Chancellor’s Corner: Life Lessons

I had the honor of speaking at a commencement ceremony several years ago. It was an exciting afternoon – with happy graduates, proud family members and smiles everywhere. As I began preparing my remarks, I realized that it was the 20th anniversary of my own commencement.

Looking back, I realized how much I’d learned in those twenty years. I decided to share ten of these life lessons with the graduates. Now I’d like to pass them along to you.

10 things I wish I’d known 20 years ago:

10) Every decision you make in life impacts someone else. Think about the implications of every choice you make.

9) The job isn’t ever just about you. The opportunity to have your job is a privilege. Treat your coworkers with care…as equals. Success is earned by working together as a team.

8) When it comes to “being in the know,” those who talk a lot usually aren’t in the know. Idle talk is useless in the workplace. Be a part of the solution…not a part of the problem.

7) Take tasks off your boss’s desk. Leadership is a lonely activity. Those whom we serve in the workplace have numerous demands on their time, and they need to find people they can trust. Become someone worthy of that trust.

6) No task is too small for you. Humility is a wonderful thing.

5) You are replaceable. No single person is essential to the success of a business. You will never be bigger than the organization you serve.

4) Everybody has a first name. All people have worth. All people deserve our respect. It is essential that we know those people around us who are investing in the success of our organization. Get to know their interests, their joys and their pain. Invest in them.

3) Whatever task you are asked to do, do it with all your heart.

2) Dinner with your family is important. We are all busy. We will never complete our to-do lists at the office. But it is essential that we invest in those whom we love…and who love us. The work will always be there. It’s important to build our relationships with those who bring us joy and renewal, too.

1) When you don’t know what to do, remember to do no harm until you do. Find good, trusted mentors and seek their counsel. Wisdom comes from careful reflection and life experience – so seek help from those you trust when faced with difficult decisions.

May you find success and peace during this period of transition.

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