Here is a list of things that I want to impart to the “under-twenty five” crowd. Those who are just starting out in their careers, and those who long to make a difference in the world. I share this so that you won’t just have a job, but a life. God can redeem the time, but let’s try to get it right before you start. You will have so many less regrets.

1. Time is going to pass anyway, so you might as well do something worthwhile.

It sounds so obvious, but in order to think about the future, you must start with the basic acceptance of the passage of time. Whether it’s an MBA or a college diploma, it’s tempting to put off the hard work of building credentials that could improve your career options. What starts as “I can’t because I’m too busy” soon becomes “I can’t because there’s a new baby” or “Now there’s three kids.” You can either put the time in now and benefit for years to come, or regret it later and wonder where all the time went. I want you to find the thing that you would do if NO ONE paid you. It means that much to you. It’s your passion. Find that, and move toward it.

2. It’s more stressful being a non-leader than it is being a manager.
The idea of being a leader was intimidating to me at first—making tough decisions, dealing with all the stress and pressure. Why not stick inside a safe cubicle instead? The truth, however, is pretty much the opposite. Research shows that those who manage others actually experience less stress than non-leaders. Managers have more control over resources, authority, delegation, and more power over decisions than their subordinates, which is a huge source of ego satisfaction and stress reduction. So you might as well try and get promoted.

3. You’re going to turn forty some day.
From the time I was in my late twenties, I have had my eye on the big Four-Oh. Why? Because I have known it is a seminal milestone, where the accumulated energy spent on career development and life choices comes home to roost—in either the momentum of a fulfilling life or the depressing realization of a dead end. Start imagining now what you want your life to look like when you are forty: your job, friends, family, home, lifestyle. Nail down those dreams in vivid detail, giving yourself a destination to work toward.

4. Pay attention to what makes you envious.
Everyone experiences that longing for something we see in someone else, and usually there is a good reason for it. Rather than shutting down those feelings, explore what’s behind them, what they say about your passions, your dreams, your development potential. The key to working through envy is to do something about it. Channel those negative feelings into productive, affirming actions that will move you in the direction your subconscious self-image is nudging you toward. The grass may be greener on the other side of the fence, but you still have to mow that field, too.

5. Lean into your fear.
Oddly, it’s not just the fear of failure that stymies us; it’s the fear of success as well: what if you can’t perform? What if you are found out to be a fraud? What if you can’t handle the responsibility? These self-defeating voices can either prevent you from trying at all or can sabotage the opportunities that do come your way. Find a safe friend, a therapist, a mentor, someone who believes in you to process through the negativity and help you embrace your true leadership potential. Small victories will build confidence.

( By J.B. Wood -Shrinkingthecamel.com)

God has given each of us enormous potential for greatness. You can either nurture and grow that potential, or passively ignore it. The decisions you make (or don’t) today will have an enormous impact on where you will be one, five, and fifteen years from now.

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