Why you can’t rely on your degree and how to get skills and find your purpose

In Tim Ferriss’ podcast with Peter Thiel, the billionaire PayPal Co-founder answers the question on what he thinks of today’s education. He quotes a friend who suggested that:

We’ve reached a point in education which is comparable to the catholic church on the eve of the reformation. Even as it continued charging more and more for indulgences, people believed they could only be saved by going to the Catholic church.

(Thiel adds)
But the answer to all of that is: You need to find salvation on your own.

While I do not fully agree with everything Mr. Thiel does or says, I couldn´t agree more with this statement.

If you´re a student reading this you might be a little confused now. Didn’t your parents tell you that by going to university you will get the skills to thrive in the market place? And didn’t your university tell you with a great degree you’ll find happiness, a great job, career and success?

As you can tell from the initial quote, these common truths about universities and degrees, today, are highly questionable.

They may have been true when your parents studied, 30 years ago. When the internet wasn’t a thing so people couldn’t just Google most of the stuff that is being taught in classrooms today. When they studied one thing and worked in exactly the same area for their entire career. Today only 25% of all graduates work in a field they majored in and 91% of all millenials are expected to stay in their job for less than 3 years, making it 15-20 jobs over the the span of an average career at its extreme.

I know from my own experience and the various conversation I’ve had with entrepreneurs and top recruiters: The startups and companies worth working for today couldn’t care less about your grades, about your degree and where you got it from. It doesn’t say anything about you. Most people that apply for jobs have some kind of degree anyway so having that “piece of paper” might become a door opener but it will definitely not make you stand out from the crowd.

Here’s what mission-driven organisations of today do care about:

You as a person – your values, your work ethics, your passion, your ambitions and your purpose
Your skills – your unique talents and (real life) knowledge that can contribute to achieving the vision

So, if uni can’t (or couldn’t) help you, how can you find your purpose? How can you get the skills necessary to start successfully in your chosen career?



1. Figure out your purpose

First of all, if you’re a student or graduate and don’t know your clear purpose or goals yet – relax, most young people don’t. How would they? Educational institutions worry about getting as many people as possible through tests to keep the pass rates high enough to get government grants and keep profits up. They don’t really care, nor do they have the time, to help you find your life purpose or enable you to find work you’re passionate about outside of the usual corporate 9-5. So it’s up to you to find that! Based on my experiences and also inspired by the blinks I read from the book “success principles” by Jack Canfield I’m going to try and help you through this.

First take your time to reflect on what you would like to do and what you’d like to achieve.

What drives you and what do you do that doesn’t even feel like work but makes you happy? For example, do you love writing? Helping others? Giving advice? Designing products? Creating things and leading a team? Brainstorm and come up with creative solutions to human problems? Do you have this one idea that might help millions of people to do something better? Examine your reason for being and start small if needed.

Now, to find your purpose, identify some of your strongest personality traits and the things you’d like to do; describe the way you interact with others; and then imagine your ideal world. Once you have done this, combine these into a statement.

Here’s the purpose statement I came up with: “My purpose is to use my enthusiasm and entrepreneurial drive to inspire and empower young people to find their unique path in life so they can better our society through their unique abilities and ideas.”

If you have a passion for writing and would like to contribute to solving social problems your purpose statement may sound something like this: “My purpose is to use my creativity and passion for writing to help NGOs produce content that will reach millions of supporters”

This is called your statement of life purpose and it can change over time as your personality changes. If you don´t know the specifics yet, keep it broad and refine it over time.

I highly doubt it’s your purpose to sit in front of a computer from 9-5 creating the same style excel sheet for 3 years until you can climb a ladder where the top consists of contributing to getting your company’s’ shareholders 4% more return this year. If it is, that’s OK, and I wish you all the best with it. If it isn’t – which I assume so because you’ve read until this far – I encourage you to start reflecting and to think about your purpose asap. Ideally right after you’ve finished reading this blog post – feel free to connect with me and tell me about what you came up with, I´d love to hear from you! 🙂

Once you know a little more about your purpose (or if you know it already), you need to go over to the second stage: Developing the skills you need to pursue your ideas, passion and purpose.



2. How to get skills before you’re graduated

The problem with the whole skills development issue is, that you can’t blame universities alone for not being able to provide up-to-date education and instead promoting word-vomiting theories and formulas on paper will make you skilled. I think, the entire society is to blame, including most of our parents for the importance they attribute to formal education. Nowadays, true personal and skill development happens outside of classrooms.

The period of learning things is also not tied to 9 years of high school and 5 years of uni that stops after you get your degree (wouldn´t we all have a miserable life if learning truly stopped after this period?). The most successful people adapt one thing: Lifelong learning. Learning never stops. In fact, if you’re open to it, it happens everyday. You can learn from every conversation, every encounter, every person, every task, every project, every event that you attend and you can learn especially from failure.

I´ve learned that to develop real skills I need to prioritise hands on experience over binge studying theory to pass tests and get good grades that mean…nothing in the end.

In the last 4 years I worked for one corporate and five startups, alongside uni, in my holidays and during my internship semester. In this period of time I also started – and failed – my first start-up. Currently I am on startup number 2! Between all of these jobs, I also got fired twice, and called people at 10am on Saturday´s to ask them to participate in media surveys(a tough job as you can imagine)… All of these experiences shaped me into the person and professional I wanted to be and they gave me the skills I needed to pursue my purpose. It also taught me that it takes time and several experiences (good or bad) to truly find your path.

I learned by doing and got the initial basics by reading blogs and articles, listening to podcasts and talking to professionals. Like this I was able to develop a great understanding of how things work and what I needed to work on in order to get skills that would make anyone forget about my age or titles. When I had to pass 5 interviews to get a sales job in London at the UK´s number 1 start up, neither my degree nor my sales grade were a topic. It was all about my personality and the potential to benefit the company through my abilities.

Sometimes, a degree can still be a door opener, but even this won´t hold for long

I am not saying University is generally bad and that pursuing a degree is a waste of time, at least it may not be for a some of you (mostly for the very few people who want to work in research or academia themselves). I am also not promoting that all students should drop out. However, for those of you who don´t feel empowered but rather depressed and limited by the regulations the education system forced upon you, dropping out is certainly a possibility. Many people – including me – managed to find their unique path in spite of university, not because of it. Some of the most admired persons of our century such as Steve Jobs, Richard Branson or Kevin Kelly (Wired Founder), dropped out of university and went on to create world-changing businesses, products and organisations.

While in my opinion degrees are certainly overrated and absolutely not worth the horrendous prices that most parts of the world have to pay for them, they are still a door opener to many opportunities. Nevertheless, I strongly believe that if education systems remain the way they are today, in the near future degrees won´t even serve as an entry anymore. Our society is changing and even corporates like Penguin or EY are already removing degrees from their entry level criteria because they say there is no evidence that college degrees are linked to achievements in later life.

