Podcast

Episode: 199 |
Will Bachman:
Tips for Graduates:
Episode
199

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Will Bachman

Tips for Graduates

Show Notes

The New York Phi Beta Kappa Association asked me to share some tips with recent graduates in the New York City metro area as a panelist at an event this evening.

I came up with a list of 48 tips and figured I’d share them here first.

Some tips are probably obvious; some non-obvious tips may also be not helpful.

I hope the set of non-obvious + useful tips is non-zero.

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

Will Bachman 00:01
Hey, welcome to Unleashed. I’m your host Will Bachman. So tonight I have been invited to go be a panelist by the Phi Beta Kappa society and the New York Phi Beta Kappa association to sketch share my thoughts with the with young professionals who have recently been inducted in the New York area, I guess about thoughts around career and how to be successful and thrive. So I thought I’d put together my thoughts and share them first here on the podcast before I head out this evening. So I’ve made a list of a bunch of points, and I will go through them so I have 48 points to go through. All right, number one, goals. Write down your goals. Consider organizing your goals by category, such as fitness, family, friends, skills, reading places to visit, things you want to buy, things you want to do. If you write down your goals, apparently the science says you’re 20 to 40% more likely to accomplish your goals. in my estimation, that probably way underestimates the impact of writing them down. It’s even better if you write down SMART goals, namely Specific, Measurable, Attainable, relevant and time bound. Warren Buffett would have you select the top five goals and just ignore the rest. And it’s helpful if you do a daily review of your activities and saying what am I doing today to advance towards my goals. Number two, fitness. Get up and move every day. A light workout is far better than no workout at all. Think about incorporating micro workouts into your routine. That might be one or five or 10 pushups whenever you return to your office. Think about getting a standing desk. And I recommend getting a personal trainer once a week at least. It’s an appointment is a forcing function to make sure at least once a week you have a serious workout, I tend to run five or six or seven days a week. Kind of a light jog. But then that one day a week I really get crushed. And that is super helpful. Number three diet. Michael Pollan’s advice is eat food, not too much, mostly plants. And that is pretty good advice. One tip here is see about changing your routine or incorporating something regular in your in your daily habits. So for example, for what I’ve done is for lunch, I just have a plate of raw vegetables every day for lunch. And that is one way to just you know, have something it’s just the habit, your carrots, celery, cucumbers, phenol, etc, all chopped up. And then you have to think about it. Number four, sleep, get seven, eight hours of sleep. Think about waking up before your peers. I think that you’re more likely to get a massive advantage over your peers if you’re productive between the hours of five and 7am than between the hours of 10pm to midnight. Course your mileage may vary. As genetics plays a role. And I understand I might be on the extreme end, my own optimal sleep pattern is about 9:30pm to five in the morning. Again, figure out what optimal is what’s optimal for you. Number five, mingling. Learn how to mingle, I used to be terrible at it. Now I’m at least average. Don’t go ask up to someone and ask what do you do super boring. Instead, find some questions that are a little bit out of the ordinary, such as, what are you most excited about right now? or How did you get here? Or so what are you passionate about? I recommend reading the art of mingling fun and proven techniques for mastering any room. And the author Jean Martin net was the guest on episode 103 of this show, which was a really fun episode for me because jeans book was hugely helpful for me when I read it 15 or 20 years ago. Number six side projects. Successful people tend to have side projects, something they’re doing that’s not required by their current job, go and build something. Number seven, create a portfolio of your work. Showing is way more impressive than telling. So work on building sanitize samples of work that you’ve done online if possible. So you can say to people here, I built this. Number eight, build an audience of people who are interested in what you have to say. Number nine, reading mostly books. Theodore Roosevelt read at least one book per day over his entire life. One book every day. He was president. How much could you read if you converted Instagram And Facebook time to reading books. I think reading books are more valuable because they’ve been around people invest more time and writing them. And think about it. You read a newspaper article, it’s gone the next day, but people spend like years writing a book. I also recommend including in there some biography. The book biographies of Lyndon Johnson and Robert Moses by Robert Carroll are a great place to start. And read articles you disagree with. When you read, consider writing down what you take away from the book and sharing that. Number 10 News. Mostly, try to avoid reading the news. books do a better job helping you understand the world and time is limited. Number 11. Write daily. Number 12. contribute to the conversation. Whether that’s a blog, or podcasts or videos, or LinkedIn posts contribute. Number 13 consider creating a family and friends newsletter. Send it out periodically. Maybe not every month, maybe every quarter, maybe twice a year. It doesn’t have to be all your writing. It could be articles, you found interesting photos of you your travels some quotes you came across what you’re up to professionally. Consider using MailChimp to send that out. It’s a nice way to stay in touch with a bunch of people who care about you, family and friends from