By Linda Fisher Thornton
2023 Graduates, I have some guidance to share with you. Here are some tips for staying focused as you transition into and define the next chapter of your lives. May you find success and happiness in great measure along the way.
While the world will pull you in many different compelling directions, it is your values that will keep you anchored. Become aware of them. Nurture them…Know what you believe in. Live it. Set an example for others by building a good, ethical life in a chaotic world.Linda Fisher Thornton
Center Yourself in Values
- Take The Journey – Remember that while many will try to sell you the “quick fix” and “easy out,” it is doing the work and taking on the struggle and the growth that provide lasting success in life.
- Know Your Values – Figure out the qualities in yourself that you most want to cultivate. Know the ethical values that you believe in deeply and want to live up to.
- Commit to Investigative Learning – Learn how to find relevant information in a sea of content. Decide to do more than take information at face value. Learn how to identify fake news and sort out the misleading from the true.
- Learn Ethical Thinking and Communication – There is much more to learn beyond “do unto others.” Learn how to untangle ethical issues and talk about them calmly and respectfully, even when you disagree. Learn how to honor multiple stakeholders and look for solutions that benefit all.
- Decide to Make a Difference – Just “showing up” to work does not make a good life. Find a cause you are passionate about that serves others in your community. It will offer you stability and satisfaction as you weather the normal ups and downs of life.
Become Ethically Aware
- Find Ethical Role Models – While many others around you will stray from the path and make bad choices, your ethical role models will keep you looking forward toward becoming your best.
- Manage Your Information Consumption – It is easy to become overwhelmed or fearful when we are constantly exposed to the worst of what’s out there or comparing ourselves to others. Intentionally follow good news and manage your media time so it doesn’t take time away from relationships or building your own good life.
- Become a Truth Beacon – Become the one others can count on to evaluate information and determine whether it is “fake news” or an important truth. You will ground yourself and become a person that others can count on to cut through the chatter to find what matters.
- Take One Step At a Time, One Day at a Time – A wise person once said to me at a difficult time in my life “All you have to do is get through this for one day.” I realized I had been taking on the stress of challenges I would face in the future that were not directly before me. Using a “one day at a time” focus, we can overcome our challenges without becoming disheartened.
- Find Meaning Through Service – There are many different approaches to life. Some of them are self-serving and others are deeply focused on serving others. I believe that it is through service to others that we find our true happiness. As we shift our focus away from our own troubles and toward serving others, we find a sense of meaning in our lives.
What’s the common thread that connects these tips? Be willing to anchor yourself to values, and you will much more easily ride the storm. Along the way, always remember to give yourself the grace and space to learn, to make mistakes and to try again.
Wishing you great success as your future unfolds.
Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership
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