If you have the desire inside of you to create an unconventional career, one that suits you and not the other way around, or if you simply want to make the university period beneficial from a professional point of view, then, you can’t rely on what you’re being taught in classrooms and on the grades for your tests.

The most progressive lecturers will admit uni’s limitations. A professor from one of Europe’s leading business schools in France once told me:

“Daniel, sometimes I think we’re schizophrenic. We offer some things that really encourage students to do their own thing and think independently, but then we put them back in the classroom to tell them that to every problem there is one answer. Not allowing them to build their own opinions and ambitions”

 

Wrapping it up – Lessons Learned:

To get skills, get out of your classroom mindset. Talk to professionals, learn by doing and educate yourself about the stuff you want to learn and do. Do it in the way that is best for you. There are tons of (free) resources out there online and there are a bazillion of people who’d love to share their knowledge with you. You just have to find and approach them.

I often hear friends my age saying “that all sounds great but they don’t have time for it”. When I then ask them how much time they spend on Facebook, Insta, Snapchat or Twitter doing random shit (and trust me I do random shit too), most of them soon realise that they could certainly dedicate 15 minutes a day to find out about these things. That´s really all it takes for the beginning. And it´s worth it! According to Celeste Headlee´s Ted Talk, Harvard researchers have found, that:

Out of the many things that go into the happiness at the job (I´d argue, hence your life) the single highest impact is PURPOSE. People who think they are significant and meaningful to the work they do are about three times more likely to stay in their job. They also have more job satisfaction and are more engaged.

Start reflecting on your purpose and on what you’d like to achieve in your life (pro tip: if you´re stuck and don´t know what you want – go travel, you´ll discover more about yourself and people and places that inspire you!). Then go out and proactively build the skills you need to make your goals a reality. And always remember, learning never stops! In the process, stay humble and patient. Finding your purpose doesn´t happen from one day to another one and may involve having to eat shit sometime.

When I talked to the head of recruiting at Onfido about this topic, he told me: “Our primary concern is not your degree. We care about your ambitions and the actions you took to become the person you want to become.”

What are you waiting for? Go out and attack the life you want to win!

 

PS: I wrote this blog end of 2016 but only published it in July 2017. In 2016 I had already defined my purpose statement and guided by this I was able to become the youngest lecturer of Amsterdam in February 2017 (whilst I´m now trying to improve the system from within, I´m still of the opinion that the education system overall is broken, such as described in the blog above) and I also became the first international speaker of Student Talks in Copenhagen where I talked about a very similar subject, just with a more extended concept about finding your own path. Next to this I gave 4 other talks including one in India. I´m also working on an education start up.

At the time I´m writing this blog I do not have my bachelor degree yet (only thesis left).  Hence, I hope you can draw inspiration from this article and my journey, as it shows, you can find your purposeful path and get the skills necessary, if you keep taking action and refining your vision.

For further inspiration, here´s the talk I gave in Copenhagen on how to find your ideal career path before graduation:

 

Daniel
I am the Co-Founder of Fypster.
Hope you guys are having fun here! Always happy to connect ?
So a little bit about me: I love entrepreneurship, traveling, diving into different cultures and languages whilst having football as another big passion. I love to be surrounded by people who encourage me to think beyond my limits. I also like reading (non fiction) books and to enjoy culturally diverse food. A lot of it. (if I can afford it)
When I am not working on some projects I love to spend quality time with my loved friends and family.
Fun fact: I am German/Brazilian which means I have to deal with two very opposing forces in me.
Before you ask: Even though I grew up in Germany, I always supported the brazilian national team a lot. So I witnessed the 7:1 in a Brazilian Restaurant having to drink many caipirinhas to be able to deal with the game.

My Exhibition

I broke bones because I can’t do it. I went to the hospital because I can’t do it. I got fired because I can’t do it. I jump bridges because I can’t do it.

It sounds like it’s awful but I will argue the contrary. It is inhibition. If you open up a dictionary, you will find the following definitions of inhibition:

“a nervous feeling that prevents you from expressing your thoughts, emotions, or desires”

“the act of preventing or slowing the activity or occurrence of something”

Inhibition is in the way when you’re going out, it’s in the way when you want to say what you think and it’s in between you and your dreams. Inhibition is what keeps your from achieving what you really want and thus what keeps you from being truly happy. Inhibiting less will make your life (and the lives around you) better. When you’re among your friends you usually inhibit less, you speak your mind and do things you wouldn’t have done alone (like swimming at -2 degrees with your Danish friends or ending up alone in a dark Brazilian favela at 5 in the morning having spent all your money and no way to get home (spoiler: begging a cab driver to take you)). As you might already imagine, my level of inhibition is below 99% of the normal population. That leaves me in the 1% that does things on the fly, I don’t stop to think. I believe it’s a valuable one percent to be in, just like the other one percent you should be in. Just do the following yourself; recollect the 10 best stories of your life and if you’re like me, at least 9 of them are because you or someone else didn’t inhibit. Like that time you were hanging upside down from a chandelier chugging a beer (it’s called a “hangende aap adt” or in English: “hanging monkey chug”) or when your friend took a shit out of your apartment on the fourth floor. Those are the great stories, but there are two sides of it. I remember and regret that one time I woke up without a shoe, a broken toe and no recollection of what happened last night. And that’s just one of my many embarrassing stories. The great thing about these not so great experiences is that they are the real school called life, this is where you learn. Sure, you break some bones and hurt some feelings along the way. You’ll feel guilty because of it and you’ll regret some of it. You will fail and fall hard more than once, but these experiences teach you valuable life lessons that would leave you normal inhibitors untouched yet unsatisfied. If you do decide to battle through some short-term regrets, you will reap the rewards. The downsides are necessary investments that will pay large dividends in the future, if you’re willing to take that risk.

We think people that inhibit are boring; I’ll call them inhibitors from now on. We think they’re normal, and we rightfully associate normal with boring. I wouldn’t want to be insulted with “normal”. Politicians are notorious inhibitors, that’s why we think they are fake and boring. Inhibitors stand against the wall with their drink whilst the exhibitors are on the middle of the floor doing dance battles. The greatest companies of the past and the future aren’t built on inhibition, they are founded on exhibition and courage. The following, cheesy yet accurate, quote is a great example of the power of exhibition.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Exhibitions are called that for a reason, they are places that show inspiring, unconventional and talented work. Sometimes I wish I was more like this illustrious group of people described above. I wish I could just leave things behind, saying “fuck you” to the status quo and doing what I think is best, expressing zero inhibition to what I want for myself in life. Truth to told, often times I can’t. Fear for the future, inability to learn from the past and the difficulty to break with conventions are the most prominent reasons for my inhibition. With that being said, I strive to think, act and reflect differently. Being aware that you can venture from the beaten path is the first step in changing your life for the better. Acting on your inner desires is what comes next. Exhibit your thoughts and feelings and you’ll never look back with remorse about the things you didn’t do. Go work on that great idea you have, book that flight and do that one thing you always dreamed about but never dared to execute. You should see life as an exhibition, filled with your best stories. See what you can do to make your next exhibition even better. Be abnormal, regret nothing and showcase your talent. You’ll end up with an exhibition that you can be proud of, that others envy and that, if you’re crazy enough, changes the world.

