Archive for the ‘Confidence’ category

Why A Back-Up Plan Is A Bad Idea (Video by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

November 21, 2011

One of the most common questions I get from job-seekers is “Should I have a back-up plan when I’m going after my dream job?”

Watch this 2-minute video for my answer:

Please comment below with your thoughts and/or to let me know if you liked this video.

P.S. You can also sign-up for my FREE e-newsletter at so that you get future articles and videos from me on how to get your dream job and create your ideal career.

-Pete Leibman
-Author of “I Got My Dream Job And So Can You! 7 Steps To Creating Your Ideal Career After College” (due out through AMACOM in early 2012)
-Founder of Dream Job Academy
-Keynote Speaker for The Dream Job College Tour
-Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day


What Can The 2011 NBA Finals Teach You About Achieving Your Dreams? (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

June 14, 2011

Many people fail to get their dream job because they have a back-up plan.  Think about this logically.  By having a back-up plan, you are telling yourself that you might not succeed, which is exactly what you should not be thinking. 

Before I start to get letters from pessimistic parents or career counselors saying that this is bad advice to give students and young professionals “in this economy,” let me make sure you understand my message.

I am not saying that you should target one organization and remain unemployed rather than work for that employer.  Having any job is better than being unemployed given the stigma of being out of work.  What I am encouraging you to do is to commit to getting your dream job, no matter what it takes.  Sure, in the meantime, you may have to stay in a job you don’t love, or you may have to get a temporary job to pay bills.  However, you must commit 100% that you are going to get your dream job eventually.  No excuses.  No doubt.  It is going to happen.  It’s only a matter of when, not if.  It is that mindset that will actually help it happen because you will be more resilient and persistent.

If you knew you would die a slow, painful death if you did not get your dream job in the next six months, you would find a way to get it.  You would do absolutely whatever it took to get hired.  Why not approach your dreams with the same vigor? 

That probably sounds crazy, but most people completely miss the point of life and work. Don’t “plug along” in some job that you hate; go after your dreams with everything you have!  Hold absolutely nothing back, and you will succeed. 

A back-up plan is actually a plan for failure.  When you are willing to do whatever it takes, you will eventually achieve your dreams.

If you follow the NBA, you just witnessed Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks stun the world and knock off Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and the almighty Miami Heat.  Before the season started, no one expected the Dallas Mavericks to win the NBA title this year.  Well, no one except Jason Terry, shooting guard for the Mavs.  Before the 2010-2011 season began, Terry got a tattoo of the NBA Finals trophy on his right bicep. How’s that for committing to your dream?!

P.S. To receive a FREE 25-page report on Job Search and Career Success Secrets for Students and Young Professionals, visit my web site at


-Pete Leibman (

-Author of “I Got My Dream Job And So Can You: The Blueprint For Career Success As A Young Professional” (due out through AMACOM in spring 2012)

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Keynote Speaker for The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day

The Magical Power of “Why Not?” (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

March 23, 2011

Beautiful, blond hair. 

Striking blue eyes. 

Long, perfect legs. 

A smile that could make a linebacker weak in the knees. 

She was physically beautiful, and I was not the only person on campus who took notice.  Veronica was THE girl at Johns Hopkins University when I was a student there.  All the girls wanted to be her, and all the guys wanted to date her.  We met briefly in a class at the start of my sophomore year (when she was a freshman), and I was blown away by her appearance.  The thought of dating her literally never even crossed my mind even though she sat near me for months in 2 of my classes. 

In hindsight, I had a decent amount going for me at the time (other than a horrendous wardrobe consisting largely of t-shirts and sweat pants), but I had barely talked to girls in high school, and I wasn’t much smoother during my freshman year in college either. 

Fast-forward to the end of my sophomore year, and I found myself waiting for a bus ride on campus. Veronica walked up to the bus stop with a friend, looked at me, and said “Hey Pete,” as she gave me a look and eyebrow raise that seemed to add “Didn’t think I’d remember you, did you?”   

