There is no off-season for champions. Those that max out their success simply move from performance to preparation. Think athletes, musicians, but also you. Students who look at the summer as their off-season miss out on a valuable time to develop themselves. Without the time constraints of going to class and studying, you now have an incredible opportunity to truly invest in yourself.
If you aren’t investing in yourself, you aren’t growing. So you can spend the four-month break between semesters on cruise control, or aggressively make moves. I was a College Athlete and much of my success came from the development I gained in the summer. Hitting the weights and working on technique lead to leaps and bounds of improvement that set me apart from others.
When I connected those principles of growth to my professional and leadership development, I saw immediate results. You can spend intentional time investing in yourself during the summer to make you a stronger leader and work on developing specific habits and skills that will help you catapult your career. There are many examples of those who invested in themselves while they were students (and especially during the summer) and then saw awesome results. But of course, there are many more examples of students who don’t invest in themselves and so they don’t grow at all. A true principle for everyone is that success loves speed, so the sooner you start working and developing, the quicker you will see results.
I know that students aren’t often taught to work on leadership development while a student. All your focus should only be on your classes alone, right? I am a huge advocate for education and have high goals for myself as well, but your time as a student can go extremely underutilized if you don’t work on your own development in addition to gaining your education. Call it the “other” education, the social and leadership skills you need to know to understand how to use the education you gain in the classroom in the real world. If you do both, you’ll see double the results! A diploma and the leadership capabilities to make an immediate impact in your career.
There are a few ways you can catapult your development during the summer. Start with these:
Recognize Your Values and Goals
If you find yourself with a bit more time on your hands during the summer (and even if you don’t) then you should spend some time identifying what is most important to you. Find your number one priorities. Identify your passions and what you truly want to accomplish in life. You know the questions, students get asked them all the time. What do you want to be when you grow up? What is your major? What are you going to do with that? I remember feeling the social pressure to give a specific job title as an answer to all of these questions, and turns out I didn’t pursue any of them. The first job I had in my career was not even one that I knew existed while in High School. Don’t feel tied down to a job title unless you know that is exactly what you want to do. Instead, make a list of what you want your life to look like 10 years from now. Where do you live? What do you do? Who are you with? Be sure to think big, and review the list often so you can be committed. Those who are interested in a successful life might think about it, but don’t take any action. Those who are committed take action.
Involve the Right People and Resources
I call the people you spend the most time around your Circle of Influence. This Circle is the most influential aspect of your life. The people you spend the most time around will either build you up or break you down. Your friends help you deem what the minimum standard is for everything, how much you study, the food you eat, your habits, and more, it is all impacted by the people you are around. Reflect on the people you spend the most time around and make the decisions that will bring you closer to accomplishing your 10 year plan. If you need to find that social support through social media, so be it. I have networked with many people to help boost up my Circle so that I have higher standards. This Nix Your Limits Leadership Academy was created for this exact reason, you can find out more information here about that opportunity.
It is also important to surround yourself with the resources you need to succeed. That comes in different forms. You can foll0w successful people on social media, but be sure to watch how they do things. Watching how they work and lead is often where the most impactful lessons can be learned. You can also find blogs and podcasts that will provide valuable training and tools. There is plenty out there, you just have to look for it. Start implementing what you learn into your summer job and watch for results.
Strategize to Develop Skills and Habits
Most leadership skills and habits are universally beneficial to everyone. It doesn’t matter what career field you end up in, things like communicating effectively, personal organization, conflict mediation, and personal accountability will always serve you well. Think about people you admire because of what they have accomplished. This doesn’t have to be someone you know personally. Now look at what makes these people successful. What habits do they have? How do they communicate? Use their success as a roadmap of how you can see positive results. Start developing these skills because the earlier you do, the sooner you’ll see results.
Whatever you do end up spending your time doing this summer, be the best that you can. Have the best customer service of any cashier. Be the most organized shift lead of the company. Communicate better than anyone with your boss. Today matters, and if you look for opportunities to grow, and follow through with the action, you’ll find yourself developing the skills that most are waiting until they graduate to start working on.
If you don’t execute, you don’t get results. It is great to feel motivated, read blog posts, watch YouTube videos, and look up quotes, but unless you do anything about it, you will keep seeing the same old results. Stop wasting your time and take action! Stop only asking yourself what you learned and start asking yourself what you are going to do. Those who take action get what they want. Will you?
You have incredible potential within you. There is no shortage to success. You can set goals, you can audit your circle of influence, you can make lists of habits you need to develop, but until you do something about it you will never see the results you want. Take action this summer, even though most won’t. Those who do will start living the life of their dreams while everyone else is still out there dreaming.