Jeff Zelaya

Negative invisible scripts

Blogger Ramit Sethi raises a point that I often battle with. Aren’t their times where you feel like you program yourself for failure instead of success? Many times we rationalize why we aren’t where we should be.

Instead of making excuses why don’t we just laser focus our attention in getting results? Let’s take action steps and set goals to help us take those steps to continue to reach the New Year’s resolutions, that hopefully we haven’t given up by 1/11/11.


There’s a game going on around you that you don’t even know about.

How many of us go through life without testing our theories? Here are a few of the most insidious:

SCRIPT: “I could make $160,000/year if I just had a law degree.”
REALITY: Going to law school is likely to leave the average student in crushing debt — and law schools are systematically deceiving students. This is why top performers know to only go to top 10 law schools, or they don’t go at all. (The same is true of business school.)

SCRIPT: “Why would anybody want to help me? What would they get out of it?”
REALITY: People LOVE to help people who take action. If some random emails me and tells me his delusional dreams, I’ll probably ignore him. But if he says, “Here’s my plan…I’ll email you back in 2 weeks with results. Then I’m hoping to get some advice after I’ve showed you that I can take action.” I’ll always respond. Who would be willing to help you?

SCRIPT: “I need to read more and more about investing before getting started.”
REALITY: You could set up your investment accounts by the end of the week and contribute $50/month to it — and be better off than someone who spent the next year “researching” their investments. (Note that I’m not saying you should just open up an account and dump your money anywhere. You need to do your research. But you can find out a basic place to invest, and “tune” your contribution amounts and asset allocation over time. I cover this in detail in chapters 3 and 7 of my book.)

Of COURSE there are exceptions to every one of these trends. There are huge successes that go to non-top-10 law schools and end up wildly successful, just as there are entrepreneurs who have hit it big without ever opening an investment account. But if you talk to most top performers, you’ll notice these trends time after time.

Do you have any of these negative scripts in your life?


College Students: Are You LinkedIn?

What’s that? You’re not?

If that’s the case, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity – one that might even cost you a job. In fact, recent studies claim that up to 80% of businesses are checking out potential hires on LinkedIn before extending an offer.

For example, let’s say you had a killer interview with a company you really want to work for. You’ve been meaning to set up your LinkedIn page, but haven’t quite got around to it yet. That shouldn’t matter, right? After all, you ACED the interview and are feeling good about your chances for a call-back.

In fact ALL of social media is important for college students.

Now, let’s say the company truly was (very) impressed with your resume and interview.

Actually, they’ve narrowed the search down to you and one other candidate. Good news! However, as a form of due diligence, they decide to Google you and that other loser to see what comes up. Under your name, a lot of white noise about high school basketball stats.

Under the other guy, a LinkedIn page that features more than 100 connections (some of which the interviewer knows personally), recommendations from former professors, as well as an in-depth narrative on specialties and real-world experience gained from a summer internship. Suddenly, all of those fond memories of your “killer” interview evaporate and candidate #2 gets the job.

Now who’s the loser?


To avoid this very real scenario in your own job search, here’s what you do:

1.) Sign up for a LinkedIn account. If you don’t know where to start, visit LINKEDIN FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS and take the tour. LinkedIn is free and, like most social media sites, once you get the hang of it – it’s really not that intimidating.

2.) Make sure your profile is 100% complete. Not only does this demonstrate that you are detail oriented, but complete profiles show up higher in search engine rankings. Also, bonus points if you have a professional headshot made (even if you just go to the mall) rather than posting a pixilated and poorly-cropped snapshot.

3.) Ask for recommendations. Don’t be shy about this. Assuming you’ve been a good student, most professors and former bosses are more than happy to say a few kind words about your work and employability. Note: Only those who actually have LinkedIn accounts can provide endorsements.

4.) Stay engaged. As with everything in life, you get out of LinkedIn what you put in to it. So be sure to jump on every once in a while and fill out the status update, find a cool new application to download (Amazon reading list, Slideshare, etc.), a great group to join, or just research jobs and businesses that interest you.

In other words, there are a million ways to use LinkedIn to put your best professional foot forward. So don’t trip up because you’re not in the game.

Connect with me on Linkedin: