shutterstock_221213140As we enter the graduation season I’d like to ask every graduate to consider these three things. For some people this is already part of their DNA and they’ve been doing them for years. For others they might be doing one or two of them regularly. I’m suggesting at this important milestone that you do all three … at least once. If they become habits that would be even better.

Note: I’m not going to focus on the commencement speeches**

Say Thank You

There are countless people that helped you get to where you are today. Thank them.

Take the time to share what they did for you and share at least one specific thing you appreciate about their efforts.

A few to consider are listed below. This is a short list by design. Your list may be much longer. I hope it is.

  • Teachers – There are likely a few of them that inspired, encouraged and pushed you.
  • Parents / parental figures – Whether they are biological parents or anyone that played a role model for you.
  • Anyone who got you here – This is the list that can grow to be as large as you like.

One thing to consider is getting started. Keep your initial list to a manageable size and get the Thank You’s started.

Give Back

Start thinking about it now. Because the time will fly by and before you know it you’ll be getting notes for the 10 year reunion.

  • Your school – They will call. Expect it. Plan on something. Save a little throughout the year. Give back what you can. Support your alma mater.
  • Join a non-profit – It doesn’t need to be in your chosen industry. You might be passionate about sports, arts or something else. Find something, offer your assistance and give something back. You’ll likely find that your management skills and people skills improve as a result of working with others. This can be magnified when working with others on a volunteer basis.

Look Ahead

Wonder. Dream. Write it down.

  • Make a conscientious effort to really think about your future.
    Ask: Where do I want to be in 1, 3 and 5 years?
  • Then … Make it so. As with schoolwork it pays to take the time to understand what it will take to be successful.
  • Don’t worry if you miss it a little. That’s life. Making plans is not a perfect science.

The point of this post is to help those that are graduating step up their efforts with three simple, yet powerful things that will set them apart and help them stand out in their career. Those that do will already be ahead of the game.

Getting Started: Take the time now to do an inventory of the the people that have helped you get to where you are today. Consider a few ways you can give back today and in the future. And, plan for what’s next. Those that do will stand out in their career and be off to a great start. Congratulations Graduates.


Commencement Speeches – Be on the lookout for the standouts:
** If you want to see incredible commencement speeches you will see those all over the TV news and across the interwebs. Some will make you smile, some will make you laugh, and some will make you think. There are always a few standouts. David Foster Wallace may have delivered one of the best ever. If you have never read, seen or heard it now would be a good time to do so.