On Saturday, September 26, CCIM held its first virtual Dean’s List Ceremony. Over 340 participants—faculty members, Dean’s List students and their family and friends—joined the virtual celebration hosted by Dean Paaige Turner. ’09 Communication Studies alumnus and Emplify‘s Chief People Officer Adam Weber also tuned in and delivered an inspiring keynote speech.

Watch Adam’s full address below or read about the top five tips he gave our students to make work (more) fulfilling below.

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Be Authentically Yourself

Far too often in our career we play roles—especially early in our career. We act the way we think others want us to act and that stifles our growth. Deep down, we think that people that are older than us, those with better job titles or people in position of authority, have everything figured out.

As part of my job, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to thousands of CEOs and I can tell you a secret that will save you a decade of confusion; Nobody has it all figured out! Everyone has doubts. Everyone in a position of power—CEOs, leaders, managers—wonder at their core if they are a fraud. That’s right, all adults deal with an inner child that shows up in unexpected ways. 

I share that because much of becoming the best version of yourself is actually doing the work to get to know yourself. You have to be relentlessly committed to showing up as your true authentic-self, not just playing that role where you just show up and follow someone else’s plan. That exercise starts right now in your life—not just someday, when you join the workforce 

Practically speaking, do the work to understand your own personal “why”. What is your story? What motivates you? Who are you as a person? Next, figure out how what you’re doing today ties to that why. The secret to finding every single job you will hold fulfilling is to tie your why into the purpose of the business you work for.

Keep a Growth Mindset

The most important skill needed in the workforce today is what college is all about: growth mindset. Very few facts you are going to learn in college will translate to the workforce. However, what you are truly learning in college is how to learn. Ask yourself, “How do I improve?” and “How do I acquire new skills?”

I challenge you to continue leaning in. Use this season to make sure that you are actually learning how to learn. Also keep in mind that this doesn’t end in college. Keep this mindset with you forever. Stay flexible. Learn new skills. Ask for feedback. Instead of playing that role where you show everyone that you have it all figured out, switch to being a lifelong learner. You will find work more fulfilling for yourself and what you are capable of will grow exponentially too.

Find Others to Invest in You

Early in your career, it is so easy to think that you’re going to land the perfect job. I remember thinking after my Master’s Degree that I was going to get a consulting job right away, with no business experience. Most of you won’t land your dream job as your very first job. You might even change jobs five times in ten years like I did! But early in your career, find people who are willing to invest in you and help you grow. People who have more experience than you can be mentors and will help you get better. If you don’t have mentors, seek them out. This approach will no doubt unlock growth in your life.

Communication is Key

Outside of growth mindset, I am not sure there is a more central skill that is needed in our workforce today. This is especially true right now, with such a big portion of the workforce being remote or dealing with communication challenges we never had to deal with before. Ask yourself the following questions. Can you listen well? Can you ask the right questions? Do you know how to show empathy? Do you have enough courage to try to resolve conflict instead of perpetuating them inside of an office? Can you consume large amounts of information and synthesize that information in a clear and compelling way — and then re-communicate it in a way that others can understand?

Everything is Possible

My entrepreneurial story started the day I met this college student who had just graduated. I, had been in the workforce for 12 years. The student had a business idea and one customer, and I left a good job to start a company from scratch with him. The most powerful thing I learned from being an entrepreneur the past 8 years is that nothing is impossible.

If you lean into all the things I just shared, you can be a part of solving unsolvable problems. You can make a meaningful difference in the world. But you will have to live at the edge of what you think your capabilities are. So, push yourself to the edge of what you think is possible and experience the growth that happens when you live inside of that moment. This all starts now. Make sure that you use your time in college to push yourself to the edge of your capabilities. 

 About Adam Weber

Adam Weber is Chief People Officer and Co-founder of Emplify, a company that helps leaders measure, diagnose, and solve their employee engagement challenges. Adam is also the author of “Lead Like a Human: Practical Steps To Building Highly Engaged Teams”—an Amazon best-seller that got released earlier this month. Previously, he co-founded Bluebridge Digital, a mobile app platform, where he grew and sold the company in 2016. Adam is an expert and speaker on employee engagement, culture, team performance, and leadership development. He has spoken at a number of events around the country for which he has been consistently rated as a top presenter. In 2020, Adam was named to Business Insider’s list of Rising Stars in HR. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in organizational communication from Ball State University, is a former musician, retired pastor, aspiring comedian, and currently lives in Zionsville, IN with his wife, two sons, and dog Poppy.