Congratulations to the Class of 2011!

I was particularly struck this year by two recent accidents affecting students of mine. Neither accident resulted in serious injuries but one was very scary and the students were fortunate to escape without serious, life changing injuries. We are all grateful for their health and safety.

In chatting after graduation yesterday, one of the students reflected on what went through her mind as their car sped out of control with an incapacited driver. It was a bit of “life flashing before your eyes”. She then went on to say how grateful she was to still have her whole, bright future in front of her.

I’d encourage us all to remember how short life is. No one is guaranteed a tomorrow. So be grateful for what you do have and live every day fully. You don’t need to nearly lose everything to appreciate what you have.

I love graduations and other formal ceremonies because they mark formal ends and beginnings. Passages through stages and onto new adventures. So don’t forget to savor as many moments as you can along the way.

And now my more formal well wishes…

As another school year wraps up, current students head off to summer and you are graduating. I wanted to share my sincere congratulations and a few hopes for you.

First – the congratulations. You have worked hard for several years to complete a difficult course of work. You and your loved ones should heartily celebrate a job well done and degree earned with a lot of hard work and long days/nights.

Second – Thank you! I always feel privileged to get to work with smart, energetic young professionals early in their career. Your energy and enthusiasm continues to inspire me. I also want to thank you for your sustained efforts over the last year and a half. Your work has helped your clients be more successful, build the school’s reputation and build your skill set. It means a lot to them, but in particular to me.

Now, my hopes & wishes for you

Be curious – Don’t stop exploring. You won’t find your passion sitting on the couch.

Be courageous – Refuse to “settle”. Stretch yourself with challenges beyond what you think you can do. Regrets are terrible and some of the biggest start with “I always wished I had…”

Take the long view – Things play out over time. Don’t get too hung up on keeping score on short intervals.

Keep learning – When you stop learning, you stop growing.

Be flexible – Change is constant. Don’t fight it, be it.

Be true to yourself – Do what you think is right and live with the consequences. Don’t let others dictate the terms of your existence.

Work hard, but have fun – Life is too short to be miserable, so have fun. By the same token, few things worth doing are easy, so don’t be afraid to roll your sleeves up and work hard.

Build strong relationships – As one of my favorite country music songs says “it’s a long trip alone”.  You’ll live longer and be happier if you do.

Be useful – I think you’ll be surprised at how many things work out for you when you focus on helping others first.

I wish all of you the best as you move on to bright futures. Please stay in touch and let me know what I can do for you. It’s been a pleasure working with you.

Regards. Phil

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