Graduation Wisdom for the Already Graduated

Photo May 23, 9 21 50 AM

My daughter’s pre-school graduation.

This week, I had the pleasure of watching my children graduate from their varying levels of primary school.  They are moments that bring instant pride to any parent and a few tears as you realize that your children are growing up (too fast) and you can’t do anything to stop it.  As I spoke with many friends that had children graduating high school and college, I was reminded of my own steps into adulthood and the excitement and wonder of the unknown that I felt.

Graduation is a time that is filled with hopes and dreams and potential for what the future holds.  It’s a time that the whole world is at your fingertips and you can literally step in any direction that you want……but which direction?  That’s the big question.

Fortunately, to help you decide, graduation is also an advice filled time.  Advice from parents and family.  Advice from friends and classmates.  Advice from teachers and counselors.  Advice from complete strangers.  Advice from…. [fill in the blank].  There is no shortage of advice during this time.  However, that doesn’t always help the graduate on taking their next step.

As I was reading through some articles this week, I noticed that several authors, CEOs, celebrities, and other famous folk penned “To the Class of 2013” articles.  Filled with what?  More advice.

But as I read many of these, I noticed two things.

First thing, there were several common themes that kept showing up over and over again.    What were they?  Passion.  Risk taking.  Relationships.

  • Passion – Find your passion, chase your passion, and capitalize on your passion.  The number one mention by far in the majority of articles revolved around passion.  You operate at a different level when you are passionate about what you’re doing.  You can feel it.  Others can see it.  It creates a positive impact on you and those around you.  Find passion in what you do – whatever it is.
  • Risk Taking – Stepping out there without a safety net is a terrifying thought, but with risk comes reward – the reward of personal growth.  This is why this topic had the second most mentions of the articles I read.  The authors very much encouraged their readers to step out, stretch and learn, fail forward, and experience.  Success is great, but life isn’t usually a series of successes.  Life is a combination of successes and failures.  How we learn from our failures and grow from them is what defines us – and this is what causes us to grow, evolve, and realize that we can do more than we ever dreamed.
  • Relationships – It’s all about people.  We live in a very connected society – and one that is connecting faster every day.  While we could choose to be isolationists and live alone on a desert island, the reality is that most of us rely on, work with, engage with people every day.  And these actions and interactions define us – how we communicate, how well we listen, how we are perceived, and how we invest in others.  If there is anything I’ve learned along my own journey – it’s that life is richer when shared with others.

Second thing, the advice wasn’t just for graduates – it’s for all of us.   The advice was timeless.  And you know what?  Sometimes we need a reminder to kick us in the pants and get us motivated and thinking right again. One of the worst thing that can happen when we enter the work force is to settle into a rut and stop growing.  Look back at those three themes above.  Regardless of where we are in our careers – we need to still work with passion, still take risks, and still build and grow relationships.  Is this your wake up call? 

If you’re interested in the articles follow the link here.  Of the articles however, one stuck out more than others.  And it wasn’t even an ‘article’ in the traditional sense – it was a slide presentation from Reid Hoffman – cofounder of LinkedIn.  I’ve embedded this presentation below.  In it, you’ll find that he calls out 3 secrets for highly successful graduates, which would be beneficial for you to look at – because again – back to the ‘second thing’ above – it’s for all of us.  Enjoy!

What advice do you have for the already graduated?

The 3 Secrets of Highly Successful Graduates from Reid Hoffman

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