I was recently asked to speak with students in the fourth year Entrepreneurs Business Program at UPEI. Since my normal audiences are usually executives, managers, and professionals, I wondered what message I would share that could help scholars at this phase of their life.
It all comes down to the choices we make. When people make the “right” choices early in their life, it propels them on a trajectory where they hope to end up. By making bad decisions, life can go in a completely wrong direction. Just like when NASA sends a rocket to the moon. When it leaves earth, if it is only one small degree off course, it will miss the moon by over 4,000 miles. The same is true for life.
I have often heard from seasoned professionals who look back and wished they had made better choices in four key areas. My message to the class was a summary of the four choices you can make that will determine your health, happiness, relationships, and success.
The areas where people wished they had been more careful in their choices are:
1) Their career or profession:
The greatest investment you will ever make is in yourself. You will spend more time working than at any other activity; make sure you are doing what you truly love to do. Can you can look in the mirror and say “I love what I do so much I would do it for free”?
By taking a scientifically validated career preference assessment to analyze your natural talents and skills you will significantly increase the probability of making the right choice.
2) Who they chose as friends:
Your mother was right — again. The people with whom you spend most of your time will determine your activities, your level of self-confidence and your sense of self-worth. You will become most like the people you spend the majority of your time. In fact, there is scientific research that says your income will be the average income of your five closest friends.
You should choose your friends based on their character, not their personality. They should motivate, inspire and encourage you. Even Proverbs (13:20) says: “When you walk with the wise, you become wise.”
3) Their choice of spouse or partner:
Other than working, you will spend most of your time with your life partner. It is not easy to choose with whom you will fall in love. But, it is important that you have similar values, goals and lifestyles.
Before making a life commitment, determine objectively — is this the person I want to spend the rest of my life with? Who you marry will also determine where you live, what you eat, where you vacation, who you spend Christmas with and the children you will have (or not).
4) The goals they set:
There have been numerous studies that show students who write down one-year, five-year, and 10-year goals enjoy more success, experience greater happiness, better health, and accumulate significantly more wealth than those who don’t.
Everyone needs to have a sense of control over their own life. Setting annual goals which will determine your day-to-day activities is the most effective way to achieve this.
And finally, a personal observation. After meeting these young adults I am comforted that we are in good hands going into the future. They are bright, engaged, inquisitive, optimistic and graduating with great knowledge — both academic as well as practical. They are the economic hope for P.E.I.’s future.
UPEI is unique in that the “Self Employment – Behind the Scenes” program is taught by private sector entrepreneur Mike Cassidy, who understands the challenges of running a business.
My question for managers this week: “Are you making the choices today which will propel you towards the success, happiness, and peace you hope for?”