Graduation season is definitely here and even if you don't have a family member or friend graduating this spring, the feeling of new beginnings is all around. Each year when I see graduates out to dinner or brunch, or taking photos with family members, I feel reflective on the life I have built and the decisions I made when I was young, impressionable and first joining the working world. Thinking back, I feel pretty proud of the strong sense of self I had then and I am even more proud that I am able to maintain that strength today. Putting yourself out there can be tough, and staying authentic -- even tougher.
When I was starting out as a young woman in the business world, it was a challenge. Putting myself "out there" meant being brave, staying strong and having the confidence to know I was capable of doing anything I put my mind to. These types of challenges follow all of us when paving a new path, taking the plunge into something different or even picking back up after some time away. As things began to grow and develop professionally for me, the temptation to simply follow the popular path became more frequent, seemed like the easier road and oftentimes offered immediate satisfaction rather than a slow steady rise. In the face of others telling me what I should do, I managed to stay honest with my dreams and true to my goals, ultimately (and eventually) finding my own personal feeling of success.
Spring seems like the perfect time to think reflectively on the key values to keep close when looking to change your life path. Maybe you did recently graduate from high school or college, maybe you're looking to start a new career or your own business -- whatever road you're on, staying true to yourself, true to your dreams and showing your authentic self to the world is essential to finding that ultimate feeling of achievement.
Over the course of the last 20 years, many things have changed and developed in my life. Here are some excellent guidelines I have picked up along the way and have learned to follow, without a doubt:
- Stay true to your core values. As opportunities arise and you start to feel moments of success, it's easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of business and life choices -- and you may feel pressure to make decisions that go against your intuition. Remember that you are your strongest asset, stand by your decisions and do what you feel is right.
- Keep your dreams at the forefront of your plans. If anyone ever tells you that dreams are silly or aren't something that can be achieved -- remember this: They are wrong! Your dreams are the basis for everything you can and will achieve in your life -- and don't forget that.
- Maintain solid and true friendships. Friendships fulfill some of the best parts of life -- including your most personal moments (like success) or (even failure). Your true friends can be relied on when you're laughing, smiling or crying -- and you should do the same. Some friends are lifelong, and some will come and go -- but most importantly, remember that true friendships mean being honest, even when times are tough.
- Remember where you came from. Maintaining respect for your roots is essential to knowing who you are and where your values were born. For some of us that goes as far back as our distant ancestors, and for some of us that simply means the people who raise you up when you need a boost. Regardless of who fills this role for you, remember and keep them close to your heart.
- Be yourself. There's nothing more true than this statement. Staying true to yourself doesn't always mean you'll choose the popular path, but it does mean that you'll follow your instincts and will let your personal values guide your choices in life. Don't be afraid to be honest and candid about who you are -- you'll be respected and looked to for this incredible quality.
Being authentic can be one of the most challenging prospects life throws our way -- especially when making waves in business or making drastic life changes. Regardless, authenticity is respected, admired and is the driving factor of those who achieve the success born in dreams. By maintaining your true self, the world will relate to you, will want to know you and will certainly provide the opportunities necessary to reach the stars.
Lots of love and respect
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