Not that we would have listened, but perhaps you are a wiser bunch! It's a been a few years since we've graduated (ok, decades for some of us), but we thought it would be fun to reflect back and ask ourselves, “What do we wish we would have known then….”. We hope you will find it valuable!
D's Advice: Stay Curious, Adventurous and Be Authentic!
- While you can and will make life-changing impact in your 20's, 30's and 40's, your years of greatest impact should be your 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's–when you have the most wisdom, influence and life experiences to share/give. So, prepare yourself by reading and experiencing as much as possible now. Besides, life is only going to get busier and more complex (but way better too).
- “OPE” – Have the humility, patience, and wisdom to learn from “other people's experiences.” It can and will save you a lot of time and pain.
- Be yourself and leverage your own unique giftedness. There are many approaches to success.
- Short-term sacrifice, long-term gain…not just with the “time value of money (TVM).”
- Be authentic. It's ironic because the people I admire the most are humble, kind, generous and highly authentic. The temptation to “fake it till you make it” is real. But, you'll form deeper and more authentic connections if you don't pretend you have it all together. Because you don't. No one does.
- Life gets busy. Don't stop investing in your friendships.
- Be present, be engaged, be thankful…and enjoy it!
Brian's Advice: The Obstacle in Your Path Are the Path
There are really four things I fall back on that help me re-find my true self when I wander:
Don’t fall into the temptation of using others life choices as your own.
The obstacles in your path are the path.
It’s easy to fall into the mental trap of approaching life’s challenges with the thought “once I get past this I’ll be happy”. Those challenges are life. Learn to embrace them with the knowledge there is happiness between and during those challenging episodes.
Be kind and show forgiveness to yourself. Once you feel comfortable giving yourself kindness, extend the same behavior to others.
Be very thoughtful of your tattoo choices.
Peace and contentment to you on your great journey, the only person you need to make proud is you.
Adriana's Advice: Trust Your Inner Voice, Dream Big and Live YOUR Life
Graduation marks the beginning of new chapter in your life. With your entire life ahead, the possibilities are endless! Up until this moment, many of the choices in your life have been made for you. Now, they are all yours to make. You and only you own the choices you make. But don’t worry; trust your inner voice.
Your inner voice is that voice inside you that guides you and knows what the right path is for you. When you hear someone say, “trust your gut or your intuition”, they are talking about your inner voice. In some situations, it may sound a little different from your parent’s and your friend’s advice and that’s ok. Trust it anyway.
Even when you follow your inner voice, you’re going to screw up. You’re going to make mistakes, especially when your dreams are big. One of my favorite quotes is from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf:
“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”
Dreaming big means you must make mistakes as you stretch your current capacity. During the life-long cycle of “fail, learn, grow, succeed” it’s reassuring to know when you follow your inner voice, there is a through-line in the decisions and the choices you make. You will be dreaming your dreams and living your life!
I’ll conclude with a quote from Steve Jobs that sums it up beautifully:
Congratulations, Class of 2017, now go conquer the world! And please share your best advice and lessons learned in the Comments section below.