Mindy Lockard whom I love and adore reached out to me to see if I would be interested in participating in a series she is putting on with Sheaffer Pens in time for Graduations taking place pretty much across North America at the moment. My own stepson just graduated from McGill (I know you are amazed that I have a step son old enough to graduate and rest assured that my husband causes jaws to hit the floor when he shares this information as well. He looks 35.)
I LOVE sharing wisdom with graduates because I still remember thinking back then that I knew everything. I remember thinking myself so mature, so worldly - invincible. What's interesting though as that as I've gotten older, I still think myself mature and worldly but I also really and truly enjoy the realization that I will forever be the 12 year old kid who laughs at the most ridiculous of things - myself. My 20's were really an extension of my teens where I followed the rules, I quietly questioned authority but I didn't really take it on - I criticized it heavily but like I said I was quiet. By the end of my 20's I realized that after being in a TERRIBLE relationship for 4 years that lasted 3 years and 9 months longer than it should have, that it would be better to be alone for the rest of my life in a rented one bedroom apartment than it would be to spend it in a house I owned living with a person I hated - who made me feel like utter SHIT about myself. I told a friend this very thing this past week when he told me that his relationship had ended and that he was devastated. I stand by that statement.
Getting to know yourself requires asking and answering a lot of hard truths. Do so often. When the shit hits the fan, instead of blaming this, that and the next thing - ask yourself "What did I do that enabled this behaviour, incident, transgression to happen...?" It's not victim blaming but often when you ask yourself this very question, you will find that there is a pattern to your own actions that enabled this to happen. Especially if it is a regular occurence. I dated the same guy for about 20 years. Sure they looked different - somewhat - but there were commonalities to all of them. I broke the cycle when I asked my Mom of all people to help me figure out WHO I should be looking for in a mate because CLEARLY I was doing a really lousy job of it on my own. She was right. I met him about a month later.
In work and in love, pay attention to what flows to you and from you. When you are on the right path, things flow. When you hit a roadblock, take a moment to pause and figure out if you are on the right path or if you are actually being redirected. Trust in the redirection. When you are young, it is easy to say yes to a lot of things learning to say NO is the hard part. Practice this a lot - even if it means turning down friends who want you to meet them out and about for a drink when you really don't want to. Learning to set boundaries is HARD - trust me - I am a compulsive people pleaser.
Starting your own business isn't for everyone. There is glory in working hard for others on their behalf. If you raise up their profile it doesn't mean you diminish your own. Working for others is like being accepted into a graduate program. This is often where the TRUE learning begins. Be humbled and hungry to dive into this experience. Learn as much as you can. If it is for a designer, remember, you are working for the client as well as the designer but your loyalty must always be to your company first. The company will only be as strong as its weakest link.
Your personal integrity is everything. It shows through, even on your private facebook page, tinder, or snap chat.
If you write it down, expect that it will always come back to bite you in the derriere. Imagine your grandmother reading your correspondence.
If you have to write something confrontational, unpleasant or you have received correspondence that angers you, feel free to write your response but NEVER EVER put the person who it is addressed to in the email address. Not until you've slept on it or had someone else read it. Even still, wait a day before you hit send.
Sometimes the best answer though is no answer at all. Know when to disengage and refuse to do battle. There is tremendous strength in walking away.
You can't be mad when you listen to Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran or Happy by Pharrell. It is a physical impossibility.
I will be 42 this year. I just finished a fashion shoot for a major fashion magazine - and when I say they made me look like a super model I am really not lying. I look better at 42 than I did in my youth. Not because my skin is any better, because I am skinnier than I was then or because I have better hair now. None of that factors into it at all. What I have now is confidence in myself, in my ability and the road ahead. Confidence, wisdom and a great sense of compassion for the journey of others will attract others to you and enable opportunities that those who are embittered, discouraged and frustrated cannot seize.
Good Penmenship gets you noticed. My handwriting has always been commented on and my lettering - well I had an instructor in design school ask me what font I used after I hand lettered a project... to that end, Sheaffer has graciously donated a Sagaris Brushed Chrome Featuring Gold Tone Trim Rollerball pen. I AM OBSESSED with the correct writing utensils. They can make or break my doodles, sketches or notes. If I don't like how it writes, I simply don't use it and I love Scheaffer pens to the NTH. If you want it, please leave me a note on my facebook biz page which you just have to hit the connect button at the bottom of this post - and tell me one wisdom you would pass on to grads this year. I will do the draw Weds July 2nd 2014 - well Luke will pull the name out of the hat!!!! He loves to do that.
Oh and one more personal wisdom - Little boys are the best kept secret there is.
Okay and one more - be real. Never apologize for being real and/or honest. Most people who will revile you for being honest are the biggest liars (mostly to themselves).