I had the pleasure to interview an incredible young leader, Anna Raghavan, who at the age of 25 already has an immense amount of wisdom and insight on getting the most out of life. As you’ll see by the following questions, she’s been able to identify a number of things that are absolutely key to growing and experiencing life as we are meant to, things you too can relate to and acknowledge as having had an impact on your journey.
Get Real: What has been one of your greatest challenges?
Anna Raghavan: It took a while for me to adapt to working in a new industry, being out of school, and being thrown into a situation while having to absorb this new environment and new information. There was a lot of trial and error involved and I had many triumphs as well as a couple of moments I wish I could take back. Overall, it was a good learning experience and I am very proud of myself.
With the economy the way it is, and for recent college graduates, this is a harsh reality. Embarking on a new chapter of your life can be scary and trying, but in the end this experience will help to shape you into the person you need to be to succeed. We grow most when we are uncomfortable.
GR: How did you move forward from these challenges?
AR: I learned to take in all of the feedback that I could get. Whether it was learning from a friend’s similar experience, or hearing what my manager had to say about a project I completed, I made sure to take the constructive points as well as the positive points because that is what helps me set the bar higher.
We only work as hard as we need to in order to meet our own standards. The higher your expectations of yourself, the more you will work for results and the more you will care about what you are doing. There are no standards more important than those we have for ourselves. That’s something to reflect on.
GR: What have been some of your greatest experiences?
AR: Leaving my parent’s house at the age of 17 and moving six hours away to college. The experience of being on my own, surrounded by a community of peers, was incredible and it helped to gain a sense of identity and independence. Being on my own for the first time in my life made me more outgoing and open minded to different people, values, and ideas. I am so appreciative of that time in my life and I feel very fortunate to have had that experience because without it, I would not be where I am today.
For a lot of our younger readers, take this as a testimonial to the benefits of taking those risks and making those difficult decisions you are going to be facing in your life. Sometimes the difficult decision is the one that will allow you to grow the most.
GR: What has the biggest impact on your day-to-day life; Work, Friends & Family, Media?
AR: Definitely the media! You wouldn’t be reading this if it weren’t for media. One of the first things I do every morning is check my email and facebook account, keeping in touch with friends and family all over the world. I’m also able to get relatively current information on world news and politics without having to buy a newspaper because everything is basically in an online format.
GR: How important is a supportive peer group in achieving your goals?
AR: The support of your peers is one of the most essential aspects of achieving your goals. Even though you family may have your back, it’s vital that your peers are supportive because they are the one that truly understand what you are going through from a social perspective. For them to have a positive attitude and support your ideas and goals is the greatest thing ever! If anyone doesn’t support your goals, it is probably best to keep a safe distance from them.
Connectivity, whether through the internet or in person, is incredibly valuable when it comes to being on a journey towards or goal, through a struggle, or in success. We need our family and friends to share in the great moments and to support in the difficult ones. You are who you surround yourself with. Look around, do the people you connect with regularly push you to be greater, lift your energy, and inspire you? Or do they drain your energy, discourage you, and make you feel unimportant?
GR: Who is your greatest role model?
AR: My greatest role model is my mom. Although we don’t always see eye to eye, she has provided me with a good example of how women can do it all. When I was a child, she worked during the day and would go to school at night so that she could get a better job in this country. Even with her busy schedule, she was able to raise two happy and healthy children. She now works as an accountant for a well-respected organization and hopes to go back to school again. She has taught me, it’s never too late to follow your dreams.
Remember, we are mirrors. The great things we see in others are things we have inside of ourselves. Who are your role models? What have they taught you? Finding someone to model or learn from will help to support you throughout life and will give you a reference for insight when things get foggy. And let us all remember, it is never too late to follow your dreams!
Part 2 of this interview will be released later this week when we ask Anna what her keys to success are and where she finds her strength in difficult times. Plus, a bonus message from Anna, her own advice from her experiences in the past few years. Check back soon and comment to let her know what you’ve learned so far.