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20 Secret Tips From Young Movers and Shakers

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My friends and colleagues are extremely successful young movers and shakers who are engineers, CEOs, lawyers, consultants, founders, film makers, designers, and, most importantly, awesome people. Recently, I crowd sourced some for their best pieces of advice for future movers and shakers, here it is:

1. Courage and creativity are a daring combination. "Truly impactful work in science comes from simple questions that have never been asked. In order to find them you need the creative thinking and the courage to be original." - Jose M. Orozco worked for NiH Director Francis Collins and is a MD/PhD Candidate at Harvard Medical School.

2. Fate favors the bold -- calculate the risks and take them. "Fresh out of Cambridge Business School, I maxed out my credit card on a one-way flight to Shanghai. I had never been to Shanghai, spoke just three words of Chinese, and only carried a single dollar bill in my wallet. My dream was to change how students applied to university by connecting them to mentors and reliable information over the web. I had considered the risks and decided to go for it. Fifteen months later ChaseFuture.com is the world's fastest growing admissions consulting platform and we've helped over 50,000 students apply to university." - Greg Nance, Founder and CEO of ChaseFuture, Truman Scholar

3. Listen. For real. Whether in business or in our personal lives, modern professionals tend to interact with others as a means to attaining our individual needs and wants or furthering our own agendas. All too often--while "listening" to our colleagues, friends, and family members--we are merely waiting to say our piece, either presupposing their positions or unwittingly ignoring their expressions altogether. Genuinely listening to others not only helps us to better understand them and increase the goodwill in our relationships, but it also opens us up to new approaches, ways of thinking, and consciousness of complexities we may have previously overlooked. *Note: the author is still working on this skill - Chris Hollins, Harvard MBA finishing up his JD at Yale Law School

4. Create super fans, not customers. 100 users whom love you is better than one million users whom sort of like you. We were able to grow 40% month over month without marketing or advertising. The traffic was purely word of mouth. That's the power of delivering happiness and care to the users. - David Chen - Co-founder and CEO of Strikingly

5. Take care of your whole self. This is due; that is pressing; these tasks are important. The list goes on. In the rush to accomplish, finish, impress, it is easy to forget that self-care--care of the whole self--is essential. Without it, we cannot be our best selves and, as a result, we cannot produce our best work. I find that spending time with my family, creating a piece of art (no matter how small!), and enjoying a novel on the Metro allow me to reconnect with parts of myself that are often shifted to the side when other things compete for my attention. Take a moment to do what makes you truly happy. Find a way to disconnect for just a few minutes each day, or for many minutes every few days, to breathe, rejuvenate, and care for yourself. - Marisa West, Harvard University and Yale Law School Grad

6. Make the choice that you want your future self to make. Each choice you make makes it easier make that same choice again. There is a Cherokee story: one evening, an old man is telling his grandson about a battle constantly going on inside of him. The battle is between two wolves - one good, one evil. The grandson asks: "which wolf wins?" To which the old man replies: "the one that I feed." Similarly, each decision you make feeds the part of you that makes the same decision again. Do you choose to give up? It'll be easier to give up again tomorrow. Do you choose to eat healthy? It'll be easier to eat healthy again tomorrow. Do you choose to settle? It'll be easier to settle again tomorrow. - Eddie Vaisman, Software Development Engineer (and 1st employee!) at Censio

7. Take All Meetings... You never know when a connection will come back to help you. When I was starting up CODE2040, a nonprofit that creates pathways to success for Blacks and Latinos in the innovation economy, I felt totally overwhelmed by everything I had to do to get the organization up and running. While I was toiling away, people would hear about the fledging startup and want to chat about what we were up to and how they could get involved. I was already swamped, and spending time chatting with strangers didn't seem like it could possibly be efficient, but I had no idea how to vet all the inbound requests to determine which were worth my time and which weren't. So - I didn't. I took every meeting. While some, it's true, turned out to not be the most productive use of my time, many more were amazing - and a choice few lead to relationships that now benefit CODE2040 immensely. If nothing else, it's good networking karma. - Laura Weidman, Co-founder and Executive Director at CODE2040, Stanford JD/MBA

8. Do the things that scare you because those will be the moments when you truly feel alive. I've always been a bit of a risk-taker: jumping out of a plane when I turned 18, traveling alone in foreign countries before I was old enough to drive and constantly putting myself into situations where I had a high rejection of failure. But starting Kuli Kuli has taken more courage than I knew I had. From running a $50,000 crowdfunding campaign to convincing grocery store buyers that our Moringa nutritional bars are worth their shelf space, I've had to put myself out there. We've gotten a lot of rejections but I've never regretted my decision to start this company. I've never felt more alive." - Lisa Curtis, Co-founder and CEO of Kuli Kuli

9. Travel. As an undergraduate student, I studied and conducted research in France, South Africa, China, Zambia, and Tanzia! My experiences abroad helped me to realize my passion for international relations. Now as the U.S. Youth Delegate to the United Nations, I am glad I went abroad. - Tiffany Taylor, Columbia MPH & Harvard MPP Candidate

10. Never, ever, EVER take no for an answer. In my experience, my biggest triumphs were when I was told that something couldn't happen, something wasn't possible, or that I couldn't do something. I don't know if it gave me the motivation to prove those people wrong, or if these were simply things I cared about deeply, but nothing feels better than when you overcome a flat "no." Think of every "no" as "it depends" instead, and watch yourself make the magic happen. - Sarah Tishler, Duke University JD/LLM Candidate

11. You know you love your career when you can't help but talk about it over a glass of wine. I've had a lot of jobs. I worked in renewable energy, at a biotech start-up, made body wash formulas and thousands of gallons of chemicals. I liked every one of those jobs, but they were jobs. The day that I went to go meet friends for drinks after work and couldn't help but talk about what I had accomplished/learned that day--- good or bad -- was when I knew I had found my passion. Never stop searching for it until you find yourself so consumed with excitement that you forget that glass of Pino Noir on the table. Footnote: but never forget the people you're sharing it with. - Emma Chory, Chemical Engineering PhD Candidate at Stanford University.

