My Houston summer of 2013. Where should I start? I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I had no idea or thought about how much of an impact the Southwestern Advantage program was going to have on me. However, if I am going to start somewhere, it might as well be the beginning on campus at Central Michigan. During my recruitment and introduction into the program, my goal was to be as open-minded as possible.
I never set any benchmarks heading into the summer, and I didn’t have any result-oriented goals in relation to sales and hours. I was a first year intern, open-minded, and committed to only one thing: not quitting. I figured having this kind of mindset would allow everything else to fall into place.
That was the first learned lesson that Southwestern Advantage taught me: the importance of goal setting. Having a goal allows you to create a vision. However, this concept wasn’t new to me. Being an athlete my entire life, I knew goals were important. I knew working for something was important, and I understood that goals give you something to work for. What I didn’t realize is that in order to be successful in anything you do, you have to be more than open-minded to an idea or concept. You have to commit your very being to it. You have to set goals that require you to form the necessary habits and make the sacrifices it takes in order to reach those goals. That’s the first lesson the Southwestern Advantage experience taught me — goal setting.
The second and most important lesson this summer taught me: my attitude. The Southwestern Advantage internship showed me the most simple and yet probably most overlooked power we all have is controlling our attitude. The summer showed me how much people let external factors dictate their feelings, emotions, and attitude. Attitude is an internal controllable, but we choose to let positive and/or negative externalities dictate our attitude. Instead, we need to just dictate attitude. If we focus on the things we can control, and not take ourselves so seriously all the time, we gain more enjoyment out of life.
The Southwestern Advantage internship was more than the average summer internship; it changed me for the better. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, yet. It challenged me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But you know what they say — nothing worthwhile ever comes easy.
– Justin Sweeney
Connect with Justin’s Facebook business page: https://www.facebook.com/Justinthebookman
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