Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Your 100-year old self - what would she say?

Spring break is over; the students are back – some feeling refreshed, and some feeling the stress already! While I’m still overwhelmed and finding it difficult to write blog posts consistently, I am pleased with how much I was able to accomplish over the break (with a great collaborative effort from my colleagues – so refreshing). Then, I started talking with some of the students as they made it back to campus…

While I accomplished a lot, it pales in comparison to the students who spent their time all over the world. We had teams of students in Ghana, Peru, and India working on projects ranging from micro-finance, artisan craft markets, and fish markets. Not to mention, our student groups who explored international cultures and economies through the KIPs program. And of course, there was also a strong contingent of students who took some time to relax, whether it meant hanging around Bloomington, traveling to Puerto Rico or even Dubai.

In my opinion, one of the great things about this experience is that students had a fantastic opportunity to take a step back from the day-to-day of the classroom and evaluate what they are good at (skills), what matters to them (values), and what keeps them motivated (interests). This is a valuable step for all of our students regardless of their plans at the end of the semester. For many, this spring break offered students a plethora of experiences they can use illustrate these points to future interviewers, colleagues, and friends, as each lends an element to their personal brand. However, it's not enough to have the experiences - you have to reflect on each and decide what's important to you (not to everyone else).

I invite each of you to be your own best career coach – the Future You. Marshall Goldsmith asks many of his clients to complete the following exercise:
"Imagine that you’re 100 years old and you’re getting ready to die. Before you take that last breath, you’re given a wonderful gift: the opportunity to go back in time and talk with the person who is reading this blog post today, to help this younger version of yourself have a better life – both personally and professionally. What advice would the wise 100-year-old you – who finally knows what really mattered in life – have for the one that is reading this blog post?"

Think about it. Leave us a comment and let us know what the 100-year-old you would tell yourself…

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