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7 Career Tips for Millennials From Famous Success Stories


If you’re early on in your career, it’s okay if you don’t know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life – join the club. Regardless of what career path you end up choosing, it’s wise to plan as much as possible for the road ahead. To help you out, here are seven valuable pieces of advice from some of the world’s most inspirational influencers to help you navigate through your career successfully.

Career Advice for Young Millennials Starting Out

(Photo Credit: Dennis Skley/Flickr)

1. Failure Is the Key to Success

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“[A] setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve,” says Virgin Atlantic’s Sir Richard Branson, the successful business mogul who has 200-plus companies under his belt, despite struggling with dyslexia.

J.K. Rowling, author of the extremely popular Harry Potter series, says that she wishes she was given this advice early on in her struggling career: “You will fail. That’s inevitable. It’s what you do with it [that matters].”

Of course, Rowling went on to become one of the world’s most successful and recognizable authors, not to mention one of the wealthiest women in the world. I’d say failure served her very well, wouldn’t you?

2. Follow Your Dreams, Not Someone Else’s

Growing up, you were probably told to follow your dreams and never give up. However, as an adult trying to live out your dreams, you might find that people try to convince you otherwise, simply because it’s not their dream too. What good is building a career based on what others think you should be doing, if you’ll be left feeling empty, unaccomplished, and regretful in the end?

Steve Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” Make decisions for yourself and stick to your guns, because the only advice you need to take in life is your own.

3. Ignore the Naysayers

“[S]omeone will always have an opinion about you,” said Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snapchat, in his USC Marshall School of Business commencement speech. “Whatever you do won’t ever be enough. So find something important to you. Find something that you love. You are going to make a lot of mistakes […] and it will feel terrible, but it will be okay.”

After all, the best part of being successful is the fact that you did what others said you could not. 

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks and Try New Things

Many of the greatest influencers and leaders of the world wouldn’t be where they are unless they took some risks in their lives and careers. The unknown is scary, yes, but, as T.S. Eliot reminds us, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

You’ll never know how capable you are until you try. Take the leap in your career and try new things, because you can always start over and try again as a wiser, more prepared individual.

5. Take Your Time, Do it Right

“I feel like people in their early- to mid-20s are very earnest,” says Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr and chief executive of Slack. “They’re very serious, and they want to feel like they’ve accomplished a lot at a very young age rather than just trying to figure stuff out. So I try to push them toward a more experimental attitude.”

Remember, you don’t have to have it all figured out before you start your career, because, honestly, even the best of the best in the business world are still learning new things every day – that’s the beauty of “growing up.” Take your time to figure out what makes you tick so you aren’t stuck in a dead-end career or wasting your prime years rushing from one thing to another, missing the valuable learning lessons along the way. Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses, okay?

6. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

There’s a difference between looking up to others and comparing yourself to others. It’s great to have role models and mentors in your life who inspire you, but be careful. It’s easy to start comparing yourself to more successful people and cross over into becoming resentful, jealous, and consumed.

Focus on the end goal and construct a plan that incorporates individuals who will serve as influencers and supporters of your dreams. It’s okay to have dreams of being wildly successful, but be careful to remain grounded and realistic about your own goals.

7. Do Good for Yourself and for Others

“There’s opportunity to do work that’s infused with moral purpose,” says Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. “You don’t have to choose between doing good and doing well.”

Try not to rush through your career feverishly trying to climb the corporate ladder before your peers, because that’s a surefire way to damage your career and your reputation. As a matter of fact, if you want to be successful in your own career, then it’s wise to help those around you become successful, too.

Now that you’re equipped with some pretty amazing career advice, it’s time to put it to good use and follow your dreams. Shoot for the stars and remember, “Go out on a limb, that’s where the fruit is.” You can thank Jimmy Carter for that gem right there.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you received some share-worthy career advice that you’d like to add to the list? Share your words of wisdom with our community on Twitter or in the comments section below.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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