I found myself watching the X-Games one summer day and couldn’t help but think about how easy the athletes made things look. The BMX bikes twisted, spun, and cart wheeled with delicate precision, the motocross riders laid out, jumped over, flipped, and let go of their cycles at altitudes that would make me queasy, and the skateboarders choreographed artistic movements with a flat board and wheels that seemed to defy the basic laws of physics.
Each competitor would be the first to tell you that the secret to making the movements look so easy is years of massive mental and physical preparation. This would include enough failed attempts and injuries to properly learn the moves, followed by enough success to instill the confidence to do them successfully in competition. If everyone prepared for their life and career like these X-games athletes, this world would be light years ahead of where it is now.
What you have in common with these X-Games athletes is that you have the time and opportunities available to transform yourself into someone employers will jump at the chance to hire.
Preparation shouldn’t be a foreign concept. You prepared for college. Now it’s time to kick things up a notch and get a head start on your future career and the competition you will face when you get there. Getting a good head start is all about planting a couple of important mental seeds right now.
The first mental seed you’ll want to plant is acceptance. You must accept the fact that you will have to do more than achieve a degree to realize your career goals. Accepting this fact now will help you invest your time, energy, and personal resources more wisely.
The second mental seed you want to plant is awareness–an awareness to recognize opportunities that can help you acquire the abilities, strengths, experiences, attributes, and traits that can make you the dynamic and highly marketable person you know yourself to be. Taking advantage of additional opportunities can help you expand your creativity, build a stronger character, boost self-esteem, and produce experiences that help you transform and evolve.
My brother, Tim Russ, is a successful actor. His longest running role was that of Tuvok in the Star Trek “Voyager” television series. As with the majority of actors, the road to success wasn’t paved for him. He had to carve it out every step of the way. After deciding he wanted to pursue a career as an actor, he attended a university that specialized in the theatrical arts. Aside from simply earning a BA degree, Tim set the stage for a successful career as an actor by competing for roles in productions the school sponsored each year. These roles increased his confidence, helped him learn his craft, and gave him successful experiences to draw upon after graduation, when he competed in the real world.
The clock started ticking the moment you entered college. A shift in awareness now can pay huge dividends when it comes to competing for a job. Make the decision now to stay alert as to how you can take advantage of opportunities that can put you ahead of your future career competition.
Michael J. Russ is an international bestselling author, speaker and the founder of Zero AdversityTM Training. His life philosophy centers around a quote by Rumi, a 13th Century Poet: There is something I do not know, the knowing of which could change everything. Michael plants seeds of knowledge that help you grow and prosper now and for a lifetime. To inquire about how you can help eliminate the hidden adversity that is holding back those in your college, university, association, company, or organization, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.