Here's the Top 10 things I've learned and would share with those exiting college or in the midsts of their 20's.
1) You Don't Know Jack
I don't know what it is about your late teens and early 20's that makes you feel like you know "everything," but you don't. Nothing like a launch from graduation into the working world and adulthood to make you realize your parent's actually know something and you don't know much at all.
2) It's OK to Fail, and You Will
Because you don't know everything, your pride will get in the way and you will fail. It's ok Millennial, this is a good thing. Not everyone get's a trophy and you're not invincible. You will fail. Your response when you fail and what you learn from it, will be a greater indicator of your growth more than your results.
3) It Took Your Parent's a Lifetime to Get Where They Are
Job. House. Car. You name it, it took your parent's a lifetime to get where they are and acquire what they have. Breaking News: Most likely, your first house is not going to be the one you grew up in. Your first job is not going to have Director, President, Executive, or in my case Captain in the title. Ask your parent's, "Hey, when you were 25, where were you and what were you doing?" I think you'll be surprised to hear the work they were putting in and the struggles they had.
4) People Are Different Than You
No brainer right? This is something we all inherently know, but don't know how to flush it out. For me, the introduction to several personality profiles (Myers Briggs, Kolbe, Strengthsfinder) at the age of 23, greatly helped me to know my strengths and how God wired me. It also helped me to understand others and how to work with them. Probably saved my marriage as well. "Not wrong, just different" is my motto.
5) Most of Your Days are Filled With Work, Choose Wisely
Money is important to life, but not at the expense of your emotional, physical, relational and spiritual well being. "Find a company you believe in, doing a job you love and the money will take care of itself." - David Salyers (VP of Marketing @ Chick-Fil-A) I was grateful to have found a great company in my 20's, but it took most of the decade to find a role that truly brought me to life. Training/Coaching.
6) Everything Isn't About You
It's true. It's not all about you. I've found that those who live with a humble confidence while putting others before themselves, find true joy and favor. Leaders who put their people before themselves gain the respect of their team and coincidentally produce better results. I still suck at this one.
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility, consider others as better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3
7) Marriage Doesn't "Complete" You
I'm a big fan of marriage. My wife is incredible! It is also really hard. Coming up on 5 years of marriage, i've found that #1, #2, #3, #4 and #6 all apply. I'm convinced that nothing on this side of heaven will ever "complete" me and marriage definitely doesn't. It sanctifies me. It grows me. It makes me realize how selfish I am, how much I need grace and how much I need Jesus. I am a better man because of marriage and I highly recommend it for that reason, not to feel "complete."
8) Those Who Live Intentional Lives, Avoid a Life of MediocrityWhen it comes to allocation of time, we have 2 choices. Proactive or Reactive. I've found that those who are proactive with their time get more done, spend more time with their family and
feel more in control. Those who wake up Monday morning with no plan for their day or week, tend to take a constant barrage or Muhammed Ali right hooks called life. Plan out your time. If you want something to happen, plan for it. Be intentional. I'm getting better at this, but suck at this often.
Teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. - Psalm 90:12
9) Learning Doesn't Stop After College
See #1. Don't stop reading, learning, growing. My last blog post in September of 2011 (cough, cough) was around this issue of pretending like you've arrived vs. acknowledging you don't know it all and have a ways to go. Wet vs. Dry Concrete. Keep your concrete wet in order to stay moldable and used for growth.
10) Save Your $
It drives me crazy when I read articles about Millennials and the way in which they manage their scrilla. (slang for money) Zoom out and realize that there is more to the here and now. Do you really want to work til your 80? Your habits would indicate that. You have one of the greatest things on your side and it's called Compound Interest. Use it. Save your money and live within your means. See #8.
I've got a long ways to go in many of these areas and am preaching to myself. I'm thankful for those in my life who have made me aware of these principles and who constantly challenge me in these areas.
Here's to another decade of learning and growing! Bring it 30's!