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Keep Your Head Held High

31 May 2011 11,818 views No Comment

Photo by 500px user Olga Skrund

Time goes by fast. Real fast. It has been just about a year since moving out to Huntington Beach, California and boy have I learned a lot–personally and professionally. Overcoming adversity has been something I’ve been used to growing up. Challenges motivate me and push me to go the extra mile…when I set my mind to it. Failures disappoint me, but I’ve learned to pick myself back up. I absolutely hate failing and will not accept failure as an option.

“Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up.”
Alfred Pennyworth to Bruce Wayne (Batman Begins 2005)

When times get tough it’s easier to give up and throw in the towel. Trust me, I’ve been there multiple times this past year (2010). Sometimes it seems like you just can’t catch a break. You will. Sometimes it seems like the world is against you. It’s not. Sometimes it seems like you’re by yourself in a small dimly lit or dark room struggling to find your way out. You aren’t. Life can get pretty discouraging at times. Maybe a lot of time to make it sound more realistic! Trust me, I’ve been to the bottom of the barrel mentally and physically. My will has been tested time and time again. At times it seems like no matter how much effort you give or how hard you try nothing goes as you expected them to or planned them out to be.

I’ve felt discouraged on multiple occasions throughout the year. Just until recently, I’ve felt like no matter how hard I tried things wouldn’t get better. Negativity found it’s way and dug itself deeper into my mind. Thoughts ran through my head that used to never exist. I was constantly asking myself and to a higher being (God if he exists), why me? People closest to me may have not noticed, but I was miserable. I’m pretty good at putting up a front and acting like everything is normal. Especially to those around me. I’ve always known that friendships were priceless. In times like mentioned above friends and family are your backbone, your support.

“Sometimes we expect more from others because we would be willing to do that much more for them.”

Throughout this year, I’ve always known, but learned first hand that quality friendships and the time spent with those friends is priceless. And though it’s hard especially in these economic times, don’t grow old, look back, and regret the things you didn’t do with the people who meant the most to you. Be free and let loose every once in a while. Make the time to be around and surround yourself with the ones you care about most. I’m guilty of this one and haven’t made enough time to build upon existing relationships. To that I’m sorry.

Here are a few things I’ve learned during my first year as a struggling unemployed graduate, door-to-door salesman, and corporate puppet:

Creating balance is essential
Balance is essential to living a less stressful lifestyle. People work way too much these days. It’s not a bad thing, but sometimes we forget to make time for ourselves. It takes a lot out of you. What’s it worth going through the daily grind and letting life pass you by? I was working way too much at one point. I forgot to make time for myself because it felt like I didn’t have enough time in the day. Making the time to go out with friends or just do some personal reflection is quite refreshing. Don’t let yourself get caught up in a daily routine, that’s…well…boring!

The ‘Real World’ is all about experience
The school you graduated from and the degree you have mean absolutely nothing. It does mean something, but not everything. In this day and age with the technology that surrounds us we have access to unlimited resources of information. If you set your mind to it, apply yourself, and put forth the effort you can learn anything you want to learn. Your degree can get you into the door somewhere, but your experience is the deal breaker.

Suggested Reading: Will Paypal Billionaire Peter Thiel’s Team of College Dropouts Change Learning

At my current job I manage a book of over 80 accounts, optimize new and existing campaigns, responsible for the initial set-up of a new campaign, and the landing page copy writing. Guess what…there weren’t any classes that I took or was even offered on the subject of ‘Pay-Per-Click advertising’ and ‘search engine marketing’. Much of your success in this world (in my opinion) will be based on what you do with the hours after your normal work hours. What are you going to do to better your life? That’s why I carry the mentality and philosophy to always be learning. Apply myself at my job and when I’m at home. Eventually, this will hopefully assist me on reaching my goal and working for myself on my own terms!

Don’t let money dictate the way you live YOUR life
This one is kind of hard to follow. Trust me, I’ve been here as well. Not having money can be quite depressing because you just can’t go and do many of the things you want to do. Especially when your friends are always asking you to go out as well! Don’t get down on yourself and crawl into a cave because you don’t have any money. There are plenty of things to do that don’t require money and it’s much better than sitting at home complaining about the fact that you don’t have money! I do want to say though, make wholesome decisions and don’t be careless with the little bit of money you do have.

Look out for yourself, ’cause no one else will
No one has really screwed me over “royally” I guess you could say, but… When conversation arises and good advice is flowing I’m all ears. I’ve heard this many times from [older] successful people that I’ve had conversation with. The business world is a nasty world. The business world is where you separate the men from the boys.

Just the other day my brother and I were talking to a man by the name of Scott. He started a successful business and sold it back in 1999 for lots of money. Despite being screwed over on big deals a few times his advice was to watch out for the pricks. He said, “there are people out there who will take a carrot and stick it up your ass. They’ll act like your friend and fuck you over in the blink of an eye.” His message was clear as day and I definitely won’t forget it. He also advised us to be aggressive. We’re young, ambitious, have energy, and no obligations…to basically take the world by storm. Go after our wildest dreams and make something of them.

You must LEARN to make sacrifices
We’re all young (most of us) and love to go out and spend our money on who knows what. What I’ve learned is that making sacrifices in the business world (career and growth opportunity) and in our personal lives is essential. Think of it like this. You’re chilling with some friends drinking some beers or just shootin’ the shit. What you’re doing at that point in time is what you’re doing and nothing else. You’re obviously not going to be getting anything productive done. Tomorrow is a new day though, and what you do with your time is up to you!

In the business/corporate world you must make unwilling sacrifices that may not seem too glamorous at times, but will pay off if you stick with it. It’s crazy when you look at the breadcrumbs of the many coincidences that occur in life. Here’s my past year in a nutshell. Work door to door sales commission only for 5 months, apply for inside sales position at Internet Brands but get interviewed for the marketing support analyst position and get the job, work at Internet Brands for 6 months, apply to Deluxe Corporation and because of my experience in the non-corporate world as well as at Internet Brands get a job offer. As the year progressed things gradually got better. It didn’t seem like they would at times, but they did. It may seem like hell right now…your hard work and perseverance will pay off. Trust me, it will. I lost faith in myself many times and when you do that it makes things so much harder. Don’t lose faith in yourself and believe in your capabilities! Each job was a stepping stone and without each job preceding the other I wouldn’t be where I a today.

Making more time in the day isn’t impossible
Do you find yourself occasionally saying “there’s not enough time in the day“! Referring back to the creating balance is essential topic, it never seems like you have enough time in the day. There’s always so much to do and just not enough time. I’ve figured out the secret to making more time in the day. Some say it’s impossible, but it’s not. You can literally slow down time… just kidding! Sorry, I had to. Anyways, the only way to gain more time in your day to accomplish more is by going to bed later and waking up earlier. Don’t push yourself to exhaustion doing this. Get your rest, but put the hours you’re awake towards being productive and getting the things done you want to get done. You need to get done. This way, you will have extra time for yourself to do what you want, when you want, and with who you want.

This post is getting a little lengthy. I know there’s more advice that has crossed my mind. When I remember those topics I’ll make another post. For now, this will suffice. Hope you enjoyed this read and feel free to share your thoughts if you so please.

Follow-Up Post:

Words of Encouragement: A Journey That Never Ends

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