I have had a number of invitations recently, to speak to groups of students and young professionals, at IUPUI, Arsenal Tech High School, the Orr Fellows and the Young Professionals of Central Indiana.

After getting over the fact I am talking to a room of professionals, or near professionals who are younger then my children, I really enjoy the conversations.

This generation seems more focused on where they want to go with their lives then some of their predecessors.  They ask tough questions about what it will take to get where they want to be.

So what do  I tell them?

Life is full of surprises.  It is what happens when you are making plans to do something completely different.  Be open to the opportunities that come along.  Be willing to change directions and careers often.  I am elementary education major,  who thought it would be cool to work on Madison Avenue some day.  I never imagined a life anywhere buy Manhattan.  And now, I can’t imagine doing anything besides what I am doing now.

Love what you do or do something else. Sure, there are times you will have to “pay your dues” and work your way up. But only do it if it will put you on the path to somewhere you want to be.

Ultimately, it is about the people you meet along the way. When I think about the jobs and projects I have enjoyed the most, feel the greatest sense of accomplishment when I think of them, it is always connected to the people with whom I surrounded myself.

Never stop learning – The rules are always changing, and when it comes to your career, take a lesson from the dinosaurs: Evolve or Die.

So those are my words of wisdom… what are yours?