What Can Students At Chapman University Learn From A Car Mechanic Dude

Mattias Gronborg at ChapmanU

I’m back in Stockholm, honestly this is the first time ever I feel after a trip abroad that I don’t agree with the expression “There’s no place like home.” California touched my heart!

My online presence has suffered during the last week because of heavy jet-lag, spring pollen and a bad organized to do list. I know, making excuses are probably not a good way to start a blog post when you plan to write about how we should not blame the circumstances in our lives. Let’s start with a short recap from my classes at Chapman University together with my friend Niklas Myhr, but first I want to express my gratitude towards everyone I met and your kindness: Thanks!

Recap From Chapman

I remember when I studied in school, too many people were obsessing about their grades, internships and their scoreboards. This is something I still often see when I’m teaching students in personal branding. Let’s be clear here! I’m not saying it’s unimportant getting knowledge in school and good grades, quite the opposite, I think I missed out a lot of knowledge because of my slack in school. But I still think we all have our own path to walk and everything has it’s pros and cons. I believe one important thing to comprehend is that when you graduate from school don’t put the learning curve on the back burner, continue the learning process after your graduation.

Life is not about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself, so don’t blame the circumstances.

Mainstream Illusion

You will soon be disappointed when you hit the job market if you have misled yourself with an illusion that just good grades on your scorecard will take your career through the roof. My message here is that building long-term success in life has everything to do with your footwork in your own process of building your career and personal brand. We can never treat knowledge and skills as a check in the box, we must evaluate and develop ourselves on a daily basis.

Everything Else Is Just Noise

I have read tons of books, and I know that this is the one of the reasons why I can sustain this blog today. Because without these books I would never made it to this base on the field. One thing that always recurs in all books as an ingredient for success is: Listen to your heart and follow your passion. Repeating that line in your mind or owning it deep in your heart is two completely different ball games. It took me then years bridging that gap. When something feels real in your heart, you don’t have to make any apologies for it. When it feels good to you, nothing else matters. Everything else is just noise! It takes authentic self esteem to execute and follow your intuition.

Don’t Try To Look Good

Something I tend to see is how the youth seems to operate from a prestigious viewpoint when they are entering the job market. I hear things like “this job is not good enough” or it’s just “temporary”. I understand that if you have studied something in school you probably have intentions to work in that field, but take it easy because Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s likewise with your career and personal brand. I’m not trying to look good when I say this: But I have learned this the hard way! I was an internally dead dude in a nice suit without any self-esteem, I always went for the looking good mode because I was craving for attention. Without self-esteem you are addicted to other people’s thinking.

Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking - Steve Jobs

Forge Your Skills To Assets

What is the difference between skills and knowledge? I think you develop your skills by practicing and doing something over and over again. A lot of things in life is impossible to improve without taking action on it. That’s why it’s so important to study and do simultaneously, this is how you develop results which leads to life experiences. This is something I really learned when I worked as a sales rep for many years. You can’t just read books about how to sell, you must transform the knowledge into action to create real skills, results and experiences. Your experiences is often labeled as soft assets, they could be a bit abstract to define. As an example: If you have five years experience from marketing. Then you must define clearly what you are able to because of these experiences if you want to make your personal brand cutting edge. Don’t put up 5 years marketing experience on your CV. Skills and experience is important. 

Network Is More Than Talent

Other people are like rocket fuel for your career. This is the number one reason why you should start building your personal brand, and networking is a marathon and not a sprint. I remember that everyone I interviewed on my serendipity tour to Silicon Valley told me the same thing about the importance of having an influential network: Relationships matter to everything you want to create here in Silicon Valley. Does it make sense? If you lack certain skills to build a strong network you need to start developing them now. My strongest weakness was that I couldn’t speak English 2 years ago. I think I have transformed that weakness into an asset today.

Great men are not born great, they grow great… - Mario Puzo, The Godfather

Does It Make Sense?

When it comes to your career what is your biggest challenge? What are your view points on this post?


Wow! Matt, i love this this post. As I was reading it, I was thinking to myself "This sounds like it is coming out of Steve Jobs's playbook", and sure enough as I read further, there was a quote form Steve Jobs!  This post was full of inspiration, thank you!

Mattias Gronborg
Mattias Gronborg moderator

 @snouraini Thanks Sherry! I'm glad to see your smiling face here and knowing that this post gave you something, really makes me feel it was worth writing. 

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