Congratulations, seniors. I am sure you are excited, nervous, eager, reluctant. It’s common to have conflicted feelings as you move on to the next stage of your life. I am sure you want to be successful, make a lot of money, and change the world.
When you are 17, you want to be extraordinary; you are not quite sure how, but you know anything less will be a disappointment. But, what does it mean to be extraordinary? And how do you get there?
As you get older, you start to realize that the path to greatness is not about a grand gesture, an epiphany. Rather, it is about the small things, about trying to make each and every day a good one and about making the world a better place.
I am sure you can accomplish everything you want with hard work, determination, and skill. It is important, though, on your quest to the extraordinary to keep in mind that success is not just about the bottom line, profit, making money, driving that fancy car, or living in a Mcmansion. It is about loving what you do, doing some good, and making others better along the way.
You will spend a large portion of your life working; make sure you love your work, and you believe in your work because when you have that, you will not only have that fancy car, but you will also have happiness. Keep in mind as you move through your career and life that the most important thing is not the product; it is not the business. The most important thing is the people.
Think about your classes; which ones were your favorites? The ones with the best curriculum or the ones that were taught by teachers you connected with? No matter what you do in your life, prioritize people. Take the time to talk to your co-workers, your customers, your bosses, and even your acquaintances and get to know something about them–their kids’ names, their birthdays, what is important to them. Try to find common interests, always look for the good in people and overlook their flaws.
Life is about people and connecting with people. Nobody is perfect, but there’s good in all of us and we all want to be our best selves. Help others get there and you will be one step closer to your best self as well.
Your relationships will lead to success in business, success in life, and can make you extraordinary.
The world is your oyster; you can have everything you want. I just ask that on your path to success–to driving that fancy car–believe in what you’re doing, keep your integrity, and never ever forget to dedicate the time to building connections with people. When you make others better, you will be better. If you do that you will have everything you want and more. You may not be famous, but you will certainly be extraordinary…best of luck.