college. extended family, let them know what you’re up to. Number 14. Learn what the other departments do at work, volunteer and help out. If you are in marketing. For example, go and help pack orders when the ops departments busy if you’re in production, offered to help the marketing department at the convention. If you’re in finance, ask a sales rep to show you how the CRM system works. Become the expert on the systems that are used at work. So master the E RP system, there’s probably a manual or some online videos that you can watch. Most people won’t do this, but you can learn how to do everything in the tool more than your job demands. And eventually, someone senior will recognize that you’re the expert and ask for your help. Number 15. In meetings offer to send the recap email. If you’re the junior person, it will give you a reason to be there. Number B you’ll get noticed by senior people and see it gives you power to frame what was agreed to number 16 at least once in your 20s take a long walk. If you can afford the time off work. El Camino de Santiago or the path of St. James across Spain is a great choice. You walk 500 miles from ronsis vise to Santiago and Galicia. And it’s it’s hard to take that time off later. And it is amazing experience. Take a long walk and really learn the rhythm of what it means to walk that kind of distance. Number 17. show up at work before the boss number 18. If your company is publicly held, read the 10k know how profitable your company is, and the names of the senior executives. Number 19. Send holiday cards. Yes, old school physical cards. It reminds people that you exist. And if you do it consistently every year, they’ll appreciate it. Number 20 scrapbook collect all the miscellaneous papers that come through your life, you know the important ones and save them for a scrapbook. Maybe do one scrapbook per year. And if you don’t have time to do the scrapbook, throw them in a box number 21 annual photo book. Eventually you’re gonna lose track of all the digital photos that you’ve taken. So once a year, make an actual physical photo book for the year using Shutterfly or some similar service. your grandkids will appreciate it 22 travel it’s far cheaper to travel now than it will be later. So go 23 foreign language reinforced the foreign language that you learn speaking up or that you learn in college or learn a new one now if you feel only speak your native language and as a way of keeping it up read novels in that foreign language. Number 24 habits. Learning to eliminate bad habits and develop the habits that you want is the master skill 25 routines or rituals. religions have rituals for a reason. It’s not enough to understand something it’s important to reinforce and recommit to it daily. So create your own rituals to embed the habits. For example, Mine is, I want to make sure that at the beginning of every day, I, you know, think through and organize my day. So, in the morning, I walk the dog to Starbucks, I have my bullet journal with me, I create an action item list for the day and prioritize the top action items timebox the day, and then I walked back, I drop off the dog, and then I’ll book and I run through miles listening to an audio book. And then I eat still cut oats and blueberries, I shower, I go to my office, I do five push ups, and I clear my desk. Okay, so that is my morning routine right now. And it embeds getting some exercise and you know, thinking through my day at a clear time of the morning. Number 26 manage your to do list. This falls in the last one. So the most valuable skill of the 21st century is figuring out what to do next, I recommend the bullet journal method. It’s create a daily list of your action items and create other lists as well. You know your goals for the month your goals for the quarter. blog posts, you should write podcast episodes you want to write. And having that time in the morning to actually write it out by hand, I find hugely valuable 27 alcohol and drugs. I don’t know anyone my age who wishes they had consumed more drugs and alcohol over the last three decades. I do know people whose lives have been ruined by drugs and alcohol. So consider reducing your consumption if you do partake mental health number 28. If you suffer from mental health issues, get counseling and seek help. Number 29. DENTIST get a cleaning four times a year instead of two. cleanings are far easier when you only go for three months have elapsed instead of six. Number 30 activism try to make a difference on a very small scale. So consider, instead of investing your time in a global debate, where on the margin, you’re really not going to make much of a difference. Instead, consider getting the pothole fixed on the street in front of your house or something very local, where your marginal effort will actually get it done. 31 social media consider avoiding discussing politics online 32 computer whenever it’s within your control, use two monitors it is a massive boost to productivity. Number 33. IT security. Use a password program like LastPass and also set up two step verification for your email. Number 34. Evernote, get an Evernote subscription or some competing Notes app. But as far as I can tell evernotes about the best save articles that you find interesting that you’re reading online, save web pages you might want to return to later. It’s an incredibly useful archive to see what you’ve been interested in the past and to find some article that you read several years ago that you want to revisit. Number 35 dating a significant other to find a significant other if you don’t have one now, be an interesting person and do interesting things. Get to know people outside your industry be a connector. Other point is most of the married couples I know did not meet until their late 20s. So searching for a mate is a big time investment. And since at least in my experience, most people that end up being married don’t meet into the late 20s. There might be other ways to invest the time between ages of 22 and 27. Number 36 friends, use the telephone and call