I was attending my daughter's graduation at the University of Texas and I connected with the keynote speaker, Sara Martinez Tucker, on something extremely insightful.
Something Sarah hit on was the way she talked about growing your skill set daily. Getting better, especially at an early age, often comes at the urge of a passionate parent.
Unfortunately, so many parents out there don't realize the impact they have on their kids' lives. For example, in many houses its not if you got to college, but when. They may push their child toward a specific degree choice rather than focusing on guiding their kids to obtaining the proper skills to master at school that will spell success in the real world.
Sure, it's easier said than done, but as a parent, you should be asking yourself, "What's next?" And you should be asking yourself that question daily.
And for the kids, I suppose the theme after the two graduations I have attended at Villanova and Texas recently is the unknown. Is it okay not knowing what direction you are headed or where you are going? Well, it's helpful to have a general idea, but at the end of the day, we don't even know how long we are on this planet! So, the name of the game is taking advantage of the opportunities in front of you. Get busy! Don’t worry about what else you could be doing, but worry about whether you’re learning now the proper skills that are going to help you down the line. Be willing to put in the work.
For some reason the graduate is confused with titles and a lot of stuff that won't get them better. What's next isn't the number of vacation days or promotions or titles and a few more bucks. (I cringe every time I see the resume of a 30-year-old that's had four jobs).
My message to graduates is simple- slow down. What's next is about seeing what you’re doing for what it really is. You should be mastering what you’re doing. Be where your feet are. Be incredible where you are. If you leave, your boss should cry.
Think about it in sports at every level. In high school the kid that ends up getting the D-1 scholarship is the one that completely masters every element of the game. They’re a go-getter at practice, in the film and in the game. Once that kid gets to college, what’s the separating factor between them and everyone else? The same things! Ultimately the person that is going to concentrate on what they are doing now rather than worrying about where they are years down the line is the one that will achieve everything they want in the future.
What’s the point? Be present. Again, be where your feet are. It’s important to have an understanding of where you want to be in the future, but it’s even more important to know what you should be doing now to get there. Having that mentality will pay countless dividends.
There's no easy A's at The University of What's Next. It's pass/fail.
Here's that commencement speech from Sara Martinez Tucker: