The Importance of Self-Reflection for the College Grad

The years that follow college graduation are unlike any other in your life.  For the first time, you’re not following a course of action and structure set out by others— parents, teachers, and coaches.  Now it really is up to you.

The way you show up for work, treat coworkers, your supervisor and how you navigate being self-sufficient will be governed by you.  However, the workplace alone is not where your success is defined or determined. Your achievements and ultimate happiness are reliant on the CEO known as your mind.

Being in charge of your thoughts through reflection, as opposed to reacting to the world around you, will bring greater awareness, joy and even longevity to your life.  

One way to start the journey of self-reflection is to ask yourself a series of questions, think about them, write down answers and talk about them with people who are close to you.

  • What do you tell yourself about your future, your relationships and your requirements for happiness?  
  • Do you know your strengths and talents?  
  • What are your needs for rest, relaxation, recharging and having fun?
  • Are you surrounding yourself with people who are a support system for the life you want? Or are they pulling you away from your ideals?
  • Do you find it easy to forgive?  Are you holding on to anger?
  • For what things and people are you most grateful?   Do you openly express gratitude and how often?

This is the time to go deep building the most important relationship you will ever have—the one with yourself.  While you may have left school, peer pressure can show up anywhere. There will be situations in your personal and professional life that will test your commitment to your ideals of honesty, faith, and being a good listener with an open heart and mind.

How many times do we see people in all walks abandoning basic truths of what it means to be a good person?  The question is did the decision to cheat, for example, happen overnight? Or was it a slippery slope of little lies that escalated over time?

Technology has made many things so much faster and easier.  And it has driven a wedge between human connection and true self-reflection.  Before you once again stare into your screen mindlessly liking and sharing, close your eyes to tap into your curiosity and imagination.  Meditate and breathe deeply to quiet external stimulation.

The CEO known as your mind will promote you to the life you want when you have command of your options and choose the road of good character, humility, optimism, and concern for others.  This time in your life will form and forecast your future. It’s all up to you and the CEO known as your mind.

As your graduation day approaches, be sure to welcome the changes that are coming and embrace this new part of your life. Remember to continue to follow GradGuard even after you graduate for all the insights and advice a recent grad needs.

BIO: Lisa Shumate is General Manager of Houston Public Media, Associate Vice President at the University of Houston, and also Executive Director of the Houston Public Media Foundation. She is a mentor in the University of Houston PropPel Leadership Development Program for high potential staff.  She serves as Advisor to Public Media Women in Leadership and also is a mentor to the group’s founder. Lisa is also the author of Always and Never: 20 Truths for a Happy Heart and Always and Never: The Companion Journal.

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