Catherine Anaya

My real-world survival list

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Last year I had the honor of delivering the convocation address at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. With so many Arizona students graduating this month, I offer you my top 10 list for surviving the real world.

1. Be passionate. Love what you do and do what you love. Reach inside yourself. Expose yourself to opportunities, even those you didn’t plan for.

2. Take risks. Be fearless. Try new things and accept that it’s okay to fail. Experiment and embrace the unknown. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and stretch your imagination. You may find strength you never knew you had.

3. Covet criticism. If you only surround yourself with people who offer nothing but praise, you will never truly grow or realize your own potential. Real, honest constructive criticism will force you to push yourself beyond any self-imposed limits.

4. Preserve your integrity. You will probably lose your job at least once. Though it might seem difficult at the time, it’s usually not personal. But how you handle yourself will define you through the years. Integrity is one of the keys to longevity in any profession.

5. Embrace experience. “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.” Inspirational words from Randy Pausch, who wrote one of my favorite books, The Last Lecture. Turn setbacks into opportunities. They can take away your job, but they can’t take away your talent.

6. Believe and have faith. You didn’t get where you are by accident. You arrived through hard work, smarts, tenacity and the ability to fall, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and learn from your mistakes. Believe and have faith you will not only survive the falls, but you will stand up a richer, wiser, more blessed person because of them.

7. Find balance. Accept that you can’t do everything. “Work to live, don’t live to work.” When you are at work, give it 100 percent, but strive for balance and allow yourself a personal life. Work equally hard at making the relationships in your life just as important as your career.

8. Mentor. Continue to educate and open the door to those behind you so they can experience your same achievements. If you’re blessed with any measure of success, share it! Pay it forward!!

9. Respect responsibility. When you achieve your success, recognize it’s a gift and a blessing to practice your passion. Get involved in your community. Respect the responsibility you’ve been given. It’s not about the job, but what you do with the job that matters. When you help others grow, you grow yourself in the process.

10. Make it matter. Mean what you say, say what you mean. Be authentic. Make your failures and your achievements matter. Be an active participant in life and work. Develop your passion and your compassion. Make your future matter! There is truth to that cliché, “The world is your oyster.” Life is what you make it! In the words of Gandhi, “Be the change you’d like to see in the world.”

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