Ten suggestions young students can do to make a differenceThis weekend, I have been at the 20th anniversary of graduating from my university from Debrecen. It was a touching moment….

I have not seen most of the people who were there in the last 20 years. Neither fellow students nor teachers.

In 1995, I left Hungary to the Netherlands.  At that time, I did know a single word of English or Dutch. I slept on a matrass in a cold room on the top floor of a who allowed us to stay there with my friend. Buying a croissant was an exceptionally nice moment…. and I did not have the money yet to buy even a book to learn English. I was born in a small village, Fegyvernek. Let’s be honest; nobody spoke any languages except Russian.

I remember, I asked a friend to copy me an Assimill book, and I borrowed an old cassette player. I listened to it and was learning all the time. Still today, I have not followed any classes in English, learned by commitment and doing.

In 1997, when I managed to get into my MBA school in Maastricht I could hardly believe it. I was thrilled and also a bit scared. I felt insecure. This insecurity never went away, but I did finish with distinction. Insecurity helps us to achieve….

I knew I was curious and wanted to see the world. By 2002, only seven years later after I entered the Netherlands, I was working at an Elite Dutch bank (MeesPierson) in a management function, driving a BMW convertible, having a luxurious lifestyle and being the youngest person who could sign up for a new loan up to EUR 100 mln.  Most importantly, however, in the last decade, I have been fortunate enough to work and be with some of the most talented, inspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders in the world.

During this weekend in Debrecen, one of my former fellow students asked me to share my thoughts with students of a new generation on what to do to progress. How is it possible from a small village in Hungary to do all this….

Here are some points I would like to share:

1. You can mostly grow via sacrifice

You can have everything in life but not at the same time. Till I was 30 (2002), I could hardly manage to save time for going to parties, I could never afford to have alcohol as I had to focus to be accepted and control myself.

We can achieve anything, but we have to run the extra miles in every single moment of life when we want to do something more than we have.

2. Create your vision, dream, or ambition and go for it

There is no limit when you have a dream. Till you don’t have a clear idea what you want, however, there is no use to try anything. You would be running around as headless chicken. If you don’t know what you want yet, find inspiration till you feel the moment, “this is it, this is what I want to go for!”

Often in life, we do have these “no clue” times. The art is to be patient and know when you need to go…

3. Find a mentor

Everything happens by knowing the right people and being at the right place and the right time. To have luck, you need to create it. This is not any different in Hungary or Western Europe.

People generously like to help, but you need to ask. Imagine the wonders that can happen if you ask for help, and people see your shining eyes with your confidence and trust.

People will give you trust if they see that you are a person who is smart, serious and ready to run the extra miles. Nobody supports anybody who appears lazy and doubtful.

4. Keep trying till you succeed

The world is a number game. The more we try, the luckier we will get in finding the right mentor and being at the right place at the right time.

When I needed to return from Luxembourg to The Netherlands as my former boss fired me from Kerten just one week after I gave birth, I reached out to several people to help me. The world was in the middle of the crisis, but I still managed to get a great job. I did not blame the circumstances. We can focus to get out of it.

5. Never compromise your moral standards

Yes, sometimes you might fight it, sometimes you need to walk away from that boss or that team….

YES, This is a very hard one and sometimes the most painful one. Often consequences will be harsh on you either financially or emotionally. Sometimes you figure this out when you have been working on something too long, and it might feel like your baby already.

But… there is absolutely NO long term payback time for compromising your moral standards.

6. Always learn something new and keep developing yourself

Learning something new every day is extremely important in a vastly changing world. Sign up for courses at Coursera, learn new languages, develop yourself.

It keeps your brain sharp and your mind inspirational. Its not a matter of money. Also, this is not a matter of time. It is a matter of attitude that YOU can do.

7. Never doubt yourself

This world is extremely competitive. Some cultures are more humble than others in expressing who they are and what they stand for.

If you start doubting yourself in front of others, this world will eat you ALIVE.

Would you ever give money to somebody who says: ” I am not sure if I can give it back to you.”

Or do you think a speech like this would work? “I have a dream!  All people should have equal rights… but I am not sure if I am up to… or I am not sure if you are up to…. “. I believe this leader would not have many followers.

Of course, we all need to reflect. My points are that once you know what you want to go for, go with confidence. Confidence, combined with hard work, diligence and self-reflection are the most powerful tools in life. You can achieve all your dreams and wishes.

8. Aim for the best whatever you do than create the circumstances

Go for the best, work with the best and be your very best. In every moment in your life. Even in circumstances when you do not feel you are being appreciated for it.

If you want to be a lawyer, go for the law firm that inspires you by its values and performance.

Don’t blame your circumstances for your faith. You can change your circumstances, but only by knowing where you want to go to, hard work and flawless execution.

9. Take risks and learn to embrace uncertainty

Everything is a risk in life, and everything is an opportunity at the same time. In every single moment, you can decide. Do I make a step forward, try something new and improve or I stay where I am and live in my comfort zone?

Nobody will make this choice for you only yourself. Don’t blame anybody, don’t blame circumstances. Focus on creating a rock solid vision what you want and go for it.

Uncertainty is part of life. Success if not final and failure is not fatal. The important things are what you do about it.

10. Balance your life

If we come across as stressed and desperate people notice it, all our hard efforts will vanish. Creating peace and balance with yourself are essential. Exercise, connecting with nature, doing yoga are key to achieve your professional goals In life.

And last but not least, – tough you may not be there yet at this stage. I must say from my experience that having children for a woman is one of the most empowering experience one can have. You will be better, more balanced, focused and proud as a human being.

By Gabriella Kindert

Written on a plane going back to the Netherlands from Debrecen…..

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