8 Thoughts for Graduating Warriors

Every year I write up a commencement address for new graduates.  This year my alma mater (Wisconsin Lutheran College) asked me to share some thoughts with the warriors graduating this weekend.

Someday I’ll actually give one of these speeches live.

1) Be the Best

You are competing with one billion people in China, another billion in India, and half a billion people in North America.  If you’re average, then you’ll also be poor, miserable, or replaced.  Pure and simple.

To be in demand with this economy, you must be the best at what you do.

It doesn’t matter how you get there. Experience, training, luck, internships, whatever…just be the best.


2) Be Yourself When You Grow Up

Role models are great. Teachers are wonderful. However, when it’s time to pick a path in life, the person you need to be is looking at you in the mirror.

There are a couple reasons why you should be you and not someone else.

1)  You’re the best in the world at it.  (see #1)
2)  Being someone else is hard work and you’ll never be good at it.
3)  It wastes a lot of time otherwise.  Everyone with half a brain knows you’re trying to be someone else.
4)  It makes you unique.  You have talents/skills/knowledge that nobody else has. When you be yourself, those unique qualities shine through.

While parents, friends, and others may challenge you to follow someone else’s path, you must resist. Follow your heart. Do what you love.

Be you.


3) People First

The world revolves around people.  You won’t be hired by your iPhone.  You won’t be promoted by the laptop you use.  Your car won’t be giving you a raise.

I always hear “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”  That is wrong.

In a hyper-connected world, it’s not who you know, but who you’ve helped. Everyone “knows” everybody, but everybody remembers when someone helps them.

Help as many people as you can.


4) Mean It

If you don’t really care about people, they will know.  You’d be better off working with machines or basket weaving.

If you choose to work with people, you need to mean it.  No faking.

If you want to help someone, roll up your sleeves and do it.


5) Run or Stay

When you find yourself connected to bad people, run.  They will ruin you.

If you find yourself surrounded by great people, stay.  They will help you grow.

If you want to fail miserably in anything, walk.

Losers walk.


6) Don’t Spend Much Time Watching

It’s fashionable to dedicate large amounts of time to watching celebs and popular “experts” to see what they’re doing.  It’s also stupid.

Learning is a good thing, but watching isn’t doing.  Groupies are losers.

Winners do.  Leaders lead.

Followers just watch.


7) Don’t Waste Anyone’s Time

In the Attention Era, wasting someone’s time is not only rude, but ineffective as well.

Don’t ask if you don’t care.  Don’t talk if you don’t have anything valuable to say.

Don’t be boring.


8) Push Until It Hurts

When it hurts, you’ll know you’re doing it right.

If you care about people, they will hurt you.  If you dedicated yourself to something, it will fail you.  Get ready to cry.

The key is not to fear the pain you might feel, but to fear a path that doesn’t cost anything.  All great things cost something.

You get what you pay for.


Graduation isn’t the end.  It’s the beginning.

Let’s get it started tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

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Published by Aaron Biebert

I'm a director, film/video exec producer, leader & 8pm Warrior. I am passionately chasing my goals at all times. I'm listening. Let's talk!

15 comments on “8 Thoughts for Graduating Warriors”

  1. Hi Aaron, really well said and wonderfully positive. 

    Our founder recently published this blog http://edition.cnn.com/2012/05/16/opinion/hidden-agenda-kevin-allen/ about how important it is that you connect with potential employers. I was amazed at the pessimistic attitude  a lot of the comments conveyed.We live in tough times so it is vital that graduates think hard about the type of industry and organisation they would like to work for and then do everything to show their passion and what it is they will bring to the party. There are a lot of tired people out there so as a graduate you have a huge opportunity to bring fresh energy to any organisation

  2. Aaron, this is great advice. I especially connect with #4, Mean it. I see so many folks get into a “helping” career, without really knowing why they are doing it. Then they feel trapped, when they realize they actually DO like computers better than people. The real corollary to this is “never seek a job.” Whatever it is you do every day should be something you love, and oh by the way it helps you pay your bills, not the other way ’round.

    I hope all graduates everywhere take heed of your words of wisdom.

    1. Alice, you are so right.   “Helping careers” should not be focused on money.  Yes, it’s a nice reward for doing amazing work, but it can’t be the primary motivation.

      It’s so great to watch you love your work Alice and the world is a better place for it.

  3. My daughter graduated from Little Gym today (she’s 3 yrs old). I think I’ll read this to her tonight before bed time and EVERY SINGLE “graduation” year from here on out. Little lady warrior training starts early! :-)

    1. Krista, that would be an honor if you shared it with her.  She obviously has a great warrior to learn from and it will be fun to see how she grows.

      Maybe she’ll be a good match for my 3 year old male warrior.  :-)

  4. #3 hit home for me. Love your point about who you’ve helped (could as easily be someone you leave a good impression on, but I digress) being what matters. Hope the warriors at the biebert household are well. Congrats to the warrior grads, you have been prepared for the real world better than you know.

  5. May I share some of these at my classroom’s GED graduation? I am an adult education instructor and hold a graduation for the past year’s successful GED recipients. Thanks!

  6. This stuff is great. Anyone in my office that is successful is living out all 8 of these every day. I would throw in Colossians 3:23 as number 9.

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