Young Professional Advice from Friends – Chris J. Gaddis

This is a  Young Professional Advice from Friends post written by Chris J. Gaddis from Chrisjgaddis.com and the author of Athena’s Gift YPAF is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting a career and conquering your twenties.

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I was contacted by Katie to write a guest post for this blog. As I was thinking about the opportunity and what to write about, I thought back to the whole reason I am now doing, what I am doing. I will spare you the long story and just give you what you need to know.

My wife and I graduated from Keuka College, a beautiful college on Keuka Lake. Graduation weekend is always held on Memorial Day and my family and my wife’s family decided to rent a house on the lake for the weekend. Ever since then every Memorial Day weekend we rented a house on the lake together.

In 2009 we again rented a house on the lake. Through a long series of events, that I feel were truly meant to be, our dog Athena ended up getting hit by a car and died that weekend. Looking back it seems as if my whole life was being pushed to this one moment in my life. The events and occurrences of my life up to that time seem to fit together like a puzzle; the different pieces coming together at that exact moment.

Needless to say it was a pretty sudden and unexpected death that affected my wife and me greatly. I could not shake the feeling it was “meant to be” and immediately tried to decipher why that was. What I learned, summed up in one sentence, is life is too short to do things you don’t want to do.

And this is what my blog is all about. I decided that I wanted to spend more time with my wife and kids. I wanted to work for myself and stop making other people rich from my efforts. I came up with a plan to do this and I have now implemented it.

This is not an easy thing to do. Athena died almost 5 years ago. This plan was supposed to be implemented within one year and I am just getting to it. I feel guilty I did not get it done sooner. Unfortunately, life is like that. We all have the best intentions, but ultimately life gets the best of us and we find ourselves 15 years later asking “How did that happen?” So we all need that guidance and a jumpstart.

In the end, happiness is different for everyone. It could mean any number of things. I am also a firm believer that happiness is a choice that we can make. Whether it is being happy with our self, our spouse, our job, or whatever else the case may be. To find true happiness, you just have to do and be what you want; no matter what that is or what people say. And it is never too late to do so.

After Athena’s death, and in my search to help it all make sense, I put together a personal action plan that followed these six steps and it helped me to take a snapshot of my life and analyze if that is where I wanted to be and what I wanted to change. So I want to leave you with a 6 step process to getting what you want out of life.

  1. Create a Mission statement – Mine was simply “To translate what gives me joy, fulfillment, and makes me genuinely happy, into money and a career that will allow me to work for myself and spend more time with my family.” This meant starting my own business as a Coach to help individuals and small business owners to get what they wanted out of their life and business. Formulating this statement allows us to create a short sentence that summarizes exactly what we want from life and this will help to keep it in the forefront of our minds. So anything we do, any decision we make, will hopefully be made with our mission in mind.
  2. Make a list of your priorities –This list will make your decisions easier as you will know what is important to you. Anytime there is a conflict consult this list and make the decision based on your priorities. Here is an example of my list.
    1. Family
    2. Church
    3. Health
    4. Work / Money
    5. Service to Others
    6. Hobbies / Recreational Time
  3. Take an Inventory – List every single thing in your life. The people, organizations, career, hobbies, and anything else we spend time on in our lives. Write a short summary of each thing. Explain what it means to us, what we get from it, and if we are neglecting other areas of our lives because of it.
  4. Make Decisions - Take this list and make a decision on every aspect of your life. Decide whether time you spend on certain activities could be spent helping you achieve other goals in areas of your life. Decide if you will continue some activities, change others, or start a new one. Time is the most precious commodity we have; do not waste it.
  5. Develop a Plan – The most important step. Develop a game plan of what has to take place to reach your dreams and make it happen. Also tackle you goals for your life. Break it down into small time frames a week, a month, a year, and then longer 5, 10, 20, 30 years out. These will constantly change so check them frequently.
  6. Schedule it, Tell Everyone, Follow Through, and let nothing stand in your way – By scheduling your goals and your action items it allows you to set definite deadlines. That gives you a better chance of sticking to it. If you tell everyone what you are doing you are now creating ownership of your goals. And of course nothing can stand in your way if you let it. If you find yourself making excuses you are giving up too easily.