She was right.  As she gave me that look, I thought to myself, “Wow, I didn’t even think this girl knew my name.”  We talked for a few minutes as we rode the bus, and then we went our separate ways.  The following week, school ended, and I went home to New York for the summer. 

She crossed my mind a lot over the next few months.  As summer came to an end, and I got ready to go back to college for my junior year, I thought to myself: “Why not?  She remembered my name.  That has to be worth something.”  More importantly, I thought, “What the heck do I have to lose by asking her out?  What’s the worst thing that could happen?  At least I wouldn’t wonder what might have been.”

When I got back to campus, I still lacked the confidence to ask Veronica out, especially since I didn’t even know if she had a boyfriend.  However, I realized that one of my friends was friends with her, so I asked him if he knew what her deal was.  Unbeknownst to me, he asked her what she thought about me.  She told him to tell me to call her.

The day after learning this, I excitedly mentioned it to one of my other friends, who responded by saying, “Dude, she’s totally out of your league.  You could never get that girl.” 

I thought about what my 2nd friend said and nearly blew her off, but I reminded myself that she had told my other friend that I should call her.  Still somewhat shocked by this development, I told myself again, “Why not?” 

When I saw Veronica at a party the following weekend, I asked for her phone number, and magically, she gave it to me.  Several weeks later, we started dating. 

Unfortunately, this story doesn’t have the happy ending you might have expected, as Veronica and I only dated for a few months.  However, that experience was one of the best learning lessons of my life.  I realized that when you say “why not?” and are open-minded, anything is possible.   Even a shy, quiet guy who had barely dated could get THE girl on campus. 

As crazy as it sounds, it was that experience that ultimately gave me the confidence to go after my dream job to work in the NBA when I was an inexperienced, 21 year-old kid lacking any relevant work experience or connections.  When other people doubted that dream, I just said to myself, “Why not?  They were wrong about Veronica.  Maybe they will be wrong again.” 

They were…

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day


Twitter: @peteleibman

You Have to Change Your Thoughts BEFORE You Can Change Your Life (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

February 22, 2011

You know what you should do, but that does not mean you will actually do it.

For example… Being overweight or obese significantly increases your chances for developing heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and a host of other mental and physical disorders as you age, and nearly 80% of all colon, breast, and prostate cancers are linked to diet and lifestyle factors.  These statistics clearly illustrate the importance of a healthy lifestyle.  As a result, you would expect that everyone would be certain to eat the right way and to exercise consistently.

However, over 70% of the U.S. is overweight or obese!

Is this because overweight/obese people are not aware of the importance of eating healthy and exercising?  Of course not.

Instead, most people are overweight for 2 main reasons.  First of all, it’s because they have chosen (usually subconsciously) to ignore the long-term, negative consequences of repeating behaviors that feel good in the short-term (i.e. eating junk food or watching tv on the couch).  Secondly, most people are out of shape because they don’t believe they can get into better shape.  As a result, they don’t bother trying.

Our motivations (and subsequent actions) develop as a result of our associations and thought processes, most of which we are not aware of.  In brief, if you avoid something, it’s because you have subconsciously or consciously linked it to more pain than pleasure.  On the other hand, if you pursue something, it’s because you have subconsciously or consciously linked it to more pleasure than pain.

If you want to achieve a new goal, whether it’s related to your health, your career, or anything else, you will need to change some of your behaviors.  However, you need to change your thoughts FIRST.  Otherwise, you will just be relying on the ineffective motivational strategy known as “will-power.” 

Be open to the possibility that you can achieve your goal, and focus on all the benefits you (or others) will receive when you achieve your goal.  The right mindset is a prerequisite for being and staying motivated to endure the inevitable challenges we all face when we try to do something worthwhile.

Win the “battle” in your mind first, and you can win any “war.”

 Like this post or got something to add?  Please comment below!

