These are some of the things I try to convey to the young people I mentor.
1. Fortune favors the well-prepared. Take the time, and put in the effort, to become a master of your craft, whatever it is, and you’ll come out ahead every time.
2. Get as much education as you can. The vagaries of life can take away your job, your wealth, your home, and just about everything else, but once you’ve got an education, it’s yours forever.
3. Learn to communicate well, verbally and in writing. You can know everything there is to know, but if you can’t successfully convey it to others, you’ve won only half the battle.
4. There is no substitute for hard work. Make sure the grunt work gets done and the details are looked after, and your big goals will be much easier to achieve.
5. Go the extra mile. Always do a little bit more than required. Not only will you get more done in the long run, but your efforts will be recognized and rewarded.
6. It’s all about relationships. Your success in your career, and in life, depends largely on your ability to interact well with people. Treat everyone, from the custodian to the CEO, with courtesy and respect.
7. Never give up. Even the best and the brightest suffer setbacks from time to time. When those happen, and they will, pick yourself up, learn from the experience, and move on.
8. When one door closes, another one often opens. For instance, losing your current job can seem like the end of the world, but it can easily lead to a better one somewhere else.
9. Don’t forget the work/life balance. It’s important to work hard and be successful in your career, but that doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have a solid personal life to go with it.
10. It’s said: “Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” It’s true. Discover your true passion, find it as early in life as you can, and then stick to it.
Bonus Idea: Regardless of what you’re doing, make it fun!