I know it may seem crazy that some dog changed my life, but it was the lessons I learned from Athena that changed my life. We all learn differently. Hopefully, after you read this and do these steps it will be enough for you to do it. Apparently I needed more to have it stick with me; don’t let that happen to you.

If you liked what you read here please feel free to visit my website at www.chrisjgaddis.com and subscribe to my blog. You will also be able to purchase the book I published on my life with and after Athena entitled “Athena’s Gift.”

If you are having trouble starting your personal action plan contact me and I will send you a copy of mine to reference. Best of Luck!

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 Chris married his high school sweetheart, Christy. They now have two children and reside in Rock Hill, SC. He currently owns and operates a Financial Services and Coaching company. He also wrote and published “Athena’s Gift.” You can learn more about Chris at http://www.chrisjgaddis.com.

Sneak Peek: YPAF from Chris J. Gaddis

 YPAF is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting a career and conquering your twenties. This week  Jimmy Vo, a systems analyst nearing the end of his twenties shared what he would have done differently. On Monday, September 30th we will hear from Chris J. Gaddis from ChrisJGaddis.com and author of Athena’s GiftHere is a sneak peek…

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I was contacted by Katie to write a guest post for this blog. As I was thinking about the opportunity and what to write about, I thought back to the whole reason I am now doing, what I am doing. I will spare you the long story and just give you what you need to know.

My wife and I graduated from Keuka College, a beautiful college on Keuka Lake. Graduation weekend is always held on Memorial Day and my family and my wife’s family decided to rent a house on the lake for the weekend. Ever since then every Memorial Day weekend we rented a house on the lake together.

In 2009 we again rented a house on the lake. Through a long series of events, that I feel were truly meant to be, our dog Athena ended up getting hit by a car and died that weekend. Looking back it seems as if my whole life was being pushed to this one moment in my life. The events and occurrences of my life up to that time seem to fit together like a puzzle; the different pieces coming together at that exact moment.

Needless to say it was a pretty sudden and unexpected death that affected my wife and me greatly. I could not shake the feeling it was “meant to be” and immediately tried to decipher why that was. What I learned, summed up in one sentence, is life is too short to do things you don’t want to do.

For the full article and 6 steps to  jump start your action plan from Chris, tune in Monday morning at 9am for the full post. 

Young Professional Advice from Friends – Jimmy Vo

This is a  Young Professional Advice from Friends post written by Jimmy Vo, a systems analyst nearing the end of his twentiesYPAF is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting a career and conquering your twenties.

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During my undergraduate “college career” I took the slow and steady approach in getting my bachelor’s degree. Throughout my undergraduate studies, I transferred twice which attributed to my prolonged college career. After nearly 5 and half years, I was able to put college behind me at nearly age 24. Upon graduation, I was lucky enough to land a full-time job as a systems analyst but I realized I could be further in my career in my mid-twenties. So what would I have done differently?

Part-Time Student

When I moved back home, my second college was a community college. I decided I wanted to live with my friends to start my 20s. Given that I had to pay rent I had to work two-part jobs selling jeans and baking bagels. I didn’t have time to commit to taking a full course load. Stupid. It was quite a setback.

I should have stayed home with Mom (she enjoyed having me around), went to school full-time and saved money.

Just Showing Up

I rarely missed a lecture, however that’s all I did during my undergraduate studies. I woke up, went to class, kept to myself, did my assignments and worked on exams. I don’t know if it’s because I’m an introvert or I thought I was too cool.

I did not leverage college activities, student groups, and more importantly I network with my classmates. I truly believe one of the biggest value propositions of college is meeting like-minded individuals. You never know, who you could help or who could help you land your next job.

Part-Time Employee

I’ve worked since I was 16 and don’t have many gaps in my employment history. Most of my part-time employment was in related to food or retail. Being able to fold jeans, make breakfast sandwiches, or counting MacBook Pros did not translate experience wise in a career in Information Technology (Note: I did learn a few skills like customer service, teamwork and leadership which I can’t discount). Perhaps I would have had more job offers and a higher starting salary if I had 4 years of part-time IT experience as a new college graduate.

I didn’t seek enough opportunities that could build up my technical experience. I failed to take on IT internships when I had the chance because I would have made more money working a retail job.

My mindset and vision was very short-sighted. I didn’t see the big picture because I coasted through college at a slow pace. This put me a year and a half behind of time I could have been working full-time. I also just went to class and left, not taking advantage of all the other value college brought to the table. Lastly, I did not seek opportunities that built out my resume and IT experience.

