Episode 13: What I Wish I Knew when I Graduated

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Hi Friends! Welcome to Episode 13

Hello Friends!

In honor of college graduation season, I’ve decided to share the three pearls of wisdom that I wish I could have shared with myself on my college graduation day.

In fact, these are hard lessons learned that I'm still learning.

Check it our now.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • Why there is no substitute for joy
  • How overthinking has gotten in my way...and still does
  • Why holding things "a bit more loosely" may be the best way forward



In honor of college graduation season, I’ve decided to share the three pearls of wisdom that I wish I could have shared with myself on my college graduation day.

Let me start with a story: It’s senior week 2013 and I’m driving with a few of my fellow seniors to a dinner one of the departments is holding for us. We’re doing what all seniors are doing at that point and sharing our post-graduation plans.

I share that I’m going to UCLA for a Phd in Sociology. And one of my classmates go: “Whoa, how do you know that’s what you even want to do?!”

I remember thinking to myself: “What in the world are you talking about? I am absolutely certain that this is what I want to do. Why don’t you know what you want to do?!

I laugh now because I know that I changed my mind about that little Phd program completely.

But I appreciate that younger version of me for her tenacity, yes some naivety, but also a strong conviction in loving something, having an interest, and throwing herself whole-heartedly into it.

This is not to say that there aren’t lessons or bits of advice I wish I could whisper into her ear. Which is what I’m sharing today.

1.)   There is absolutely no substitute for joy. Not even “almost joy” can cut it for the long-haul. Mark Twain has a fantastic quote that encapsulates this sentiment. He says:

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—it is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

The same is true for your job. Almost joy is miles away from true joy. In fact, I would add to this by saying that you, Danielle, should be most weary of almost joy. You can sniff out a horrible job very easily. But an almost right job, an almost joyful job, now that one is dangerous. Your mind intervenes to talk your body out of what it knows on a visceral level is just not good enough. But your mind is trying to fill in the difference with explanations, equivocations. And then you get to experience the lightning, when you’re coaching, writing the podcast, doing research for your courses. And you feel the lightning and it is absolutely unmistakable. Don’t try to substitute joy.

2.) Baby, you will never know how it goes, UNTIL IT GOES.

Oh gosh. If there were a Nobel Peace Prize, a National Medal, a prestigious guild for over-analysis and overthinking I would be the first winner. No doubt. I tried to map out a singular, safe path for myself, and tried to both clear the path for myself ahead of actually taking the path. Obviously that doesn’t work. But oh how I ache to know what the heck will happen next because I swear that’s what I need. (I’m whispering to my former self but really coaching my current self through this too). You do your best in this moment, but you can only serve this moment. And then you do the same in the next. And in the next. And in the one after that. Because you can never ever know how it goes until it goes.

3.) Hold it all a bit more loosely.

You show up, you do the work, but you cannot cannot cannot white knuckle your way to success. Actually I guess you could, but by the time you get “there” (wherever that there is), you’ve spent the entire time in fear, anxiety, and struggle when it could have been enjoyable. Holding things more loosely does not mean you don’t care, that you’re not consistent. All it means is that you are as invested in enjoying the experience now as you are in the outcome in the future. The path unfolds without your incessant intervention anyways; if you hold it more loosely, then you get to enjoy the unfolding while you’re doing the work. Hold it all a bit more loosely baby girl.



Well friends, those are my lessons to my former self. What are yours?

Head over to chanti_luke on IG to share.


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Danielle Callendar