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day


Twitter: @peteleibman

P.S. To learn more about my 1-on-1 career coaching programs or my speaking availability for The 2011 Dream Job College Tour, please visit or send an email to

9 Ways to Overcome Worry and Fear (by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

December 14, 2010

Your mindset controls which way you go...

The 2 greatest obstacles to the achievement of success, happiness, fulfillment, and inner peace are fear and worry. 

Not talent.  Not effort.  Not money.  Not intelligence.  Not personality.  Not other people.  Not luck. 

The key to creating your ideal career and your ideal life is to learn how to develop a winning mindset and control worry and fear.

As someone who has spent many more hours worrying than I’d like to admit, I’ve learned that I can control worry and fear in my life rather than letting it control me.  I’m definitely not immune to bouts of worry and fear (hey, I run 2 of my own businesses!), but I have gotten much better about minimizing their impact, and so can you.  Here are 9 ways to overcome worry and fear, so that you can enjoy your life:

  1. Plan.  The first step to overcoming worry and fear is to develop a plan to gain control over whatever is bothering you.  Enlist a friend or family member to help you brainstorm some solutions.
  2. Take action.  Once you have identified a few proactive ways to overcome worry and fear, take action immediately and consistently.  Small steps add up quickly.  Action kills fear and builds momentum and confidence.  Inaction (aka procrastination) leads to more fear, guilt, and paralysis.
  3. Take breaks.  It can also help to put some distance between yourself and whatever is weighing heavily on your mind.  Go for a walk outside, hit the gym, watch/listen to something humorous, or do something else that’s fun or relaxing to you.  You’ll feel rejuvenated.
  4. Get inspired often.  Read, watch, or listen to something inspirational, or call a friend who has a knack for making you feel good.  Another idea is to look in the mirror and give yourself a short pep talk.  Sounds goofy, but it works.
  5. Remember past successes.  You have probably achieved much more than you give yourself credit for.  Remind yourself of times when you have overcome obstacles in the past.  You have done it before, and you can do it again.
  6. Give yourself options.  You’ll feel less pressure.  We often feel worry and fear when we feel like everything is riding on 1 event, project, interview, person, etc.
  7. Regain perspective.  Find a way to help someone in need or who is less fortunate than you.  You’ll realize how blessed you are, and your “problems” will probably look less significant.  You should also count your blessings every day; it’s easy to lose track of everything you have to be thankful for.
  8. Use comparisons wisely.  Worry and fear often result from feelings of inadequacy when we compare ourselves to other people who we think are “better” than us.  The only time it’s healthy to compare yourself to another person is if you look at someone “ahead” of you as a source of inspiration.  Otherwise, just focus on yourself.  We all have strengths and weaknesses.  That person who you think is “better” than you could probably find something they envy in you as well.
  9. Stay present.  We usually worry about potential events or circumstances in the future that probably won’t happen anyway.  Stay in the moment and just focus on today.  In his best-selling book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie refers to this as “living in day-tight compartments.” 

The key to success and happiness is to learn how to develop a positive mindset and control worry and fear.  EVERYONE has worries and fears, and you can control how you respond to these emotions.  Plan, take action, take breaks, get inspired often, remember past successes, give yourself options, regain perspective, use comparisons wisely, and stay present!

-Pete Leibman

-Career Expert and Professional Speaker

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour


Twitter: @peteleibman

P.S. I speak about career success to students and young professionals nationwide.  To learn more about my programs and speaking availability for The 2011 Dream Job College Tour, please send an email to

25 Things Students MUST Do In College (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

November 19, 2010

I speak to college students and recent grads about how they can get their dream jobs and achieve success after college.  Given that I am usually only speaking for 60-90 minutes, time limitations prevent me from telling the audience everything I wish I had known when I was a student.

Therefore, I took some time and identified a list of 25 things every student should do while in college to position himself/herself for success and happiness after college. 