Daniel
I am the Co-Founder of Fypster.
Hope you guys are having fun here! Always happy to connect ?
So a little bit about me: I love entrepreneurship, traveling, diving into different cultures and languages whilst having football as another big passion. I love to be surrounded by people who encourage me to think beyond my limits. I also like reading (non fiction) books and to enjoy culturally diverse food. A lot of it. (if I can afford it)
When I am not working on some projects I love to spend quality time with my loved friends and family.
Fun fact: I am German/Brazilian which means I have to deal with two very opposing forces in me.
Before you ask: Even though I grew up in Germany, I always supported the brazilian national team a lot. So I witnessed the 7:1 in a Brazilian Restaurant having to drink many caipirinhas to be able to deal with the game.

What do you seek in life?

Never judge a book by its cover… With this idea we approached him, the strange, confused man that was kicked out of the Starbucks we were just standing in because of his wild rants and uncontrolled shouting. He was sitting there, just outside the same Starbucks on Times Square when we approached him and asked him that one question: “What do you seek in life?”

At first he was skeptical. He didn’t trust us, thought we were maybe from the police. After we gained some trust, he opened up to us. He explained that he sought liberation. He sought to be liberated from the police. He believed that we are controlled by all that we see. He elaborated on his answer by using mice, science and the New York ‘system’ as his examples. “We are all slaves of the society…”

Although his answer was pretty odd, it was unlike anything we expected. He was truly interesting, and we would’ve never said so. He was someone who had a story to tell, someone who needed to express his thoughts. Of course, he was mentally incapacitated to a certain extent, but he wasn’t taken serious by anyone. He was a book, constantly judged by its cover.

I hear you thinking: Why this question? Well, we had been philosophizing the night before and we (jokingly) concluded that we considered this question the most interesting one to ask. A question that captures your personality and makes you think about yourself. Once we heard this man shouting in the Starbucks, we knew we’d have to ask him. And so we did. But it did not stop with only this man…

We decided to move on with it, ask more people on Times Square. We got the most beautiful answers that night. We got so surprised and inspired by all the wonderful things that strangers had to share that I knew I wanted to continue with this. I brought the question home and wanted to explore the thoughts and ideas of one of the most open-minded, culturally diverse and crazy cities in the world: Amsterdam. And that is how Declenimo was born.

DSC_0208[2]

Declenimo derives from the old Gaelic word ‘Declan’, which means ‘Full of Goodness’. We changed it into Declenimo in which we indicate a moment that is full of goodness, referring to the small talks we have with the strangers. I approach complete random strangers and ask them what they seek in life. The idea is to get inspired by an answer or inspire one to think of an answer. At first, I would keep the interactions always short. I would take the answer and then thank them for their time and that’s it. But as I progress in this project, I have longer and longer conversations with the strangers. I get to know where they’re from, what their story is and every now and then I even make new friends. I’ve learned many life lessons from the strangers that I meet. And it is not (only) the white-collar high-end people that taught me valuable lessons, but people from all over the society. From students to homeless people to street artists. Everybody has their own story and we learn from our own experiences and memories. Sometimes, the most inspiring words come from the people that you would expect the least.

The goal is to ask 101 people in Amsterdam what they seek in life. I know, why that number? Well, the idea is that I ask 100 strangers what they seek in life. At the end of the adventure, I will be asking myself as the 101st person what I seek in life. This project has already changed my view on people and my life so much and I can’t wait until I have all the answers collected and to read them back, thinking about what I seek in life.

“So, you just approached them and like… ask them?”

“I wouldn’t know how to talk to someone just like that…”

“Wouldn’t people sometimes get angry? I think it’s scary to just go and talk to a stranger…”

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All I need is another stranger and around approximately 15 minutes. That’s all it takes. Nobody gets angry if you ask them for their time. What is the worst that could happen? They say they don’t have time for you and you leave them alone. Obviously, you always need to be careful when it comes to people you don’t know. It’s a learning process and you’ll teach yourself how to approach strangers and how to talk to them. If you’re standing somewhere on a busy square, to almost everybody around you, you are a stranger too. A stranger is a stranger until one of the two says hello.

It took quite some courage for me to approach the first few strangers in Amsterdam. The weird thing is that once you ask these people and you start to have an actual conversation, it feels so natural. It feels so comfortable and normal. And then you realize that he/ she is just a human. You realize that this interaction between human and human has nothing to do with race/ nationality/ skin color/ sexual orientation/ hobbies or whatever. It is just one stranger, telling their story to another stranger. And after you talk about their story, discuss certain elements and perhaps share a good few laughs, you are suddenly no strangers anymore. This warm feeling of connection, kindness and humanity. That is what we mean with Declenimo.

All the stories (so far) are published online. The difficult thing is that no matter how hard you try to document a conversation, it never gets as close as the real experience. You can’t describe accurately enough how the emotion on their face looked like, or how the cracking in his voice sounded like or how beautiful the smiles on their faces are. Life is beautiful, and so are the people. There are so many stories out there and all we see are the covers. Never judge a book by its cover. So ask yourself, or even better; ask someone else: What do you seek in life?

Declenimo

 

So far, I have asked 35 strangers of the goal of 101 in Amsterdam. Be sure to follow the progress on www.declenimo.nl. Ask a man a question, and he’ll think for the moment. Make a man ask you a question and he’ll think for a lifetime.  

 

Nour
Graduating student International Business and Management. Interested in marketing, football and tech but interested the most in people and asking them what they seek in life! Lived in Canada for a bit and planning on studying in France after my bachelor’s. Currently on an adventure to discover the beauty behind anonymity of strangers in Amsterdam. Follow the adventure on www.declenimo.nl.

Becoming Location Independent – 10 things I wish I knew beforehand

Building a work-from-anywhere lifestyle, better known as ‘being location independent,’ is not a task for the faint of heart. Whether you choose to find remote work, forge your own path as a freelancer, or build your very own online business, the challenges you’ll face will be new and often overwhelming.

In the very same breath, there aren’t many things more satisfying than building a lifestyle in which you feel 100% in control—of your time, of your resources, and of your successes. The Internet has brought with it a world of possibilities for those willing to think outside the box. No longer do young people feel obligated to choose the common career path which inevitably involves a cubicle, a commute, and a corporate slog.

More people are choosing to work for themselves, leveraging an online presence in order to create something uniquely their own, work on their own terms, and travel the world at will. Location independence offers a new kind of freedom that didn’t even exist just a few decades ago.

When I graduated from college in 2009, I had just finished up a degree that I thought I was passionate about. I studied nutrition, and had a one-year unpaid internship still ahead of me before I would enter the professional world. Yet, somewhere deep in my heart, the desire to travel still lurked, and I would eventually realize this desire simply wouldn’t be outgrown.

