Jul 2, 2020 | Leadership, Community and Partnerships
I am 60 years old. Some days I feel every day of this age and others I wonder how it could possibly be that I’m the old lady my mom used to be. Some of you are asking “what is she talking about?” or/maybe (hopefully J) “wow she doesn’t look a day over 59.” lol
Age is relevant I think because this month’s blog is some advice for new grads from a mature, experienced, white haired grandmother and CEO – me. I’ve never written an advice column for grads before but this years’ graduating class (at all levels of education) is a unique one in so many ways. Graduates are setting off into a whole new, and somewhat uncertain, world. With this reality, we thought some advice might be helpful. To all the grads out there reading this, take what resonates and leave all the rest behind.
Be Bold. Wow profound eh? I know many say this but what does it really mean? For me it means have the courage of your convictions and stepping up and speaking out. It has taken me a long time to get to the place where I know that I MUST speak out on issues and concerns that hurt my heart. For too long I’ve felt that my job, my role, my profession, my own insecurities about being criticized or shut down was more relevant than speaking out for what I believe. Don’t be me – be you. Be bold and audacious. Speak out loudly and strongly. Find friends who believe what you believe and be part of a movement for change because we all know (even us old folks) that we didn’t do it well and you have work to do to make it better.
Be a change maker. This one is super important. The world is in a mess. We have children with no homes, families with no food, people with no hope, cities with no diversity, countries with no leadership and the world with no real plan to save ourselves. But everywhere there are people who are trying to change this and make it better. Be one of those. If all you can do is support, then support. If you can march – march. If you can be an organizer for change – organize. If you can lead a movement – lead. Whatever you find in yourself that can make the world a better place, share it broadly. We all need you to do that.
You’re all graduating and starting a journey. I hope you have a destination in mind but if not, don’t worry, life has a way of leading you where you need to go. Most of the building blocks of the people you will become are already there. Some of those blocks are strong and firmly embedded because of the love and support you have had from your family. Some of you however have not had that positive family experience and you will have to look to build that strength within yourselves and the people you choose to make your family. Choose wisely and be selective. The hundreds of “friends” you have on your social media channels are not the people that will help you as you build out your life and your future. Find the few that care – the few that love you no matter what – the few that will stand by you when you mess up – the few that know how to forgive. Those are the ones that will help you to build your foundation. The rest are entertainment.
Maya Angelou wrote that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I try to live my life with this in mind. I didn’t always – for too long I felt that my words were important and my accomplishments mattered. I know now that when I die the people who will remember me will be the people who loved me and who I loved in return. That is what truly matters grads – loving and being loved in return.
Now go be the change I know you will be J
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