If you are reading this and you have already graduated from college, please keep reading because this list will help you regardless of your age!  Just start doing these 25 things now, one by one.  I guarantee that you will achieve more success and happiness if you can incorporate these 25 things into your life after college:

  1. Lead. Take on a leadership position for an organization on-campus or off-campus.  Leadership skills are gold for your career, and they build confidence and strong communication skills.
  2. Travel/Study abroad.  By spending time in new places, you will build your confidence, open your mind, have fun, and meet interesting people.  One of my biggest regrets is that I did not study abroad in college. 
  3. Donate your time.  Volunteering for a cause that matters to you will make the world better, make you feel better about yourself, and make you more marketable to employers who will see you as a quality person.
  4. Do some dirty work.  Working a menial job that requires physical labor will build work ethic and character and make you more appreciative when you move up.  Or, it might help you realize that you like dirty work…
  5. Join a professional association.  The best way to break in to an industry is to join an industry association as a student.  You’ll have the opportunity to build relationships with people in the “real-world” who could hire you later on and/or who can introduce you to others who can.  This strategy helped me get my dream job to work in the NBA when I was 21!
  6. Start your own organization/club.  It will build your confidence, lead to new relationships, and strengthen your communication and leadership skills.  Employers will be very impressed by this initiative.
  7. Blog.  Start a blog at on any topic you are passionate about; just keep it respectable.  Write at least one 500-word, high-quality entry each month.  A well-written blog will really impress potential employers and it will build your writing skills. 
  8. Speak.  Find a Toastmasters club in your area and/or take a public speaking course.  The ability to speak confidently and competently in front of others is one of the most impressive skills a young professional can possess.  This will also increase your confidence exponentially.
  9. Start a rolodex.  Your personal and professional relationships will be your greatest asset in every area of your life.  Start cultivating them as early as you can.  Think of your network like a garden that you take pride in maintaining and growing.
  10. Choose your friends wisely.  Surround yourself with people with strong character, good attitudes, and similar values.  Your success and happiness will be directly related to the people you hang out with most.
  11. Reflect weekly.  Set a weekly 1-hour appointment with yourself to go somewhere quiet and reflect on your life.  Make sure you are headed where YOU want to be, not where others think you should be.  If you are headed down the wrong path in any area of your life, identify some steps you can take to change directions immediately.
  12.  Strengthen your body.  Exercise at least 3-4 times a week, and feed your body the right way.  A strong, healthy body will give you more energy, more confidence, and lead to better performance in every area of life.  Click here for tips on how to avoid the 9 major nutritional sins most Americans make.
  13. Nourish your mind.  Read uplifting material for at least 15 minutes EVERY day, and stop watching shows like The Jersey Shore.  Superficial TV shows are like cheeseburgers for your mind.  They make you “mentally obese!”
  14. Create your rules.  Take 1 weekend afternoon and establish 5-10 “rules” for how you will live your life.  Look over your rules each morning and night.  This keeps you on track.  Here are 5 of my rules for my life:
    1. To always do the right thing, no matter what
    2. To support, appreciate, and encourage everyone I interact with
    3. To pursue my dreams despite any doubters or obstacles
    4. To make my mind and body as pure and strong as possible
    5. To take full accountability for my life and make changes when necessary
  15. Set S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals.  Everyone has heard that goals should be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based), but that’s not sufficient.  Make them “S.M.A.R.T.E.R” by also recognizing the E.R. (“exciting reason”) for setting the goal.  Losing 10 pounds by next summer is a S.M.A.R.T. goal, but losing 10 pounds by next summer so that you will feel better about yourself at the beach is a S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goal.  Which do you think is more motivating?  “Exciting reasons” are essential for goal achievement.
  16. Intern.  Do an internship each year in college.  Click here for 11 reasons why this is important.
  17. Study outside your major.  After checking with your academic advisor to make sure this is allowed, take at least 1 course each semester not related to your major.  You might realize another subject interests you more than your current coursework.  Either way, you will open your mind.
  18.  Join  Create a professional profile on LinkedIn (click here for tips), start building your professional network, and join LinkedIn groups relevant to your career aspirations so that you can learn more about your field and meet people who already work in it.
  19. Clean up your Facebook page.  Remove any questionable pictures, comments, quotes, or wall posts on your page.  Employers make judgments about you based on what they find online.
  20. Identify your passions.  Find out what gets you excited.  Make sure you pursue a career connected to your passions.
  21. Identify your talents.  Pay attention to what comes easily to you.  Make sure you pursue a career where you will be able to use those strengths on a daily basis.
  22. Rise early.  Make yourself a morning person.  There is no greater feeling than starting the day when most people are still sleeping.  Yes, this means you probably have to go to bed earlier.
  23. Count your blessings often.  Spend a few minutes right when you get up and right before bed to acknowledge everything you are thankful about.  It’s easy to lose track.
  24. Grow.  Complacency is the enemy of greatness and happiness.  Acknowledge and appreciate your accomplishments, but always keep challenging yourself and trying to get better.  Get out of your comfort zone as much as possible.
  25. Love yourself.  If you don’t like who you are, nothing else matters.  Success and happiness in life starts with appreciation for yourself!   