The internship came and went and I moved to New York City, still dreaming of something different, something bigger. By that time, I’d given up on the idea of continuing on as a dietitian, and much to my mother’s dismay, refused to even take my registration exam. Instead, I plotted my first foray into international life, a year of teaching English in Southeast Asia.

That period of my life came and went just as quickly, and I itched to continue exploring. I found my way to South America only to realize I now had a strong aversion to staying put in any one place. It wasn’t a commitment issue; in fact, if anything, I was extremely committed to my dream of seeing the world, and I didn’t want it to come to an end just because of a drying up bank account.

fuerteventura-dunes-11Becoming location independent was the natural next step for me, although it certainly didn’t happen overnight. I’ve been at it three years now, and I still have so much to learn. Thankfully, I no longer have that lingering fear of sulking back to a 9-5 job; I’m in a stable place that I never truly thought was possible until I started to put in the work.

Having built a location independent lifestyle for myself over the last few years through a combination of blogging and freelancing, I could go on singing its praises. There are many good reasons to defy society’s expectations by choosing this path. It’s anything but the easy route, though, and I’ve made many missteps along the way.

So now I’d like to share some of the wisdom I’ve gained through the trials and triumphs of my formative years as a location independent entrepreneur in the hopes that others can avoid the same mistakes and heartache I experienced.

 

 

Here are the 10 things I wish I knew before becoming location independent:

Some people will never understand your lifestyle choice.

Being Location independent is a lifestyle choice that most people cannot even begin to fathom. Either they have no similar desire to see the world, or they are enough of a cynic to believe building a viable business from the road simply can’t be done. Rest assured that despite how quickly this lifestyle choice is gaining attention and notoriety, location independents are still a minority worldwide. We are anything but mainstream. This shouldn’t be seen as a disadvantage, however; it is simply a fact that it’s best to reconcile with early on.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t support it.

It’s worth noting that most people you encounter, even though they may not fully understand or empathize with your desire to forge your own unconventional path, will still support your decision wholeheartedly. My closest family and friends are some of my biggest advocates, despite how rarely we are in the same area code and despite how utterly confused they are about what it is I actually do. I don’t blame them for their confusion—I wear a lot of hats and even I sometimes lose track of it all. But I explain what I can and they enthusiastically nod along, and will even brag about me to people they know, even if they still don’t get it quite right.

Seek a community of peers and mentors early on.

Because this lifestyle is so unusual and there are an infinite number of ways to go about it, having a community of other people going through similar struggles will be one of your greatest assets. When I first decided to become a travel blogger, it helped me immensely to have a close friend who’d been at it for a few years and could act as a mentor to me in those early stages. When I realized I needed to bolster my business acumen, I sought out online entrepreneurs who were absolutely killing the game and followed them closely—I signed up for their newsletters, I bought their courses, I attended their webinars and joined their Facebook groups. The worst thing you could do in the beginning is assume you’ll just “figure it all out” on your own. It’s okay to ask for help—you’ll get much farther that way.

Never pass up an opportunity to network.

cantimplora-travel-leah_215_1_25-resized-2This goes along with my previous point. Networking is absolutely essential to your success, both for the purpose of finding mentors and guidance and for building friendships that have the capacity to become strong alliances. The people I’ve met through networking events like the TBEX Conference, for example, are the ones most willing to go to bat for me, to refer me a client, to send me opportunities and to share my work. And I do the same for them in return, not just because they do so much for me but because I genuinely want to see them succeed.

Teach everything you know, even when you feel like you know nothing.

The best way to test your understanding of a new concept is to try explaining it to someone else. Knowledge is the true currency of this world, and the more of it you give, the more will come back to you in return. No matter where you are in your journey, there is someone who’s a few steps behind you who will really appreciate your insights. This is why many digital nomads publish their income reports publicly—they are not bragging, but rather showing others the exact steps they’ve taken to achieve their success. Withholding what you learn from others will leave you in a “scarcity mindset,” where you believe there is not enough success to go around. However, once you realize that there IS in fact enough room for everyone and stop thinking of everyone else as your competition, you will have arrived to the “abundance mindset,” which will in turn serve to create more abundance in your life and career.

Nobody actually works on the beach.

The undying cliché of the digital nomad is that we all spend our days lounging on the beach with a laptop and a fruity cocktail in hand. But let me tell you something—in reality, the people who actually achieve success are the ones busting their butts behind closed doors, grinding through work day in and day out and not flaunting visions of “the dream” on social media before they’ve even achieved it. Sure, many people choose to set up shop in low-cost countries where they can get by on far less than we would in our home countries, but very rarely does that mean the hustle grinds to a halt. To succeed as a freelancer, a remote worker, or an entrepreneur requires discipline and dedication to the cause. If the beach is your priority from the beginning, you’ve already lost.

It’s okay to slow down or stop traveling altogether.

Travel has always been my greatest passion. It’s what lead me to become location independent in the first place and the reason I knew early on that this lifestyle choice was right for me. I wanted to keep seeing the world at my own pace, and on my own terms. But when I really started digging deeper into building a business, the traveling started to feel like a burden. My goals shifted and traveling full-time was no longer a priority. It took away too much of my mental stamina, creative energy, and physical energy from what was most important to me. When I first stopped traveling regularly, I almost felt like a fraud. But as it turned out, the expectation to continue traveling just because I thought of myself as location independent was entirely self-imposed. Slowly but surely, I’ve come to understand that whether I’m traveling or not has nothing to do with my ability to be location independent. Even if I’m not traveling to a new country every couple of months, the fact remains that I could if I wanted to. I’ve finally realized that it’s not just about the travel, but about having the freedom to do what I please. Travel or don’t travel—the choice is up to me.

leahdavis-3_25-resized-2Celebrate every small victory.

The road to a successful online business venture is long and winding. You will rarely have a clear picture of what lies ahead or when certain milestones will be achieved. That’s why it’s so important to celebrate small victories along the way rather than focusing on the distance you have yet to travel. When I started a blog, it was impossible to imagine the amount of traffic I have now, so instead, I celebrated my first 100 visitors. I celebrated my first piece of sponsored content, my first sponsored tour, and my first freelance gig that paid $10/hour. Had I started comparing my progress to those around me or those much further along than me, I likely would have been so discouraged that I’d have thrown in the towel right then and there. Compare yourself only to yesterday and celebrate small wins as they come, and you will find the motivation to keep going.

There is no such thing as failure.

Of course, there will be plenty of missteps in your journey to becoming location independent, but this is not only par for the course, it’s a necessary component of the growth process. Rather than thinking of setbacks as failures, however, try to reframe them as opportunities to learn. We learn far more from what goes wrong than what goes right, after all, so don’t dwell on the mistakes—think of them as lessons, apply what you learn, and move on.

You will want to give up—often. Don’t.

