“Welcome to the real world.”

If you are to make a keyword cloud for everything people have been telling you since you graduated from college, this probably is the biggest key phrase you get.

This along with other cliches like “Follow your passion,” “Give your 110%,” and “Be true to yourself”, of course.

But if these cliches aren’t just cutting it for you, then we’ve got some fresh takes on how to get a head start on your career. These are some of the popular insights from the world’s most successful individuals.

1. Get a job, any job.

For SoulCycle CEO, Melanie Whelan, new graduates should forget about doing what they think they should be doing or what is expected of them and just get to work.

In an interview with The New York Times with Adam Bryant, Whelan said that new graduates to just get a job and just start working.

“You are going to learn a ton in whatever that job is, so don’t stress too much about what it is or where it is. Just take a job and put your head down, work hard, raise your hand for anything anybody asks you to do.”

For Whelan, it is vital that young professionals live in the present and stop worrying too much about where they are headed. She said the key is simply to work hard and to learn as much as one could.

“A lot of people think in terms of ‘should’ — I ‘should’ be a banker, I ‘should’ go to law school, I ‘should’ pursue what I studied in school,” she said. And for her, this is a huge mistake.

So, go live the moment.

2. Pick something, anything, and make it great.

Marissa Mayer, the former President and CEO of tech giant, Yahoo, shares one of the best advice she ever received during an interview with the Social Times. She said:

My friend Andre said to me, “You know, Marissa, you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to pick the right choice, and I’ve gotta be honest: That’s not what I see here. I see a bunch of good choices, and there’s the one that you pick and make great.” I think that’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten.”


3. You will receive plenty of criticisms; ignore just the unhelpful ones.

Motivational speaker, author, and CNBC host Suze Orman shares in a LinkedIn article her take on what career success looks like.

According to her, when other people started seeing that she’s getting more and more successful, she has essentially become a target of criticism. Some were much-needed ones, but plenty of them was “entirely disconnected from facts”.

She admits that at the beginning, she felt mad. But she eventually learned to ignore those that do not matter at all.

She wrote:

“A wise teacher from India shared this insight: The elephant keeps walking as the dogs keep barking. The sad fact is that we all have to navigate our way around the dogs in our career: external critics, competitors, horrible bosses, or colleagues who undermine. Based on my experience, I would advise you to prepare for the yapping to increase along with your success.”


4. Always ask yourself this one question.

Dr. Phil McGraw, the popular author, psychologist, television personality and host of the popular television show “Dr. Phil” says that before you submit your work, ask yourself if it would be okay for you that you be judged solely based on that one particular work you are about to submit.

In an interview with Business Insider, Dr. Phil shared that he learned this lesson from his son during the second season of his show. He said he was having a hard time deciding if he should cover a particular topic for an episode. So, he consulted his son about it and this is what his son told him:

“You have to ask yourself this question: ‘If someone is only ever going to see one Dr. Phil episode in their life, would you be OK with it being this one?’ If the answer is ‘no,’ don’t do it.'”

It stuck. McGraw said. From that moment on, he keeps his son’s advice in mind now with all of his work, whether it’s a book he’s writing, an answer he gives in an interview, or an episode he does.

5. Be patient. Be kinder to yourself.

As a new graduate, you are probably idealistic – typical of most college graduates. Perhaps, you want to make a change, you want to create an impact. Sadly, you will realize soon enough that impact does not take place when we want it to. The sooner you realize this, the kinder you will be towards yourself.

Simon Sinek, a thought leader in leadership and a popular resource speaker, aptly captures this newbie mistake in this video:


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