Your kids. You want nothing but the best for them. You want them to become more successful than you ever were. But how do you guide them on the right track?
Do you love them with all your heart? Do you give them everything they ask for? Do you scold or punish them?
As a high achieving parent, there's so many questions you may have when it comes to raising kids, and you may have come to find that the answer isn't always as easy to find as you may think. A few years ago I was a career failure. Everything I tried just crumbled apart. Now millions of people know my name and associate me as being a go-to person in the personal branding industry.
I figured out how to go out there and achieve true career success for myself, and I've helped others reshape their careers. But what this work has really done for me is realize, if I had a second chance to go back and do it all again, I would have done this to get to where I am with a much stabler foundation.
These are the 13 steps your kids need to make after high school, if they want to become massively successful in any industry:
1. Major in communication.
The toughest decision a 17 or 18 year old kid needs to make is what they want to major in for the rest of their life. I know when I was 18, I had no clue what I wanted to be when I grew up. When my grandma asked me what I wanted to be as a kid and suggested things like police officer, firefighter and whatnot, I told her I wanted to do nothing.
I'm 31 now and I barely found out what I wanted to do with my life a few years ago. If your children have not decided to be a specialist like a scientist, engineer, doctor or lawyer by this point, don't put your kids under the same pressure of making them choose now. It's too early for them to truly know anyway, Instead, have them learn something that every successful person has. Communication skills. The benefit of being a communication major is two fold. Your kids don't have to worry about what they are going to do for the rest of their life and they acquire the biggest asset they can ever have, the ability to communicate with others in all walks of life.
2. Interview people of all walks of life for your school projects.
While your kids are in school, they will be assigned projects that will help shape their skills. But the last time I checked, people who only do what they are assigned don't achieve true career success. In fact, the difference between ordinary and extraordinary people is that the extraordinary just push themselves a few inches further.
While your kids are in school, they should interview people from all walks of life, all the way from the Starbucks barista and the person roaming down the street to the lawyer who defends criminals or the doctor that saves lives. For extra credit, they can even set up a blog and document what they learned from each interview, much like a journalist.
Not only will this help your kid learn what they want to do with their life by having a bigger sample size to pick from, they will learn valuable life lessons and indirectly start building their network much earlier on too. Then on top of that, employers love a self starter and a blog would help showcase your children's determination to succeed.
3. Get an internship at a media company and interview successful people or celebrities.
You know what employers really value? Someone who did an internship or two during the time they were in college. And what better internship could your kids get in college than at a media company?
When your kids work at a respected media company, they have the opportunity to interview extremely successful people. For example, I have a few conversations pending with Robert Herjavec from Shark Tank, Bleacher Report's President Rory Brown and so forth. The funny thing is, most people would be chasing down the opportunity to speak with people of this caliber, while I've been here having extreme difficulty of trying to figure out how to fit them into my schedule.
A 30 minute to 1 hour conversation with a person of this caliber can really teach anyone a lot about business, insights and so forth. Plus, the interviewer controls the narrative so they can prone in with questions to really learn the inside secrets of how these people achieved their success.
Just imagine the value in that. Plus, your kids can always ask the people they interview to maintain a line of conversation so they can ask them for expertise advice. People love to take the time to provide value.
4. Get your first job at a newspaper or national magazine.
By this point, your child has probably graduated and grown up into an adult. They picked up a lot of skills and built somewhat of a network. It's time to make this into a full time thing. The interview blog they started in step #2 will become a great portfolio item.
When anyone works at a newspaper or national magazine, they get to learn the ins and outs of how the media works, they get access to experts and they have the opportunity to make friendships that will carry value until they retire. Plus, they get to really hone in on their writing skills and become a master of words. Ever since the wave of the digital era, words have become the most powerful tool any person can have in their arsenal.
5. Make internal connections with everyone at your work.
There is no point to work a job unless your kids can create benefit from it. Sure, it comes with a paycheck, but the paycheck shouldn't be the determining factor of what your kids do. What is more important is the friendships they make along the way. Connect with and meet everyone at their company, from the person who distributes the mail all the way up to the CEO. These connections will be your children's lifeblood in the future.
6. Get another job at a business magazine or TV station.
The work for 40 hours a week for 40 years of your life to retire on 40 percent of your income days are over. Pensions don't exist anymore. Retirement funds aren't as powerful as they used to be. And no one expects a person who graduates school to keep the same job they started at for the rest of their life.