My final piece of advice to anyone who’s interested in going the unconventional route is to keep on keepin’ on even when you most want to quit. If this is, in fact, what you feel will bring you the greatest happiness, it’s a battle worth fighting. Every time I stop to question why I’m walking through this particular fire, I think back to the moments and decisions that led me here in the first place. I think of my distaste for corporations, my aversion to rigid schedules, my desire to let my creative freak flag fly. I know the alternative—I’ve been there and done that—and the idea of giving up all I’ve been working for (here’s another moment when it helps to remember how far you’ve come) seems like a disservice to my heart’s true desire and a victory for my fear. And I simply cannot let fear win this war.

 


If you would like to learn more about Leah, be sure to check out her interview with Women Digital Nomads or simply visit her website here.

Leah
Hey, I’m Leah! Originally from Washington state, but intent on traveling the whole world slowly and thoroughly. I blog about my travels and share my best business advice on my blog, thesweetestway.com 🙂

How Coaching Will Help You To Achieve Your Career Goals

The Fypster community is all about following your path – during your studies, in your first job, or while traveling and exploring the world. In my daily work as a Business Coach for Creatives and Designers, I witness how powerful it is to follow your own path. It sometimes means making bold decisions, taking risks or uncovering new truths about yourself. It is, however, very releasing and energizing to do what you love most.

 

As some of you might be at the crossroads to choose your study or career direction, my blog’s goal is to inspire you in exploring your personal values. Fypster claims ‘ambitious young people that are driven by their own passion should focus on what they are good at and work towards their dreams.’ Read further to learn more about how Coaching will help you to achieve your career goals. Clarifying your values helps you uncover your ideal new employer. Find out how a client of mine used his values to meet the career that’s right for him after his interior design studies.

 

You might know the term Coaching from sports, such as basketball, football or hockey. A coach is the cheerleader, supporter and challenger of a sports team to perform at its best. Likewise, a career or business coach is a trained professional with multiple tools and skills to get you into the best version of yourself. The main difference with a consultant is that a coach won’t tell you what do, but rather helps you find your own answers – by asking you the right questions. Coaches are also not psychologists, who focus on analyzing mental patterns in order to diagnose a mental sickness.

 

Professional career or business coaching consist of regular face-to-face or virtual sessions to explore your topic, questions or goals. They are in-depths conversations which may include visual and creative exercises, guided meditation and powerful questions. It’s a collaborative process or personal and professional growth, with the aim to move you out of your comfort zone into your growth and learning zone. A coach sees what you can’t see or can’t imagine, and helps you explore new perspectives and opportunities in your career or business.

 

Especially when you are a university graduate or young professional, your working experience might be limited and it may seem difficult to know which career path you should follow. Follow below real-life story to understand how a coach works and which impact he or she can have on your career development.

 

Meet Xuyang, 26, a Chinese interior designer that made the executive decision to move to Europe last April. However, he found himself in a bit of a predicament. He couldn’t find a job in the Netherlands due to his unfamiliarity with the local market.

 

Xuyang used career education platform http://hoitalent.com/coaching/ and found Claudia’s coaching services. What he wanted was a partner to assist him in his application strategy. Claudia is a Business Growth Coach who works with Creatives and Designers every day. She knows about the creative industries – such as architecture, interior and lighting design.

 

When Claudia met with Xuyang, she saw a determined, gifted and fervent young professional with an ABC life slogan – Adventurous, Brave and Creative. The pair’s coaching sessions took place through Skype. In order to succeed, the collaboration of coaching mixed with consulting is one based on responsibility and mutual trust.

 

After the first session I didn’t feel nervous anymore and became more confident to face all the challenges. Claudia captured all my strengths and suggested on how to show them. – Xuyang.

 

Claudia worked with Xuyang to recognize his career values – to find out what his potential employers were that coincided with his ambitions. In order to find a career that’s right for anyone, they need to be clear on what their career goals are to find the right employers.

 

Claudia worked with Xuyang to update his resume and cover letter in order to fit the Dutch market. They highlighted his strengths and unique creative skills. One talent he has is in storytelling (exhibition design), which meant taking his portfolio and going with a storytelling approach.

 

It worked!

He was able to take his updated application to a number of chosen companies in his field of expertise. From that, three companies invited him for job interviews – two of which came through Claudia’s network.

 

Due to his predicament of being a “visitor”, he needed a work permit – solved with Claudia’s network which included an immigration attorney. Xuyang, knowing what he wanted, laid out an individualized road map and was confident in himself. He offered up conclusive documents that ensured him a job offer at one of his best employers.

 

I received good replies. Some of my favourite employers invited me to have an interview. I improved myself during the coaching.  Finally I got a job offer from my top employer! – Xuyang.

 

Do you want to learn the three skills that all Creative and Designer needs to succeed in their business? If the answer is yes, then you need to visit http://www.coachingbyclaudia.com/ to get free tips to better your skills. Xuyang used Claudia’s advice and succeeded, and so can you.

 

Or, you rather want to get into action right away?

Take action and start creating the career you’ve always wanted. Apply for your free Clarity Session with Business Growth Coach Claudia to address your personal goals and specific needs. The free virtual Clarity Session time is approx. 30 minutes on Skype. This complimentary offer is available to graduates or young professionals in the creative or design industries.

 

 

About Coaching by Claudia

Claudia Mayer is a Designer and Creative Business Growth Coach with a rich diversity in both B2B Marketing and International Business Development. Claudia founded Coaching by Claudia with the intent to guide and empower Creatives and Designers to succeed in their careers and business. She’s been professionally trained as a Co-Active Coach, offering up a fresh perspective.

Claudia, who earned a business degree from the University of Innsbruck in Austria with a concentration in Strategy and Marketing, has lived in Asia for nearly five years. She also speaks three languages English, German and Dutch.

 

Exclusive Fypster Offer!

Coaching by Claudia has graciously offered to award one Fypster member with a free personal clarity session where she will help address your personal goals and the next steps you can take to reaching those goals. Apply through the survey link today. Answer a few short questions about why you should receive this coaching session, and click submit. Applications will be accepted now through November 13th at 23:59 (CET).

https://goo.gl/forms/OcA6kXiEfesFOvFg2

 

Claudia
I believe that Designers & Creatives deserve profitability! My mission is to make 1000 more courageous! Will you be one of them?

With Coaching by Claudia, I help you succeed in business or career by growing your entrepreneurial courage. My tailored services blend coaching for personal development and consulting for business or career development.

All you need is a start

I live on a houseboat in the center of Amsterdam. Recently, I was standing by the living room window, watching the rain and admiring how tranquil the city looks from the water.

Thinking of that, I started to remember something: When I was a child, my best friend always had stories of vacations to tell, that sounded incredible to me. Spain, Greece, Tunisia. Surfing, Snorkeling, the hotels, the markets…. In addition, he also seemed to go to the Netherlands all the time! That might have been one of the more ordinary destinations but for some reason the typical Dutch canals he told me about, really struck a chord with me. If my family went on vacations, it would be within Germany. It made me quite jealous of my friend and left me picturing the fun times I’d be having in Holland, if my family would regularly go there too.