Do you want to create your ideal life after college?  Then, start doing these 25 things NOW!

-Pete Leibman

-Career Expert and Professional Speaker

-President of Idealize Enterprises



P.S. I speak about career success to students and young professionals nationwide.  To learn more about my programs and speaking availability for The 2011 Dream Job College Tour, please send an email to 

Is your mindset preventing you from getting your dream job? (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

November 12, 2010

The first key to achieving any goal is to believe it is possible.

When I was a teenager, basketball was my passion.  I played for hours every day, and given all that practice, I eventually got pretty good.  However, I was very cautious on the court.  I played point guard and had convinced myself that I was not a great scorer.  I often passed up open shots in order to try to set up my teammates, and I played with hesitation because of a fear of making a bad play.

My father had played basketball in college, and he coached the basketball team I played on for my church.  We were out to lunch one day when I was a sophomore in high school, and we were discussing the game we had that night. 

He said, “Pete, you are hurting yourself as a player and hurting the team by being so cautious on the court.  For tonight only, I want you to try something.  I want you to try to score at least 20 points.  I don’t care how many assists you get.  I don’t care how many turnovers you have.  I don’t even care if the team wins.  Just try to get 20.”

I responded: “Dad, I’ve never scored more than 13 points in a game!  How am I going to score 20?!”

He said, “Just give it a try, and see what happens.” 

Since he was my father (and my coach!), I said I would do my best.

So, I went out that night with my only goal being to score 20 points, and guess what happened?  I saw opportunities to score that I had never seen before, and I did some things on the court that I had never done before.  I ended up scoring 24 points… and, we won by 30!

Why did that happen?  Had I suddenly become a better scorer in a matter of hours?  Of course not.  I scored more than 20 points for the first time in my life because I was focused on my goal and because I had told myself that it was possible.  By being open-minded, I removed the internal, artificial barrier I had previously placed on myself (that it was not possible for me to score more than 20 points in a game), and I saw opportunities to score that had previously been invisible to me.

It was the first time I fully realized how your performance is directly linked to what you tell yourself you can or cannot do.

The first key to getting your dream job, starting a successful business, or achieving any goal is to believe it is possible.  Without an open-minded, positive mindset, you will not be able to see how you can get where you want to be.

What might you be telling yourself (consciously or subconsciously) is not possible?  Why not tell yourself that it IS possible instead?  To quote my dad, “Just give it a try, and see what happens.”

-Pete Leibman

-Career Expert and Professional Speaker

-President of Idealize Enterprises



P.S. I speak about career success to students and young professionals nationwide.  To learn more about my programs and speaking availability for the 2011 Dream Job College Tour, please send an email to