As the weather heats up, thousands of students don their caps and gowns and say goodbye to the safety of school as they make their way into the “real world.”
Yes, it’s graduation season! If you’re not a grad yourself, then you probably have a loved one who is about to pick up their diploma, and step into adult life.
And as they graduate, we all have a tendency to share what we’ve learned through our path to these freshly minted adults. After all, we have a bit more life experience under our belt.
This experience is a valuable asset, especially when it comes to helping someone who hasn’t yet gone out into the world to find their footing. But are you giving the right advice?
Before you jot down your sentiments on a graduation card, make sure the message you’re giving does not include these misguided tropes that may do more harm than good.
Avoid saying: Always follow your heart.
Instead say: Balance what your head and your heart tell you to make the right decisions.
As you surely know, the heart is not always the most rational decision maker. When you choose a course of action based on what the heart wants, you can be led astray by emotions and feelings that make a clear path a little cloudy. Use your heart as a guide, but back it up with the knowledge to find the optimal next steps in life.
Avoid saying: If you work hard, and you’ll deserve and find success.
Instead say: Hard work is a good start, but don’t expect success to fall into your lap. You’ll have to go the extra mile and grab it.
If you look at national headlines and studies, “entitlement” seems to be a global problem. And one of the biggest mistakes people can make is to think that hard work automatically translates to reaching any and all goals they set for themselves.
But as you may already know from WINology, it takes more than just hard work alone to reach the next stages. You have to work smart! You need to recognize opportunities, build relationships and improve yourself in areas outside of just productivity to reach those long-term goals.
Avoid saying: Always follow your passion.
Instead say: Use your passion to find your goals and opportunities.
There’s nothing wrong with doing what you love. It’s the key reason why people stay motivated to reach continually higher.
But the problem with the general phrase “Follow your passion” is that it can be interpreted too narrowly to be ultimately useful. You need a broad definition of “passion” to find more opportunities to grow. The more open-minded you are about what to look for, the more options you’ll have towards success.
What to always, always say: I’m here if you need me.
Being a mentor can be a powerful thing. You are cultivating a relationship with the next generation of movers and shakers.
You’re also helping yourself by realizing just how much you know about navigating the tricky waters of the real world. Be a sounding board as well as a guide for your favorite graduates, and see how helping other people find their path can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the world.
What advice have you given to recent grads? Let us know in the comments section below!