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By JC Abusaid, CEO/President as Featured in Forbes 

We all have things we wish we had known when we were younger: What we would have done differently in our careers and might have eased our minds—if only we’d had the benefit of hindsight. I never set out to be a CEO, but I seized the opportunities I was given and experienced my share of hard knocks, especially in my 20s. All of which has led me here today.

Since I can’t time travel and share some hard-earned wisdom with my younger self, this is my love letter to the next generation of leaders starting their careers.

If You Work At It, It Will Likely Happen

I didn’t have a lot of faith and put a lot of stress on myself. If only I could have had the reassurance that, while it might take time, hard work and patience are rewarded in the long run. Having a strong work ethic is vital to becoming a successful leader. Of course, that’s not the only thing you need, but it will get you to the door.

Life’s not fair and things don’t come out exactly as you want them to. If you can accept that as a part of life and move on with professionalism and diligence, you won’t regret it—and you’ll probably get more sleep. Ultimately, who you think you are and what you thought you wanted to be in your professional career may not always play out as you thought. The important thing is to keep striving.

Who You Surround Yourself With Matters

By building relationships with other hard-working, aspiring people, you create a strong support system that fuels your own drive for success. Momentum starts gaining for everyone. Especially when starting out, networking is critical. Try to build a network of a range of professionals at all career levels. Opportunities can flourish among positive-minded people reaching for success.

This next part is critical: Stay away from negative people. It’s easier to keep a positive mindset for yourself when surrounded by positive individuals. A negative attitude won’t benefit your career, so stay away from misery-loving company.

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