your friends. Consider organizing a group outing. Get group rate tickets to a play or to a sporting event or to some kind of happening. And once you bought the tickets, organize your friends to go with you. organizing events is a great skill. Send handwritten notes, get some correspondence cards, have stamps at the ready. And occasionally send handwritten notes. It’s a really nice habit to pick up. Invest in your friendships from college. Turns out, it’s actually quite difficult to form new friends after college or after graduate school. There’s something about being in school that just makes it easier to form friendships. So it’s a it’s a sense it’s hard to form those friendships. Hold on to the ones you’ve got. Stay in touch with professors. Who would actually recognize you send them a note to those that wouldn’t remember you. And just stay in touch with your professors as well. You may never get anything out of it, but they will appreciate it. Number 37 helped to organize your high school or college reunion. Again, organizing events is a useful side project type skill can come in handy professionally. Number 38. Go to a conference in your industry, even if you might think you’re too junior to go, even if you have to pay for it yourself. Although if you volunteer to help in some way, you can probably wrangle an invitation to go for free. Number 39 get a triple A membership, even if you don’t have a car, it’s often it’s the best discount that a hotel offers. In some cases, even better than big consulting firms, or big corporations get asked for the triple a discount. And if you ever need a tow, you will appreciate that you got your AAA card finances, get a life insurance policy now get a 30 year term life insurance policy. It’ll be cheaper than if you get one in a few years from now, when you have a significant other and kids start saving for retirement, if you’re employed, certainly contribute to your defined contribution your 401k plan, if you’re independent, get an IRA or SEP IRA. And unless you believe that you have unique insight into the market, invest in index funds. Number 41. Here is a get rich quick plan that actually works. Live in a lower cost neighborhood where you are in the top 25% of income instead of in the bottom 25% of income, your expert expectations of what is normal adjust based on what you see your neighbors doing. And if you live in a place where you’re in the top 25% of income, you’ll feel more wealthy and you’ll end up spending less. Number 40 to start developing or capturing your philosophy on life. Here’s a couple of you know my beliefs. Education has a half life of perhaps two to four years. So my college degree that I got what I don’t know almost three years ago is basically worthless. David A. Fields, I learned this from David A. Fields, measure wealth in terms of relationships. Number three, everyone has someone did something to teach you. And in most relationships, you won’t get a return on your investment in terms of, you know, practical benefits. But that’s okay, it’s hard to predict which relationships will be able to return. So keep investing in all of them. Number 43. Update your LinkedIn profile. Number 44. reach out and ask someone that you don’t know some question some question about their industry, about their company about something. It’s good practice number 45 skills, how to delay being replaced by artificial intelligence. Right? If you aren’t writing, you probably aren’t thinking. Learn how to learn, expand your toolkit of influence skills, and learn negotiation skills. Take a course in negotiation, that’s really the best way to learn negotiation, beyond engaging in negotiations. Find something find some way to get into a sales role, if not with your current employer. And as a side gig, help a friend sell something. You know, volunteering for a political campaign is a form of sales, you know, for your local community or religious organization. You know, their sales, learning how to actually get people to willingly part with their money, in return for something that they perceive is more valuable than the money in their pocket is incredibly valuable skill and something that may be the last thing that AI will replace. take the initiative to build something. We talked before about creating an event or throwing a party learning how to create attention online and learn how to code number 46. Learn how to ask for feedback and how to accept it gracefully. So McKinsey, they taught us the three part of feedback framework, which was when you’re giving feedback, it’s saying, I noticed that you did this the effect it had on others in the room or on me was this in the future, you might want to consider doing that instead. So learn how to give feedback and learn how to ask for it. Number 47. Take advantage of all the cool stuff in your city, particularly BK before kids. So that means Theater in New York City. Get the today ticks out And the TDF app. Forget about the expensive Broadway crowd pleasers. You can go to amazing Theater in New York City for off off Broadway for nine bucks. concerts in the parks often free museums, often free booktype book talks by authors often free, a lot of the best stuff in the city is free. And finally, start developing a list of thinkers that you follow. For me, that would include this just a very short list of mine would be Seth Godin, Tyler Cowen, and the school of life with a lender baton. Mine, my list would be much longer than that, but start developing your list. So that’s 48 tips for young graduates. I probably will come up with some more. But hope you found this helpful. And again, if you would like to get the weekly email about Unleashed so you don’t miss an episode, and you’ll want to listen to everyone but you know, what’s what I’m talking about? email me at unleashed@umbrex.com that links in the show notes, and I will put you on the mailing list send you every week, a short note on the most recent episodes, and occasionally some bonus material. Thanks for listening

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