One of the most important moments of our lives comes at the time when haven’t yet quite reached your peak level of maturity. In fact, the age of 18 is perhaps the one point in our lives when we make the most mistakes, make the stupidest decisions, and issue the most half-hearted apologies to those who are so keen on calling out our mistakes. And yet, it’s at this time, as we’re entering college, liberating ourselves from our parents for possibly the first time, that we’re asked to determine our future.
Choosing a college major can influence the path we take for the rest of our lives. Does your degree necessarily directly dictate the only path you can take–certainly not. But does your major reflect what you’ll spend the next four years (or more, depending on your work ethic) studying intensely, learning about endlessly and preparing yourself for–absolutely.
Did you choose your major and subsequent career path by flipping open your college’s big book of majors and throwing a dart? Did you make the call by flipping a coin (or a beer bottle cap) and calling it in the air? Or did you choose your major by following your passions and selecting something you care about?
Finding something you’re passionate about is just one of the keys to leading a successful business life. Being honest and true to both yourself and those around you–having integrity–as well as a drive for success are characteristics that are not only intrinsic to those who succeed, but absolutely necessary.
Approaching your career with passion gives you the best shot at enjoying what you do. If you’re passionate about sustainability, pursue a career in sustainability. If you’re passionate about sports, pursue a career in sports. Find what you’re passionate about, regardless of what it is, and explore your options.
Some say that there needs to be a work/life divide to ensure that you don’t fall off your rocker–I disagree. If you find a job you like–a job you’re passionate about–you might not need that work/life divide. In fact, your work could become your life. That may conjure up images of someone who never puts down their phone, never stops checking emails and is always on call. But if your job is your passion, you should enjoy doing your work and following the career path you’ve always wanted.
Upholding good moral principles and being honest seems straightforward enough. However, honesty and integrity is not just restricted to telling your wife that maybe she doesn’t look great in that dress. To truly come into your own as a businessperson honesty and morals are of absolute importance.
Though this may put a slight damper on some college students’ dreams of becoming billionaires out of the gate, the fact of the matter is that you’re not always going to be successful. You’ll face failure at some point in your life almost unavoidably. It’s how you handle those failures, pull yourself back up and begin the road to recovery that define your integrity. Good businesspeople and good leaders don’t cheat, lie or smudge their way to the top. Don’t be that one friend that snags a few extra $1,000 bills every time you’re playing Monopoly (no one wants to be the banker, come on). Instead, let your principles guide how you approach business, and success will inevitably be in your future.
How can you expect to accomplish anything, even something you’re passionate about doing, without the motivation. You could have a passion for baseball, but if you’re too lazy to write about your team or go to the games, you’re doing little other than setting yourself up for failure. Highly motivated individuals will accomplish more in a shorter period of time than their lazier, less-driven counterparts. Productivity goes up when you or your employees are driven people, and turnover goes down.
While traits like integrity might not shine through when you’re first meeting someone, your passion and drive absolutely should be apparent to everyone you meet in the business world. Showing that you’re passionate about a cause and willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish your goals makes you more attractive to potential employers (and maybe potential dates).
Whether you’re managing your own business from the top, looking to break into a new field or just hoping to move out of your parents’ basement in the near future, integrity, passion and drive are unavoidably important character traits. Not only do they look great to interviewers and sound great when you’re networking, you’ll find that following your passions and loving what you do will have a huge impact on your life and mental health.