About 15 years later, I was living on those canals, was part of a great company and had worked on 4 continents before my 25th birthday. It occurred to me, that getting to that point was all thanks to an opportunity I took about 5 years earlier, just one shot.

ams-boat

Various friends of mine live a similar life, have lived in multiple countries, speak various languages, go to renowned and inspiring universities or travel for their work. A great many of them started this path from a young age on, their parents being entrepreneurs or seasoned travelers themselves. It is no secret that even here in Western Europe, where equality is prioritized and everybody has access to education, some have the resources to fulfill their dreams and live up to their potential while others don’t. When I was growing up, the resource I was lacking in was money. Many young, outstanding people I’ve met attended high ranking international schools, went for studies abroad or did low paying internships in expensive global cities. For my family, financing projects like these was no option. And yet, nowadays I have the same opportunities as they do and I’m here to tell you that you will too.

See, all you need is a start.

My personal start was being accepted to Weltwärts, the voluntary service run by the German federal ministry of development and economic cooperation. A popular program enabling high school graduates to do a year of different types of voluntary work in developing or threshold countries, while receiving education on intercultural collaboration and communication. All expenses such as flights, accommodation, language courses, insurance and food are paid. I wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise. I went to rural China where I taught English and set up afternoon activities for my students aimed at informal learning and cultural exchange.

chhina-teach-2

What I learned during my time there, made it possible for me to be accepted to a one semester university program in Beijing and continue to work there on the side. That experience was relevant to a job I took in Amsterdam later on. There, I gathered the experience needed to work in a tech startup, after I decided that was a better fit for me than corporate life. A personality that blends in with startup culture I developed in that international environment I lived and thrived in in China.  Then ultimately, my skillset and personality became valuable to one of Silicon Valley’s most interesting companies.

Now what could be that stepping stone for you?

I know from experience that it can be frustrating seeing your goal in unreachable distance. Try to take it one step at a time however and it becomes much more realistic.  If you want to travel but you can’t afford it, maybe there’s an internship you can apply for. Maybe you know someone with ties to the destination of your choice. If you want to live abroad but don’t have the funds, why not strive for academic excellence to qualify for a scholarship or work on skills that the workforce of the country you want to go to is short of. If your grades aren’t good enough to be accepted to a particular study, you might be able to do an apprenticeship, teaching you more practical knowledge and thus giving you the edge over other applicants to the study in the long run. If you want to be an athlete, run one block further every day, do one more push up, then find yourself a coach.     If you want to become part of a tech startup but have studied something entirely different, use free online resources to learn to code or use analytics tools.

Whatever it is you want to do: All you need is a start. Just one opening that will enable you to get closer to your goal, step by step.

kungfu-man

There’s millions of driven, young people like yourself and it can be very valuable to get some inspiration and read the stories of your peers. For that reason, Fypster was created. A platform where young people share their learnings and experiences in travel, entrepreneurship and personal development.

You can get advice and hands on experience from the community and who knows, Fypster might just pave the way to your personal skipping stone. We’d love to see you drop by!

Have a great start and stay focused!

Daniel
I am the Co-Founder of Fypster.
Hope you guys are having fun here! Always happy to connect ?
So a little bit about me: I love entrepreneurship, traveling, diving into different cultures and languages whilst having football as another big passion. I love to be surrounded by people who encourage me to think beyond my limits. I also like reading (non fiction) books and to enjoy culturally diverse food. A lot of it. (if I can afford it)
When I am not working on some projects I love to spend quality time with my loved friends and family.
Fun fact: I am German/Brazilian which means I have to deal with two very opposing forces in me.
Before you ask: Even though I grew up in Germany, I always supported the brazilian national team a lot. So I witnessed the 7:1 in a Brazilian Restaurant having to drink many caipirinhas to be able to deal with the game.

It’s not about your age, it’s about your determination.

“Young entrepreneurs look at the world with fresh eyes and such lively determination. Some of the modern world’s greatest ideas and innovations came from people like you. Don’t ever let other people use your age as an excuse to not take you seriously”  (Sir. Richard Branson)

And he is so right. Richard Branson, is one of the best examples of our time for somebody who started his entrepreneurial career when he was a student, and turned out to be one of the most admired business man in the world.

Don’t use your age as an excuse not to start something. It’s a limiting self belief. Programme your mind.

Richard Branson’s words should be enough motivation for anyone who has an idea or a dream, but postpones taking action because he or she thinks they’re “too young” or not “experienced enough” to start something.

Turn it around! Your age is exactly the reason why you should start now. Your age is your strength. Use this advantage!

Starting a business young (no matter which scale) will be the best way to get to know yourself, discover your talents, and to becoming a skilled professional, or an entrepreneur.
You will see how skills and enthusiasm will always count more than age. Moreover, it is not even about what you do but more about what you learn from doing it. I’d like to share my story with you:

Three years ago at the age of 19, I started working in a market research call center, knowing very little about business. In the following semesters me and a great team of fellow students tried to turn our student company project into a real business. I lead a team of 6 people, developed the business, got customers, got an investor, and failed eventually. The plan did not work out, but in the end it was a fantastic experience. I had no idea how much it would impact my life.
Empowered by this experience, I got several exciting jobs including my dream job when I was only 20 years old. It was a 3-month internship at Metrica-Sports a Start Up that developed an awesome tactical analysis software for the biggest football clubs in the world. Being a football enthusiast and a player all my life, this job felt like having reached my life goal. Something I had never dreamed about (well actually I my dream job was being the best football player in the world…but that’s another story).
A few months later, I ended up being the youngest and first part-time Account Manager at one of the fastest growing start ups in the Netherlands at the age of 21.
Half a year later, I also almost made it into Chelsea Football Club when I applied for an internship as a first team Analyst assistant. Despite being a business student, I made it to the final round where I impressed the analysts, but eventually they chose a candidate who was better than me. So be it: I tried it, I went for it, and it did not work out…this time. (Feel free to send me a PM if you’d like to know more about how I managed to do this).
Today I am Co-Founder of Fypster, which I run with 2 other fantastic people I met when working next to my studies in Amsterdam. We manage Fypster remotely. In my case I do this while working for one of the leading tech start ups in London called Onfido.  A company founded by 3 Oxford graduates in 2012. (another fantastic example of where you can achieve by starting young).
I love the job and work with people of over 40 nationalities in the heart of London, where I get to speak 6 languages a day. And guess what…I am the youngest employee out of 140 people, so I want to stress: Your determination is what counts, not your age! Looking back all of these opportunities were linked, and one opened opportunity opened the door to the next one. Each time a bigger one. Currently I am Co-Founder of Fypster, hoping to establish a meaningful online community to empower millions of  youngster in the future.
Looking back, I can say that these opportunities arose thanks to the experiences I had made when trying to start my own business. It taught me the skills, persistence, and proactive thinking necessary to create extraordinary opportunities for myself.(and others) Furthermore it helped me understand how I could use my talents to succeed in the marketplace. An understanding that I would never have gained by just reading and studying about theories from books provided by University. I´d like to emphasize that I am not different to any of you. I am just like you and I hope by reading this you understand: If you´re determined to create your own path, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve! It will not be easy, but its fulfilling.  Eventually all will fall into place.