Go out there and work for another media company, preferably one that will hone other skills that are valuable. A TV station will give your children the opportunity to master communication on television. If you have seen the trends on social media lately, video is everywhere. In fact, most of my newsfeed on Facebook is video now. If your kids are able to learn how to master the art of being on camera, they will have skills that will last a lifetime.
7. Interview all the successful people you can, learn everything they teach you, grill them for insights and treat everyone like they're your best friend.
Through this entire journey, your kids have access to nearly everyone. Make sure your children don't discount the opportunity they were given. Many people would sacrifice everything to have time to meet with someone like Elon Musk. Learn everything from these experts and treat them like your best friend. When you treat them as your best friend, they will reciprocate, and this opens up the door to long term relationships.
I interviewed Sabeen Ali, founder of AngelHack and May Busch, former COO of Morgan Stanley Europe a year ago, and when I asked them for a recommendation for a TEDx talk, they vouched for me within minutes.
Talk about the power of getting endorsed by people who have clout.
8. Document your insights and keep them in a journal format to repurpose later.
In life, each moment you aren't growing, you're dying. And life is a constant journey to acquire skills and techniques that will help you better yourself so ultimately, you can become the best version of yourself in the future.
Document everything in a journal. This way, your kids will be able to reflect back on these points later in life, and also have the potential to use these insights that were learned along the way in the future.
9. Try implementing what you learned from successful people.
We acquire knowledge much faster than we acquire wisdom. You can be the smartest person in the room, but that doesn't mean you are the most talented person in the room.
There is a huge difference between learning something and doing something.
If a successful person says that they became successful by following a set of habits, have your kids try to duplicate their habits to see if it works for them. Practice what the successful people preach. If your children are able to duplicate the success of others, then they can start to find patterns on what actually works and what doesn't. And that wisdom they acquire from trying things will prepare your children for the ultimate journey that life has in store for them.
10. Make friends with everyone you can in your industry.
People who work in media tend to like other people who work in media. Your children shouldn't live in a bubble where they only surround themselves with their coworkers. They should make friends outside of work and connect with the people who work at other major outlets like CNBC, FOX, Entrepreneur, Inc., CNN, Vice and every single other outlet out there.
There's nothing more powerful than having a ton of friends who work in the media.
11. Build your personal brand and reuse all that content you learned from others.
Building a personal brand means that you are showcasing yourself as an expert in your designated field. Your children have probably worked at their careers and got a hang for how to become experts in the industry. Great. Now it's time for them to start making a name for themselves. Have them set up a website and start sharing the lessons they learned along the way, backed with case studies of what they tried online. Share that content on content syndication networks like Quora and Medium.
At this point, your children should have a much clearer image of what they want to do with their life and now they get to become an expert at any industry they choose to be an expert in.
12. Get your friends you made through your career to feature you in their pubs and media outlets.
You know what's the great thing about friends? Friends love helping friends! And by now, your children have made friends at all the major media outlets. They have friends at their old jobs. They have basically every single media connection you can imagine.
If your children have been raised with a good set of values and have helped their friends who were in need of favors along the way, your kids can now cash in on those favors by asking their friends to do write ups about them.
If your kids made enough connections along the way, they can get more than 10 full media features about them, which would qualify them for a Wikipedia page.
13. Launch any business you want.
So now, your kids have a personal brand. They have full media features stating they are an expert in a specific field. They have a Wikipedia page stating who they are and what they are about. They are probably verified on all social channels.
Ultimately, they have influence. And I'm sure you can imagine how powerful that influence is.
If not, I can say that my income and career success has exploded ever since I started working on my personal brand. I'm making over 3x more than I was two years ago. And next year, I should have another multiplier in there.
But by now, your children should have a pretty good understanding of what they want to do with the rest of their life. So let them follow the career that they naturally progressed towards and help them launch that business of their dreams.
Sure, 95 percent of businesses fail within the first five years, but when you have mastered your communication skills, gained insider knowledge from the most powerful people in the world, strong relationships with nearly everyone in the media and a world renowned personal brand, chances are that you will be the exception.
Plus, if by this point, your kids are too scared to take the leap into business, they can get a job at any company, whether it be in fashion or real estate, because every company needs a high level communicator within their management teams.