After graduating in 2010, I created a plan and stuck with it since, better late than never. I took opportunities to improve myself by joining Toastmasters, professionally networking with social media, getting a master’s degree, working on projects outside of work and working hard every day. I’d have to say I’m really enjoying my late twenties as I get to work hard, seek new challenges but most importantly have a some fun along the way. I challenge you to not wait until you graduate to have a plan, like I did.

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Jimmy Vo, a systems analyst is a twenty something geek who loves sharing his experiences. In his spare time you can find him tweeting (@JimmyVo), working on his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or working on various projects.

YPAF Sneak Peek – Jimmy Vo

YPAF is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting a career and conquering your twenties.This week Rebecca Fraser-Thill from Working Self shared her talked . On Monday, August 23rd we will hear from Jimmy Vo, a systems analyst nearing the end of his twenties Here is a sneak peek…

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During my undergraduate “college career” I took the slow and steady approach in getting my bachelor’s degree. Throughout my undergraduate studies, I transferred twice which attributed to my prolonged college career. After nearly 5 and half years, I was able to put college behind me at nearly age 24. Upon graduation, I was lucky enough to land a full-time job as a systems analyst but I realized I could be further in my career in my mid-twenties. So what would I have done differently?

Part-Time Student

When I moved back home, my second college was a community college. I decided I wanted to live with my friends to start my 20s. Given that I had to pay rent I had to work two-part jobs selling jeans and baking bagels. I didn’t have time to commit to taking a full course load. Stupid. It was quite a setback.

I should have stayed home with Mom (she enjoyed having me around), went to school full-time and saved money.

For the full article and the rest of what Jimmy Vo, tune in Monday morning at 9am for the full post. 

Young Professional Advice from Friends – Rebecca Fraser-Thull

This is a  Young Professional Advice from Friends post written by Rebecca Fraser-Thull at Working SelfYPAF is a is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting a career and conquering your twenties.

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Our Happiest Moments Appear In the Bull’s Eye of Our Worst Times

            My life between 22 and 25 was downright miserable. I was in a doctoral program I’d entered solely to avoid getting a job; my new husband couldn’t land the teaching job for which he’d long trained and instead spent eternal days scrubbing rental cars in a suit and tie; and our financially-deprived notion of “eating out” was the local SUBWAY followed by a stop at the gas station for ice pops.

After three years of agony, I finally decided to ditch the PhD program that had been the wrong move from the start and move to my dream state of Maine. Once we left Ithaca, though, I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the great times we had. And I still can’t:  We were newlyweds, reveling in the splendor of our wedding photos and taking weekend trips (albeit to friends’ couches) at the drop of a hat. We were the proud parents of our first dog/pseudo-baby, snapping pics of him at every opportunity and taking him on long walks through a new park every weekend. And I was a graduate student who, despite hating every pressure-filled minute of seminars and homework, met people whose views of the world changed my own and who helped me discover confidence in my own voice in a way I couldn’t have otherwise.

Part of this “weren’t the hard times actually good” thing is a trick of the mind – psychologists tell us we rosy up the past to maintain our sanity – but part of it is just life, which comes in a hodgepodge of excellent and atrocious, hilarious and gut-wrenching, mundane and sublime. The first time we feel the full force of this wicked brew is in our 20s, and it’s so disorienting that we don’t know which pieces to cling onto, which to worry about in our minds, which to plaster across the Internet.

My advice? Keep making music, even if your instrument is bent, rusted and out of tune.  When the days are slogging by and the nights are filled with trills of panic, snatch a moment to sit in a park and look at the lush beauty of nature or to read a snippet of a novel that contains words that whisk you away. When work is unbearable and the tunnel ahead looks darker still, steal a day to run to the beach or into the mountains, or to volunteer to care for homeless pets or homeless vets or whatever your passion might be. When life feels like a lot of crud without much cream, make the fancy dish you’ve been eyeing on Pinterest or schedule the weekend road trip you’ve long been plotting.

Believe me, you’ll be glad that you kept making beautiful music with your dilapidated twentysomething instrument. Because before long, the high notes are the only things you’ll carry with you.

