee, better spouse or better golfer (yes I have worked hard on my golf game and lowered my handicap by 5 strokes in one season), you can improve as long as you put forth the effort and hard work. Take pride in that- you did it!!
- There are no short cuts- Abraham Lincoln said, “If I had 6 hours to cut down a tree, I would spend 4 hours sharpening the axe.” To do what you love, to persevere, to achieve positive results, to make a change anywhere in your life, you must commit the time to do so. Embrace the task ahead; feel confident you can make a change and do the work…you will amaze yourself and the world.
From one simple talk with my Dad, I learned much about myself and what I can accomplish.