So, if you have an idea and the drive in you, don’t hesitate, start young. Your determination will take you where you want to be.

Now is the time to take risks

If you are honest to yourself, there is no risk is there?
When do you think that failing your venture/project/plan will leave a bigger impact? When you are 40 settled with family and kids with many (financial) responsibilities, or when you are a independent teenager or in your twenties?

 

Get Ready

Get Ready

 

Many young people think they will be judged when their project will not become a big success. In fact, I have experienced the opposite, and after having spoken to almost 100 young entrepreneurs across the globe, I can tell you the following: People will respect you for your courage and actions. The skills that you acquired will help you professionally and personally so you can become whatever you want to become.

Fail young. Fail often. Learn fast.

I failed not only once in my life. And I will fail again. But I realized that failure can be the biggest win, and the trigger for new amazing opportunities. So can it be for you. Don’t let anybody limit you. Don’t care about what your parents or friends think is right or what your school tells you to. (My parents never knew what I was actually doing whilst some of my friends called me a freak)

In fact, I have experienced the opposite and after having spoken to almost 100 young entrepreneurs across the globe, I can tell you the following: People will respect you for your courage and actions. The skills that you will have acquired will help you professionally and personally so you can become whatever you want to become.

Do your thing and do it whenever you think the time is right. Most importantly: Enjoy what you are doing. Enjoy the possibility of being able to realize your dream. This is a privilege! And when it get’s tough or you think you’ll fail, remember this phrase from a man that has changed the world:

mandela

 

Going after your ideas and becoming skilled (for the rest of your life) as a consequence is without a doubt easier said than done. It requires hard work and determination. But trust me, it’s worth it. The countless hours that you’ll invest won’t even feel like work. You will enjoy seeing every progress you make. It will bring you joy and fun!
If you are determined, convinced to make it, and not afraid of failing, there is nothing that can stop you. And who do you think will not take you seriously after you have shown that you take your own ideas seriously?

 

At Fypster we want to give you all you need to be able to realize your ideas and dreams when you are young. Young people all around the world come together in our social network  to empower each other and to share their stories and adventures.  I hope this blog has inspired you to take action. I’d love to get your feedback and to hear about how you have used your determination to achieve your goals in the comment section below. Also, feel free to send me a personal message in the community at any time  for questions, help, advice, or just to say hello. If you haven’t joined our social network yet – register today and be part of our community. Change yourself through us. Change the world with us. 🙂 

Daniel
I am the Co-Founder of Fypster.
Hope you guys are having fun here! Always happy to connect ?
So a little bit about me: I love entrepreneurship, traveling, diving into different cultures and languages whilst having football as another big passion. I love to be surrounded by people who encourage me to think beyond my limits. I also like reading (non fiction) books and to enjoy culturally diverse food. A lot of it. (if I can afford it)
When I am not working on some projects I love to spend quality time with my loved friends and family.
Fun fact: I am German/Brazilian which means I have to deal with two very opposing forces in me.
Before you ask: Even though I grew up in Germany, I always supported the brazilian national team a lot. So I witnessed the 7:1 in a Brazilian Restaurant having to drink many caipirinhas to be able to deal with the game.

From TheStudentGeneration to Fypster

File 16-08-16 22 45 58

TheStudentGeneration has been a great name for an initiative to start up a highly driven community of youngsters. However, to create a story and include everyone who is committed to our mission, an attractive and recognizable brand is crucial. When looking at our purpose and consistency of our mission, we’ve decided Fypster is the name to re-brand our future.

“A brand is a story that is always being told.” – Scott Bedbury

Looking at the name, Fypster has a story to tell. The acronym FYP entails “Follow Your Path”. Ambitious young people that are driven by their own passion should focus on what they are good at and work towards their dreams. So, follow their path.

followyourpath

By doing so others are inspired. Fypster builds the inspirational environment, the network and tools to: inspire, connect and act.

Everyone is welcome who sees him- or herself finding, following, flying, floating, fixing… your… path or passion! So, be creative and follow our mission by getting active and inspire others with your dreams. You will…

…Be part of our inspiring community

…Have access to awesome new deals & content

…Shape building a global network of ambitious people

…Have to opportunity to share your ideas and story

Help us shape our brand with your passionate path. Sign up & be a Fypster!

Anna
…connecting the dots.

#earlytobedearlytoshred and The Ethos to Turn Your Passion into Your Job

Anyone that knows me, thinks of how far I often go on the bike and closely associate cycling with my work. Sure my legs have gotten me places but my network has gotten me further.

I’ve made a living out of connecting and helping people. Without the many people I’ve met and those that have helped me along the way, I wouldn’t be where I am today. 

When Daniel & the Student Generation team asked me share my story of how I got where I am + to share some lessons learned over time, I immediately thought about the post I wrote about the importance of being dropped for Vulpine last year.

Whereas this article is about incorporating your a passion into a vocation, the Vulpine post is about perseverance, tenacity & resilience. In fact, it has been nearly exactly a year since that post and nearly a year since starting my newsletter & 9 years since starting my own bike shop. But let’s go even further back in time…

Pre-History – first job to odd jobs | 1999 – 2006

  • First job 1999 – employed at 15 years old washing dishes, bussing tables & catering at a BBQ joint.
  • Summer 2002 – I spent my senior year of high school in Germany on a scholarship
  • Summer 2003 to Summer 2004 – I worked  landscaping & in a grocery store + finishing high school
  • 2004 to  2006 – got into GA State worked as a waiter in fine dining, brunch places & as a barista

Key lessons:

  • Show up on time, do what you’ve got to do, stay until it’s done right. This sets you apart from the start.
  • Learn from your managers. Helping them with tasks beyond your job descriptions. Listen to their stories.
  • Quit for new opportunities. It’s easy to stay in a job. Don’t let opportunity pass you by for the sake of job security. (protip: leave on good terms & take a good reference with you)

My Own Bike Shop |  2007-2010

When I share my story with people younger than me, it goes way back to undergrad. Working as a waiter and later as a barista. Back then, I was into the urban cycling scene in Atlanta. I competed in and ultimately helped organize alleycat races with bike messenger buddies of mine. We all liked riding track bikes but bike shops in our city didn’t sell the kind of gear we wanted. What the hell, we thought, let’s open our own bike shop. That was July 7, 2007.

Key Lessons:

  • Starting a business with your buds can rule! I learned so much back then from running the business to working on bikes, brand collaborations and negotiations + everything in between.
  • Establishing a network globally and in your community are equally vital. I lean on bonds made then still now. I learned the value of a strong network.
  • Starting a business with your friends can suck. Spoiler alert! Here is an old post about it.

