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Advice for the Graduating Class (& What We’re Asking of You Now)

Advice for the Graduating Class Red Cape Revolution

Well, here you are— our next graduating class. Congrats!

Is it a magic moment? Or a time of chaos?

Those of us who love you wish we were simply spouting cliches and trite doses of inspirational wisdom right now . . ones you could sleep through before you head to the next picnic or party.

But honestly, we’re not exactly sure what to tell you as you graduate into today’s world of work.

I mean, here you are, marking a milestone in a time filled with milestones.

Living through a worldwide pandemic. Watching technology change our lives and brains. Witnessing war, peace, and everything in-between.

Seriously, we love you . . . but frankly . . .we’re exhausted.

We don’t have perfect answers for you.

You know we’d normally do anything for you . . . but right now, we just can’t.

And honestly, we need YOUR help.

So, our dear graduating class, we’re going to refrain from telling you what to do now. Instead, here’s what we’d like to ask you to consider as you take the next steps on your life journeys.

Ask #1: Would you become a do-er, rather than a watcher?

Ever see the movie Wall-E? In it, many of the discomforts of modern life have been replaced by machines and screens:

Yes, in most of the movie, humans have basically given up on the hard work of living on Earth.

Those of us who’ve been around for a while are a little worried that this vision might be becoming true.

For many of us in the first world, it’s more comfortable to stay in our houses, watch endless TV, and hide behind digital screens.

We’re becoming watchers.

** But watchers don’t change the world. Do-ers do. **

So will you do the work to find something to do? Something that you care about, as much as we care about you?

Your do-ing might be within your paid employment, or as a volunteer in your community, or as a caring member of your family.

Doesn’t matter what.

Just decide to do. Don’t just wait & watch.

Oh, and before you agree, we can promise you this isn’t easy.

That’s why we have to ask. We’ve got a lot of watchers in the world right now. And a third of those add “complainers” to their resume, too.

Doing (and getting clear on what kind of doing is right for you) can get pretty uncomfortable.

But the truth is that discomfort is the only path to growth.

And when we’re not growing, we’re declining. That’s just biology 101 (but since you aced that, we’re not worried. )

Ask #2: Would you err on the side of positivity vs. pessimism?

You don’t need to be all sunshine & roses all the time, graduating class.

But we’d like to ask you to find the moments to smile, celebrate, and create a little happiness.

The neuroscience is clear: happy people are healthier people. Negative thought patterns can poison your brain and make you less hopeful and clear about what you’re doing and what you want to do in the future.

Again, there’s a lot of noise out there trying to push you toward the pessimistic.

We’re fighting it, too.

And we slip up. Complain. Fall into victim mode.

You, though, can learn how to win the battle of the brain—to choose the thoughts that move you forward, to double down on the positive emotions that keep you moving even through the hardest times.

Yes, don’t discount your emotions–they put you in motion.

Positive emotions move you forward. Negative emotions pull you back.

Guess which direction we want you to go?

Ask #3: Would you tell us how you can help?

As you go find that thing you want to do, would you do us a favor?

Don’t force us to read between the lines. We can be kinda dense that way.

Tell us—and show us–what you can do.

Don’t look to anyone else to decide for you, no matter how many assessments or quizzes you take online.

Get clear first on who you are and what you want, and build your life from there.

Stretch for your ideal job, but take the imperfect-but-available one now to get moving, get experience, get into the world.

(Oh, and to get money. Money you earn yourself is twice as valuable as money given to you by others. I know this doesn’t make sense based on that Econ 101 class you took, but believe me, when you look back, you’ll understand what I mean.)

To tell us how you can help, you have to learn what you truly love and are good at, right now.

How? Get crazy curious.

Talk to everyone you can (even your parents’ friends—ewww), and learn what’s happening in their worlds of work, as well as what’s happening in your community and your world.

(I’ve already written the networking emails for you here.)

Stop trying so hard to be interesting.

Be more interest-ed.

Pay attention to where the problems are, what the trends are, where the needs are.

Figure out how the talents you bring can answer those needs.

Basically, through this crazy curious heads-up work, you’re filling in the pieces of this simple equation:

What I Love to Do + What I’m Good At

÷ Problems I Can Solve

= My Opportunities

And you thought calculus would never come in handy, right?

Keep solving for each of these elements, and you’ll have the clarity others crave.

Dearest Graduating Class, we need you, now more than ever.

You’re not an extra, drifting in the background of the world’s movie set—especially the one that looks like a disaster right now.

We’re ready for your close-up as a real-life, working adult.

We need you now, and we expect that you’ll contribute. We’re not letting you off the hook.

Yes, Graduating Class, the world is full of tough problems and issues right now.

And I suppose graduation speakers said the same thing when I graduated in the pre-Zoom, pre-iPhone days (i.e. dark ages).

That doesn’t make it less true.

What you need to know is that problems are waiting for you to solve, and people need your talents and contributions.

It’d be a shame–or worse–to let them down.

It’s your job to do all you can to track them down, offer your gifts to them, and get moving.

Welcome to the new world. We’re glad you’re finally here.

Not sure what’s next?

Clarity drives certainty. It drives action, and leads to success. No matter where you are in your career, make sure you’re clear on who you are right now and what you want next. Our proven formula gets you there–fast. Click here to enroll and get immediate, lifetime access to the class and tools. Stop wondering and start doing the work to get career clear.

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