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Rebecca with her first dog – and “baby” – Rundle, now passed, back when they were making happy moments amongst the misery of a poorly-chosen graduate program.

Rebecca Fraser-Thill runs the website and blog Working Self, which explores the intersection of work and identity with a focus on twentysomethings. She has been teaching psychology at Bates College since 2003 and is also a life and career coach, freelance writer, and keynote speaker. Connect with her on Twitter @WorkingSelf.

YPAF Sneak Peek – Rebecca Fraser-Thill

YPAF is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting a career and conquering your twenties. This week Leigh from SimpLeigh Organized shared ten pieces of advice she would give her own son. On Monday, August 16th we will hear from Rebecca Fraser-Thill  from Working SelfHere is a sneak peek…

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Our Happiest Moments Appear In the Bull’s Eye of Our Worst Times

            My life between 22 and 25 was downright miserable. I was in a doctoral program I’d entered solely to avoid getting a job; my new husband couldn’t land the teaching job for which he’d long trained and instead spent eternal days scrubbing rental cars in a suit and tie; and our financially-deprived notion of “eating out” was the local SUBWAY followed by a stop at the gas station for ice pops.

After three years of agony, I finally decided to ditch the PhD program that had been the wrong move from the start and move to my dream state of Maine. Once we left Ithaca, though, I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the great times we had. And I still can’t:  We were newlyweds, reveling in the splendor of our wedding photos and taking weekend trips (albeit to friends’ couches) at the drop of a hat. We were the proud parents of our first dog/pseudo-baby, snapping pics of him at every opportunity and taking him on long walks through a new park every weekend. And I was a graduate student who, despite hating every pressure-filled minute of seminars and homework, met people whose views of the world changed my own and who helped me discover confidence in my own voice in a way I couldn’t have otherwise.

For the full article and great advice from Rebecca Fraser-Thill, tune in Monday morning at 9am for the full post. 

Young Professional Advice from Friends: The Sky is the Limit – Leigh E

This is a  Young Professional Advice from Friends post written by Leigh at SimpLeigh OrganizedYPAF is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting a career and conquering your twenties.

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Skys the limit

I have had the special and unique privilege of being asked by Katie at AskTheYoungProfessional.com to offer up a guest post giving advice to those in their 20’s.Being that I am approaching my mid 40’s, I had to dig deep to think about life in my 20’s. The advice portion came a little easier due to the fact that I have an 18 year-old stepson. I just envisioned myself sitting down and giving him some life lessons.

So without further ado, here are 10 tips I would offer to my son and hopefully they will be helpful to a few of you “young’uns” out there also. :)

1) When thinking about your future goals, begin with the end in mind. Ask yourself “How do I see my life in my 40’s and 50’s?” Every decision you make should be pointing you towards that vision.
2) Consider a volunteer or intern position in your desired field to determine if it is a right fit for you. If not, try something new. Love what you do!

3) Once you settle on your career path, find a mentor. Observe those in your field and select someone you admire and respect. This person should be in a position you aspire to be in. Also, don’t forget to reach back and help those that are trying to come up behind you. Be aware of opportunities to pay it forward.
4) Remember that life is short- Go for your goals. Like Nike says: “Just Do It”. Have no regrets and recognize that you will make mistakes…it’s a part of life.5) Learn from your mistakes. Don’t let mistakes or the fear of making mistakes keep you from moving towards your goals. Think about what went wrong and how you can avoid that misstep in the future.6) Be flexible and allow yourself to go wherever opportunities present themselves.

7) Start saving for your retirement as soon as you begin working. Trust me, you’ll thank me later! :)

8) Live within your means. Debt will hold you back from being able to attain your dreams.

9) Create balance between faith, family, friends, work and self. Try not to let any area consume too much of your time. Your life will be much richer if you are able to achieve some sort of balance.

10) Aim for the sky! If you aim high you’ll always be closer to your goal even if you fall short. Remember: The Sky is the Limit!

Thanks again, Katie for allowing me this wonderful opportunity to offer advice to your readers. Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to them in their life journey.

Leigh

Hello! My name is Leigh and I am a Stay-At-Home wife and mom with two daughters and a stepson. One of my passions is to organize and decorate homes using everyday items that can be found around the house. I also love sharing this information with anyone who will listen. So if you’re looking for ways to organize your home, your money and your life, stop by…maybe I can help!