As a young person looking toward the future, success can seem scary, if not impossible. But the truth is, reaching our goals is possible at any age. With hard work, determination, self-discovery and a bit of research and guidance, getting where we want to be should cause excitement, not fear.
At LEAP Foundation DC, we’re here to help prepare today’s youth for a tomorrow that is filled with success, achievements and the desire to challenge one’s abilities.
Here are a few ways you can reach your goals:
Get to know yourself
It’s a part of most college and professional interviews – the dreaded “strengths and weaknesses” question. But this is valuable not only to the potential school or employer, but to the individual, as well. Getting to know oneself and recognizing that we all have skills and abilities that make us stand out and qualities that we know we could improve upon is a great way to encourage and nurture personal growth. Ask yourself a few questions: Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years? What resources are available to help you get there? What are the qualities that you find to be most desirable about yourself and what areas could use some attention?
Know your resources
If you are a high school student, you are in an excellent position to utilize many of the FREE services offered by your school district or community. Speak to your guidance counselor, sign up for a club or visit the local library. Shadow someone in an area of professional interest or apply for an internship at a business that could offer some insight. Use the world around you and the experiences of others to create a path that is unique to your strengths and ultimate goals.
Whether you intend to one day work in a public position or would prefer to stay behind-the-scenes, a course in public speaking can benefit you in several ways. Learning to speak with others watching allows you to feel more comfortable in most situations. This means that when you want something, you have the inner confidence to assert yourself in a meaningful and productive way. You’ll be more able to explain why YOU are the student that college wants or why YOU should be hired for the job. You’ll communicate better and more effectively and know how to react under stressful circumstances, such as when it’s time to ask for that raise or promotion.
Never stop learning
In high school and college, or when it’s time to learn that new job, education is a requirement. But what happens after graduation or when you find yourself established in a position? Find a way to continue learning. Explore the world around you through traveling, take an online course in something that interests you, speak to your employer about furthering your education for your current position, but never stop feeding your brain. Not only does the desire to learn look impressive to others, but it knocks down boundaries and sets you up to be the well-rounded, highly educated individual that is most desirable for the person on the other end of the negotiating table.