Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sheryl Sandberg's Advice to Grads: Believe in Yourself, Chase Your Dreams, Change the World!!!

I enjoy reading Commencement Addresses. I love it when the older generation returns to Colleges to share their thoughts and experience with young graduates. Today I read Sheryl Sandberg's commencement address at the City Colleges of Chicago, and was struck by the 3 points she shared:

1. Believe in Yourself. This is something I still confront many times within any given week. On quite a few occasions, I have chosen to walk away rather than introduce myself to someone I'd love to meet; I have sometimes chosen to clam up and go with the crowd when I have thought things could be done differently; I have sometimes chosen to sit in the back - rather than the front - for fear of being 'noticed' or singled out...

Here's what Sheryl thinks:
"Over my many years in school and the workforce, I have seen so many people hold themselves back. I see people sit on the side of the room instead of sitting at the table. I see people sit in the back rather than at the front. I see people lower their hands rather than keep them up. And I see people lower their voices when they should speak up

I’ve seen over and over how much self-belief drives outcomes. And that’s why I force myself to sit at the table, even when I am not sure I belong there — and yes, this still happens to me. And when I’m not sure anyone wants my opinion, I take a deep breath and speak up anyway.

Believing in yourself was part of what got you to this special day. Continue to believe in yourselves. Don’t let anyone put limits on you. Don’t put limits on yourself. Know that you can and will go on to complete more school if that is what you want to do. Know that you can work hard to get the job you want — even if it takes doing other jobs on your way there. Know that if you want to, you can provide for yourselves and your family. Know that you can and will make the world a better place."
2. Plan and Chase Your Dream. This is as simple as it sounds. If you're as ambitious as I am, you have probably reached certain points where you felt overwhelmed and considered settling for less. Things are sometimes made worse by the fact that we sometimes have to 'settle' for less on the path to what we'd prefer to do.

Here's what Sheryl thinks:
"So keep an eye on your goal, but also know that it will take a lot of turns to get there. Know that your career — and your life — will have starts and stops, zigs and zags, twists and turns. This is especially true in an economy where you may have to take the job you can get as opposed to the job you want. Focus on taking full advantage of any opportunity to develop your skills. Each of us makes her own way in her own time. You may not love every job you have, but try and learn from all of them."
 3. You can change the World. Most people who grew up in Nigeria are familiar with the cynical question: "Does he/she have two heads?" posed by parents challenging their kids to rise to the challenge of a brilliant competitor in primary/secondary school.

Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, Albert Einstein, Jack Welch etc... are/were all regular people - just like you and I.

You may not necessarily become the President of the United States or rise to become CEO of General Electric - but you can change the world - if you pick a spot and dig hard enough.

Here's what Sheryl thinks:
"One person can make a difference. You can make a difference. I believe you can do anything that you set your mind to if you are willing to seek help and build skills. I know the world is filled with obstacles, but I believe you can find a way around them.

Your life’s course will not be determined by doing the things that you are certain you can do. Those are the easy things. It will be determined by whether you try the things that are hard. The jobs you want, realize you are not qualified for, and then work like crazy to get the necessary skills."
If you'd like to, go here to read the complete address. If you have five-seven minutes to spare, I strongly recommend you do.


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