Friday, June 7, 2013

Words of wisdom

Second Blooming
This week's Spin Cycle brought to you by Gretchen at Second Blooming is on commencement speeches.  It was actually my idea (tooting my own horn) after hearing some radio DJs doing something like this on the radio.  I thought about what I would say if given the chance to speak before a graduating high school class, just getting ready to take that step out into adulthood.  So I thought of "what would I say to Aubrey if I were giving her this speech down the line?"  So that's what I did. we go!
Hello, Class of 2013.  As I look out amongst you, I think of one thing:  look at all of these bright minds, these young, enthusiastic individuals who will put people my age out of a job and force us into early retirement.  Ah, youth. 
No, that's actually not what I see.  What I see is my daughter in 17 years.  And I see myself 13 years ago.  See, I'm not really qualified to stand here and tell you what you should do with your life.  I'm still living mine.  Thirteen years out of high school and ten years out of college, I like to think that I'm still learning, just like you.  You're only at the start of your journey.  You have so much to learn, so much to do, so far to go.  So as I wrote this, I thought "what would I tell my daughter" if I were giving advice to her at the end of her high school career? 
My first piece of advice?  Call your mother.  When in doubt, call your mother.  And if you don't have a mother, call the parental person you go to when you need help.  Never ever hesitate to reach out for help.  Don't be too proud.  That is what we are here for.
Okay, so onto the wise words of wisdom.  Here are a few tips that I've learned throughout the years.  Take from them what you will. 
You are no better than anyone else.  I remember high school.  I remember the cliques and feeling less than adequate.  I remember the "cool" crowd, the nerds, the jocks, and all of the other labels out there.  I have no doubt that none of that aspect of high school has gone away.  But you know what?  None of it matters.  Lose those labels quickly because those people you thought were nerds or were weird?  You'll run into them years down the road, and none of any of this will matter.  They'll be successful and happy, and you will, too.  The people who still hold onto those labels and act better than that kid in high school who you picked on?  They're just sad.  Some of the most successful people from my graduating class were those individuals who weren't "popular" per se.  And the reason behind that?  They didn't stay in that high school mindset.  They lost the labels.   
Don't expect respect without giving respect.  Respect is something that is earned.   This is a lesson I have learned as a boss and as an attorney that while, yes, yelling and being aggressive is one tactic to get what you want, people won't respect you for that.  The people out there who are truly respected are firm, but courteous and civil.  It pays to be kind. 

You will make mistakes.  We all make mistakes, some of them bigger than others.  But don't let yourself be defined by your mistakes.  Let them be learning experiences.  Learn from them and move on.  Sure, they seem like the biggest crisis ever at the time they happen, but in the long term and after so much time has passed, they'll just be blips on the radar. 

Be open-minded.  Learn.  Explore.  Knowledge is power, and staying within the confines of your comfort zone will not do you any good.  Some of the best experiences you will have will be from taking that leap, facing that fear.  Step outside your boundaries and try something new.  If you don't like it, then you don't like it.  But if you never try, you'll go through life asking yourself "what if?"

Take care of yourself.  Because this is the only life you've got.  You may feel young, invincible, you can do anything, but do take care of yourself.  No one is invincible.  Not even Superman.

You deserve to be treated well.  Don't let anyone treat you like they are better than you.  Don't settle.  Don't try to make yourself out to be someone you're not, someone who you think everyone else wants you to be.  You're an original.  There is no one else like you.  Embrace that.  If someone really cares about you, they'll love you for who you are, not who they want you to be. 

Lastly, follow your dreams.  Don't be arrogant but don't be ashamed to be successful either.  Don't let someone dim your light simply because it's shining in their eyes.  If someone is putting you down it's because they are insecure.  Don't let their insecurities hold you back.  No one has the power to make you feel inferior except for yourself.  So let yourself shine.  Be yourself.  Be you.   

And call your mom. 


Maybe this is cheesy, but there's my speech.  And the call your mom part?  That one is for Aubrey :-) 

So stop by Gretchen's and see what other spinners have to share!  And congratulations to all you graduates out there and to all of those graduate's parents!


  1. I love this! Totally wish you had been there to speak to my graduating class! ;)

  2. I just played KC the Buzz Lahrman song.

  3. I loved all of this. I especially the part about not being better than anyone, and how cliques fade with time. I love that now on Facebook, the most popular jock, the nerdiest girl and the outcast stoner all keep up with each other and comment on each others posts, and really enjoy each other!

    You are linked!


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