Are you under 30 years of age? According to research conducted by Bentley University, under 30s are a very ambitious group of people, who know the economy is tight and only getting tighter. The margin between the wealthy and those “just scraping by” is widening, creating a pit of disparity that is becoming harder to close. So, how do you get ahead and create the life of your dreams? Before you reach for another self-help book or listen to yet another motivational podcast, read on.
Distinguishing hustle from hype
The most critical thing you can learn from the self-help industry is how to separate hustle from hype. There is a focus on hustle as a broad concept for being productive, ambitious or driven, but it’s entrenched in the notion of being busy. Being busy isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re working smart and pushing yourself to do better. From busyness or“hustling”, good ideas arise and successes are born.
Hype is a different ball game altogether. Hype is misleading and can act as a front for actual work. Hype is an Instagram post self-proclaiming entrepreneurial activity without the product. It’s important to remember that a side-hustle without a genuine income stream is just a hobby, don’t gloss it up for hype culture.
Here, we’ll discuss some common themes around success and how to get to where you want to be – minus the hype. We’ll also share tricks to help you navigate the wades of the “be your best” and “tryharder” rhetoric that’s churned out to ambitious young professionals.
Definition of success
Know your definition of success. This will be different for everyone. Defining your success is more than just a statement of what you want to achieve; it’s about embodying what that success will feel like and how you will know you’re there.
Think about what your day-to-day life will look like when you’re successful. Where will you be living? How would you start and finish your days? How will you answer when someone asks at the casual Sunday barbecue, “So, what do you do?”. Picture it, smell it, taste it, feelit. Make it as alive in your mind as you can.
Ask for help
The next thing to consider is who you can enlist to help you reach it. Humans are social beings and forming relationships is critical to help you on your path to success. Not everyone in your family will want to see you succeed and not everyone in your workplace will want to tear you down.
Find the people who you can openly share your dreams with and discover your mentors. Mentors aren’t always experts, they can be anyone who teaches you something about yourself and gently challenges you to think differently and expand your current mode of operating.Make time for self-reflection and the wisdom gained from others.
Never stop learning
This goes beyond reading books and professional development. When was the last time you went to an event that you wouldn’t ordinarily go to? Attend a public lecture at the local university, visit a guided tour at an art gallery or go bush and sleep under the stars. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is a must. Growth won’t happen without change and change doesn’t happen without exposure to new things. Again, this is something deeply personal to you. It’s up to you how far you want to push yourself.
Do the work
Professional and financial success doesn’t come without hard work. There will be times where you need to knuckle down and prove yourself to the boss or pull a 10-hour day to meet a deadline. There will also be times when getting a second job to save for that overseas holiday is necessary. This doesn’t buy into hype culture. Rolling up your sleeves to work hard, showing up on time and being a reliable employee is something they don’t teach at university, yet it can set you apart from more complacent employees.Go the extra mile and it will come back to you in spades.
Be money smart
Get money savvy early. Whether you’ve already read the Barefoot Investor cover to cover or think your old Dollarmite account might still be active, start planning for your financial security. Don’t be afraid to march into the bank with a lack-lustre account balance and ask for help. Simple tricks such as investing your tax return into your superannuation, cutting up your credit cards and tracking your spending can help set you up for the long term.
Fast-forward five years to that Sunday barbecue. You’ve made it. You’ve nailed it. You’ve got the job, the house or you’re on that adventure holiday. Now what? It’s time for the most important lesson of them all: gratitude and humbleness. Take stock of who helped you and be grateful to them, even down to your partner making you cups of tea while you finally pored yourself into finishing that book that’s been on the shelf since last summer. Be grateful to yourself for saving hard, working hard, stretching yourself and learning. Be proud, but also stay humble.
It’s important after any success to allow periods of reflection and stillness but, once the dust has settled, start drafting up the next goal and self-growth journey. After all, millennials are destined to be the longest-living generation so far. If you’ve got to make all these years count for something, you may as well make them your own.
WORDS by Samantha Betts
Samantha Betts is a self-professed passionworker. Under 30 and with three degrees, two houses, a work-life balance to envy and two small businesses under her belt, Sam shares her learnings on how she made it happen.