12. People are the first and last thing that matter at the end of the day. They're who give you meaning, support you, teach you things, and who create experiences with you. You can always be better to them. When I managed my first business I was so busy I didn't appreciate my employees. I realize now that dedicating energy to improving communication, sharing ideas, and offering support is important and something to be learned and built upon. - Sam Smith, Operations Manager, First Round Capital; NYU grad

13. Teamwork is the ability to let go of "Me" to focus on "We". As a software engineer for the Boston Red Sox, I have experienced that a teammate is not just someone with whom you work closely; it is anyone that is willing to work towards a goal greater than the individual. You don't have to spearhead a mission critical project to be a great teammate. All teammates have a role, and no matter how big or small that role is, if you ignite a passion in your teammates, you surely will be in the right position for success. The Boston Red Sox displayed an immeasurable amount of teamwork this year, and the result, a 2013 World Series title. - Danny White, Software Engineer at Red Sox

14."Don't think of success as a marathon--think of it as a series of sprints fueled by knowledge. At the end of the day, no matter the industry, something new is always discovered and the "finish line" fades away. This is why we don't run a marathon. We sprint, as fast as we can, with the knowledge we have, until we discover something new that will allow us to run faster and farther to our next checkpoint." - Desmond Wong, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of LTM

15. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Most folks want to help. They just need to be told how they can help. Especially if they know of you as one of the hardest workers they know, and especially important if they can see and hear your passion.. - Emile Cambry, Founder and CEO of BLUE1647; Northwestern MBA

16. Create a braintrust. None of us lives in a vacuum. But in the wake of leaving my career at McKinsey & Company to found a nonprofit, I suffered almost immediately from the absence of the kind of open and friendly advice and feedback I enjoyed working at a big firm. So I created my own personal braintrust. A group of friends and former colleagues I contact by email on a periodic basis with the kind of burning personal questions or advice on my work building CareerVillage.org, the online volunteering program I run. For me, it's as simple as emailing a group, and I observe a few rules for contacting them: ask for permission to put people on the list, only email when you need something, keep it personal, and put everyone on BCC. I can't tell you how many times this has paid dividends for me or my organization. - Jared Chung, Founder and Executive Director of Career Village

17. Time is valuable. It's important to be efficient the first time around. One of the first things I did was build our internal systems. I asked similar organizations what software they used to collect data, and they responded with what not to use and why it wasted time for them. It narrowed our choice to one option." - Chirag Sagar, Former Managing Director at MoneyThink

18. No one is expecting you to be an expert...yet! Building your expertise can be strategic, but never underestimate the power of diverse experiences. After interning at well-known gyms and apprenticing under fitness experts, I graduated from the University of Chicago with an immense passion to become the next health and fitness guru. However, I committed the next two years of my life to Teach for America. On paper this career move made no clear sense; many of my friends asked, "You'll be teaching P.E. right?!" My experience educating 6th graders uncovered my leadership style, birthed a new passion to empower youth within me, and honed my time management, organizational, and communication skills. If I had stuck to what was familiar and comfortable in hopes of becoming an expert, I would have forsaken meaningful life experiences that I gained by venturing to the classroom. - Isis Smalls, Miss Houston 2014

19. Believe in BYOB - Being Your Own Boss. I've found that attractive careers come in waves - Law, Banking, Consulting, Tech, Repeat - and that its hard to choose a career based on what YOU as a individual and YOU as a professional want/need. By thinking like you are the CEO of your career and by Being Your Own Boss - per se - we can all experience happier, more successful lives and careers. - Winzell Steele, Google Acquisitions Specialist; Morehouse mam

20. Be flexible. Whether it's choosing a career or deciding the strategy for your company, I've found that being flexible has paved the way to many successes. I went into UC Berkeley planning to attend law school, but discovered my passion for building things. Instead of staying on the path to attend law school, I took a turn and started Enplug. We started the company by living and working together (13 people in one house!). Because of our flexibility, we were able to save a lot of money to quickly expand our product into 30 cities in one year. So stretch your focus and let your flexibility lead you to great opportunities. - Nanxi Liu, CEO of Enplug

21. You are not your job title. It's important to me to make a distinction from yourself and your job title. Whenever I meet someone for the first time at either a local or national event, I make it a point to be my authentic-self. I remember after sitting on a social entrepreneurs panel, a senior executive of a prestigious company thanked me for having a GREAT sense of humor and for being myself and not someone else's idea of what a CEO or leader should be like. I took that to heart from that day forward. - Lynette Correa, Founder/CEO of Career Coaching 4 Kidz