Office Jobs |  2008 – 2014

Not even a year into starting the shop and nearly done with my undergraduate degree, I got an internship helping with Web Content & Promotion at a translation agency. My online work for my own shop got me in the door. I did that then project management and, later, sales for this agency. After that, joined a small Ruby on Rails shop that, a year later, merged into full stack software development and developer training company. The merger was my ticket to Amsterdam but that office closed only 5 months later. Three months later, I got a job working at a Dutch startup for 6 months before the next chapter.

Key lessons:

  • Pay it forward – advice, favors, introductions, etc. Don’t keep count. Just help how you can. You’ll become the person people turn to for help, insight to share opportunities with.
  • Overdeliver – don’t just do your job (like i did in the pre-history section) Do that but more: new ideas + higher results = impressed managers & colleagues
  • Be nice. – do I even have to say this? Even if people suck, are dumb, mean etc. Be nice. Thank me later.

My Own ‘Office’ Job | 2014 – Current

AT WORK

By the winter of 2014, I had been in Holland for just over a year. I felt confident that I had what it took to start my own consulting business and re-applied for my and my family’s visa’s with a new incorporation. I began to slowly taking on clients. The pace began to pick up quick in the spring.

Now 1.5 years into starting my second company, Twotone Consulting. We’re an Amsterdam based agency stoked on where sales & PR meet. We…

 

  • empower clients by building targeted lists of ideal customers & show them how
  • qualify leads, run automated outbound campaigns and generate new business
  • offer lead gen appointment setting + shared know how and 1:1 coaching
  • develop PR strategies to tell your story to the right people in the right way
  • create brand events and activations: sales pro meetups to casual rides

Key lessons so far:

  • Trust your team – 5 months in I hired Headroom, then 6 months later my first employees. Communicate well and you won’t have much to worry about execution. Track progress and hold people accountable.
  • Trust yourself – from long bike rides to publishing regular content. Make a name for yourself that people can comprehend and share with their network. Be confident about your decisions. Follow through.
  • Wake up early – #earlytobedearlytoshred is more than my most famous hashtag. It is really hard. So most people skip it. Give yourself a headstart. It is that simple.

In closing, it might be easy for readers and even myself to see how my “life turned out” in a logical way

But combining work, fun and passion whilst finding time for my family hasn’t at all been intuitive, straightforward or easy at all. Despite bumps in the road, the bicycle has been at the core of each, major professional era for me, the foundation of my closest friendships and the first thing my wife and I had in common ; )

For this reason I do often go back to the early decision to open the bike shop and how it impacted my life. I often say “it always comes back to the bike” but what does that really mean?

The essential formula for me: find a consistent passion that keeps you stoked and keep pushing on that. Over the years, that has meant going faster, further and on new terrain with new people. This dedication impacts how you hold yourself accountable and how you push yourself personally and professionally. Not to mention a constant stream of new contacts and adventures.

Keeping a routine of perpetual improvement that’s fun + remembering lessons like those above that you learn along the way will make all the difference!

I hope this story contains some concrete and actionable tips on how to go incorporate your passion into your job! In case you’d like to read more: I share weekly insights + interesting articles here: bit.ly/Subscribe-to-my-newsletter

Thanks for reading!

Featured image by Ian Matteson for Enve Composites.

Jon
❤️️ #ottogram #miragram @drbabyguns. I’m an ex-bikeshop owner, #earlytobedearlytoshred @rollcallams, co-organizer of @saleshackerams & founder of @twotoneams ✌️
I write about cycling, startups and sales weekly: www.twotoneams.link/newsletter

The future is yours

The future is yours

The future is yours. Says your grandmother. She is lovely. She makes great cookies, but… please! Has she not read the news? It is really hard to find a job after graduation!

True.

Companies are hardly hiring.

True.

Companies are not interested in my field of studies.

True.

Even if you find a job, it might just be a contract for a year.

True.

The economic recession might turn into a depression.

True.

Companies prefer people with experience.

True.

So, the future is certainly not mine!

Not true.

Despite all the doom and gloom that you might perceive of our time, you are in the most privileged position ever.

Privilege
You live in the digital age.
You have access to the world. To all the people. To all the knowledge. To all the ideas.

And, you not only have the possibility to access the world – you also know HOW to do it. Older generations struggle to understand the technology. Once they do, they run into a even larger problem. Their ideas of social interaction and etiquette are vastly different… and they do not work in the digital age. For you, connecting is as common as breathing.

The world has changed tremendously in the last 20 years. And it continuous to change ever more rapidly. You grew up in this era of change. You know no better than that things are changing constantly. You don’t have to adept to change. It is part of your DNA. You are probably not even aware of it.

That change and way of thinking is only slowly embraced and incorporated in the academic world. Schools and universities offer excellent and outstanding education, but the market place requires more than just that. The market place requires that you are in charge. You need to take the initiative. You need to be in the driver’s seat. That is essential.


Nothing is stopping you

Let’s get real here. Never ever before are people, and especially you, in a position to literally launch a new business from their bedroom.

Need finance? Get crowd funding.
Reach-out to the masses? Use your social media.
Technological issue? Ask your search engine.
Contact an industry leader? Send her an e-mail.
Looking for like minded people? Join a hub or an incubator.

Use your free time
Your studies are intensive. They require a lot of your attention, time and focus. And they should. But do not forget that your education is NOT the end goal. It is the beginning! You study for a higher purpose. To enjoy life. To bring about positive change in the world. To discover new things. Why wait with action till you get your official paper?

You can already start your own business. Right now. Nothing stops you from doing so. You have all the resources you need. Especially now. As a student it is a lot easier to contact corporations. People applaud motivated and inspired young people with initiatives. You rapidly extend your network and that will always be to your benefit later.

Perhaps your initiative fails. Great, well done! By failing, you have given yourself the best education life can give you. At least you now know what doesn’t work. This experience has tremendous value! It gives you a great advantage and impetus to get it right the next time. If you apply for jobs after graduation, an employer would be mad not to hire you!

I am not promoting to not study seriously anymore or to forego your studies altogether. On the contrary. I am actually advocating to USE your studies to already start and explore. You are now surrounded by bright and intelligent students (especially here at TheStudentGeneration). You are part of the academic world and have access to all the knowledge that you need to launch your business. What better environment can you wish for?

Good old wisdom
Go for it! But before you do, go give a big hug to your granny. She was right all along. The future is yours.

Bertil
Bertil Schaart Msc MBA is speaker, author and visionairy in the field of sense making, mindset and personal power. He (re)connects organisations and people with their strategic sense and purpose.

Bertil inspires to take one’s one responsibility in life and at work. He makes the audience aware of hidden social dogmas that limit thinking and subsequent action. By applying business thinking on a personal level, the mental context is expanded, issues dissolve and a new world of possibilities and power opens up.