Spring Break is finally here and you are excited. No school, classes or teachers for one whole week, I can relate to your excitement. What are your plans? Are you doing the big beach trip to Daytona Beach? Or will you just sleep in and do nothing for a week? I would like to encourage you to choose wisely, as this decision can have an effect on your future – positively or negatively.

My mentor, John Maxwell, says everything rise and fall on leadership. One of the requirements of being an intentional and transformational leader is sacrifice. There will be times you will have to make sacrifices and do what you got to do, until you get to do what you want to do. This is where the rubber meets the road in leadership and leaders make a conscious decision to focus on their goals, dreams and vision, removing limits and distractions. Are you willing to do that? If you are in need of a job or internship, are you willing to craft and execute a game plan on how to network, apply for jobs and meet key decision makers during your designated “time of rest and relaxation?” Your answer to this question is what separates true leaders from those imitating a leader. If you are truly a leader dedicated to living out your goals and dreams, below are some intentional moves you can make during spring break toward getting a return on your investment.

1. Attend Professional Network Events/Meet Up Activities in Your Field of Study
Professional events are attended by people who hold the key to your future. They can serve as coaches and mentors, providing pertinent details about your industry, as well as open the door for job opportunities. The answer to your problem is always a person. So, you must position yourself in the right places to meet these key individuals. Make sure you are dressed appropriately, have your elevator pitch polished and carry plenty of business cards.

2. Shadow a Professional in Your Career Area
There is no better way to get hands-on experience than getting on the job training. Spending time in your desired field of study helps you identify what you like/don’t like, will/won’t do. Each career field has many aspects you can pursue. Sometimes we make decisions based off of assumptions, other people’s thoughts and what we read; when we should rely on real life experiences.

3. Volunteer
Before you can lead, you must first become a servant. Adding value to others through volunteerism allows you to sow seeds into your future that will yield many benefits. The connections you make while serving can lead you to strategic partnerships, connections and/or job opportunities. Volunteering is also a good way to hone your skills and gain work experience. So, be intentional and smart when selecting volunteer opportunities. Let it be something you can gain something from, as well as something you can operate in excellence, which brings value to all.

4. Contact Previous Employers for Working Opportunities
There’s an old saying “Don’t burn any bridges.” When you work on a job, you should always think about how you can do your job at a high level of excellence, go above and beyond and develop positive working relationships. That way, when you leave, your legacy would be of a person with good work ethics and people would not hesitate putting you on their team. This becomes your open door for contacting them in the future for employment opportunities. When I was your age, I was able to contact the companies I worked for or interned with over the summer for opportunities to work for them during my breaks.

5. Meet with Mentors/Team to Determine Next Steps
Everyone needs their own dream team. Surrounding yourself with people who believe in you, support you and hold you accountable helps you achieve more faster. Your team should be made up of mentors, coaches, professionals, counselors, instructors, parents, etc. This diverse group can help shorten your learning curve, connect you with people to further your career and provide guidance on what your next steps should be. Schedule regular meetings to discuss your goals, challenges and issues so they can help you be the best you.

6. Manage Your Professional and Personal Brand
It never fails every spring break results in stories and pictures of young people making decisions that could harm their future and it is displayed to the world through social media. Don’t be that person and make a temporary decision with a lifetime repercussion. Be mindful of the company you keep, places you visit and choices you make.

You don’t want to do anything that can jeopardize your life, ability to get an education, scholarship funding, a job or maintain your freedom. Remember, inappropriate pictures and posts on social media cannot be undone. Meaning, it can be found. Consequently, youth and adults have lost their jobs, been expelled from school, had an encounter with law enforcement, among other things. Think first and choose wisely.

The choices you make today will dictate your tomorrow. You can choose to party your spring break away or you can choose to invest in yourself. Making an investment in yourself by engaging some or all of the 6 tips above will position you to achieve your career goals faster and more effectively. So, what will it be?

Author's Bio: 

Tameka Williamson, is not only a Best Selling Author, but she is the leading authority on teaching people how to use their WILL to Win in every aspect of life. As a Six Sigma Black Belt in Lean and Process Improvement, she analyzes and creates systems for change. Six Sigma and Lean is about continuous improvement, making things efficient and more cost effective. Tameka is focused on decreasing the clutter and bringing clarity to the chaos, so students, leaders and parents reach their goals faster.

Being a certified speaker and coach for the John Maxwell Team, she has developed a program using Black Belt Strategies around the 6 WILLs that bring positive, sustainable changes in people’s lives, businesses, and education. Winning Intentionally at Leading Life (WILL) is modeled around establishing a vision, creating a plan of action, and then executing it. Having successfully overcome several life changing events and a successful corporate career of driving change for over 15 years in Fortune 100 Companies, Tameka is maximizing her experiences to equip
others with the tools to either avoid the same mistakes or
bounce back quicker and stronger on their journey to
fulfill their purpose.

Committed to developing leaders of Today, Tomorrow
and the Future, Ms. Williamson is passionate and
energetic about helping others be successful.
Everybody has the WILL to Win! They just need
someone to show them the way.

Visit www.myowncollegecoach.com for more tools on how to Win in Education.