Presenting at the Georgia Tech Sophomore Leadership Summit

I recently had the opportunity to present at the Georgia Tech Sophomore Leadership Summit and the topic was pursuing your passions in life and recognizing the importance of your personal brand. I was completely impressed by the students!  Not only were they making excellent scholastic choices in only their second year at Georgia Tech, they were also well-grounded in the other aspects of life often forgotten in the rush of the college pace. I covered several key points with the students as points to remember in the coming college years.

The Challenge Statement:  What are you doing to make your mark?!

Believe In Yourself College is not easy - especially at Georgia Tech. There is no better value than belief in your own ability to get through the classes, make grades and stay involved in campus activities.  It starts with clarifying the win - which most college students would expect to be a diploma.  I challenge you to think beyond the diploma.  If the diploma and the degree are the measures, what is the true "win" from your time in college?  Is it the difference you made in the life of a fraternity brother or sorority sister?  Is it the time you spent building a Habitat house or the time spent mentoring under-privileged kids?  What impact did you make during your 4-5 years of college? Did you leave a lasting legacy?  Remember that the decisions you make in college and in life, you will manage for the remainder of your life.

Expect Life Resets There are going to be times in life when things don't work out. When the unexpected happens. When you lose a loved one.  When you lose a job.  When you fail a class or a test.  When you don't win election in Student Government.  Resets are part of life and in college, it is your first opportunity to truly experience them and learn from them.  Your vision and dreams in life can remain the same but expect your plans for getting there to change.

Check Your Attitude A positive attitude in life truly does change everything.  If you have a positive attitude in your approach to a final exam, winning a leadership position on campus, or in asking out the cute guy across the room, expect better results than that from a negative attitude.  Also, when interviewing for a job, one of the first mistakes you can make is bringing a bad attitude to the interview room.  It is one of the fastest ways for an interview to end early!  At the same time, a positive attitude is absolutely necessary if you are going to pursue atypical activities and interests while on campus and after graduation.  Everyone is not a campus leader.  Everyone is not a star receiver.  Everyone is not interested in pursuing ROTC or co-op positions or playing in the band.  Pursuing these interests requires an extra focus on raising the bar and making things happen.  PACE = Positive Attitude Changes Everything

Develop Your Network The Georgia Tech network is an incredible resource - while in school and after graduation.  Begin developing your network immediately.  Develop it over time.  Practice leveraging it to get things done.  One key to networking is ensuring that you are providing value to others in your network just as you expect them to do something of value for you.  Your network will grow as you engage in new and different activities, organizations and interests.  The Georgia Tech alumni network is a strong asset - begin developing it as a student.

Deliver Results - Complete The Play It is imperative that you make grades.  First and foremost, your results in the classroom are important as they are not changeable after graduation.  At the same time, balance in activities, organizations and other personal endeavors makes a great candidate for positions post-graduation.  Complete the play in the classroom.  Complete the play on campus by getting involved and making a difference.  Complete the play off-campus through co-op and intern assignments and in philanthropic endeavors.  Learn how to balance as this is a skill required for the rest of your life.