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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When “The Day” Finally Arrives

There’s a point in every warrior’s life when everything you’ve worked for finally comes to one big event, one big launch, one big step forward.

Along the way you will doubt yourself.
You will get tired.
You will be tempted to turn back.

The difference between winners and losers is their mindset.  Losers turn back.

Winners just need more time.

After decades of building her practice like a true 8pm Warrior, my friend Claudia Anderson just launched her new dental office today in Park Ridge, IL.  I couldn’t be more proud for her.

This is what 8pm Warriors live for, right?

Don’t turn back tonight,

Aaron@Biebert

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Halftime in one 8pm Warrior’s Life

So, I’ve been lying to people for years about my age. I didn’t think anyone would follow a 27 year-old CEO.

Today I turned 30. Hopefully I’m old enough now.

I made this video last night. It gets a bit personal, but I figure over the past year we’ve gotten pretty personal with each other in the comments here so I wanted to share it with you even though I’m a bit nervous…

So, there it is. I’m assuming I’ve got until 60 with the way I’m pushing my body, so this is halftime.

If you’d like to help me reach my goal, visit my project here. The goal is to bring fresh water to 50 families in Africa. If you want to make a difference with your life, please consider joining me with a donation and/or sharing this post.

Every little bit helps.

I only get one life. It’s “go time” for me if I’m going to reach my goal. Thanks for all your help and support.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Curious why I’m doing this and where the money goes? Watch this video:

Here We Go! (Again?)

2012 is here.  We made it!

Does it feel like New Year’s Day keeps coming faster and faster each year?

What is changing?

 

Are you?

Every year I can’t help but think of the people I know that had big plans, huge hopes, and daring dreams for the last year. I’m always pulling for my fellow warriors, so I hate when it’s all talk, no action.

Warriors go to war, they don’t just talk about it.

I’ll never understand how some folks act like there’s an unlimited supply of days like today. Fresh starts. New years.

Here we go…again?

 

The problem is we only have so many new years before we run out.  This is a sobering thought for sure, but true nevertheless. What would you do if this was your last New Year’s Day?

Would you still keep dreaming or would you start doing?

If you need a calendar to push yourself, take it. But please don’t keep putting off what matters.

You might push it right out of reach.

Have a great year,

Aaron@Biebert

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The Most Important Project in Your Life…

The most important project in your life is the one you’re working on right now.

The past may be glorious.

The future will always hold new opportunities.

However, what you’re working on right now is all that counts.

Your past doesn’t matter if you don’t win today.  Your future doesn’t matter if you don’t get started on it.

I hear so many people reminiscing about “the good old days” or waiting for the great future they envision.  They can’t move on from the past or they’re waiting to someday conquer the future.

Conquer today!

Start tonight.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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The Tunnel is Dark, but the Future is Bright

Are optimists crazy people in times like these?

I am an optimist.  Even as I walk through tough, dark times, I can see a bright future ahead.

It keeps me going.

Though many 8pm Warriors are walking through dark hours in their business or career, I still believe the future is bright for those who invest in their future…especially now.

On Wall Street, we said “Buy when there’s blood in the streets”.

The man who is credited with that saying, an 18th century British nobleman named Baron Rothschild, made a fortune buying stocks during the financial crisis after the Battle of Waterloo.  Many of those stocks were of his own companies.

His original quote is believed to be “Buy when there’s blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own.

The blood in the streets is our own.

 

I see it every day.  Small business leaders struggling, talented folks doubting, so many wondering, “when will things get better?”

I get sad when I see those who stop before they get there, the leaders who quit on themselves, or the suicides of desperate warriors.

If you believe that you’re working towards something special, don’t give up hope. Don’t quit now.  Invest in yourself.

The future you fight for is forward.

 

Keep moving.

Have a bright night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Your Team is Looking for a Good Fight

Organizations will either come together in a fight for a common goal, or turn inward and fight each other.

Look at any club, family, church, department, nation, or business you are a part of. When does the most infighting take place? Is it during a fight for its life? When pushing towards a common mission?

Nope.

Big, slow moving companies like Microsoft know what I’m talking about. So does the PTA at an already successful school. They’ve lost purpose. They lose focus.

When there is nothing big to fight, they find stupid little things to focus on and whine about. In the end up, they fight each other.

Whether they admit it or not, most people are warriors.

They’re looking for a good fight. They need a mission.

Leaders with a vision can keep people focused on a common goal. They rally their troops and get them fighting together, not against each other.

We need to embrace our team of warriors and give them something to fight for.

All warriors need a mission.



Lead a mission tonight,

Aaron@Biebert

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Life is a Game of Inches

Rarely does one succeed or fail by much.

 

Usually, 8pm Warriors that make something great during their lives can point to key situations where success happened by an inch or two. It might be the large client that changed their mind and chose you, or the time you found just enough capital to push through a slow period.

Those victories are won by an inch. Every inch, every chance mattered for success.

The same goes for failure.

 

One of the reasons I am so passionate about pushing my absolute limits is because everywhere I look, I see inches. I try to take every inch when I can, not knowing how far I really have to go to reach my goal.

Even so, I am worried about missing by a couple inches. It’s one of my greatest fears and cause of numerous agonizing defeats.

I’m not alone.

We all need inches and tonight is the best time to find them.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

PS. One of my friends mentioned that this pep talk below really fits with this topic. I agree. Check it out.


 

I’ve made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who’s ever loved me, and lately, I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror.

You know when you get old in life, things get taken from you. That’s part of life. But you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches. And so is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small. I mean…one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow too fast, you don’t quite catch it.

The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second.

On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when we add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying!

I’ll tell you this – in any fight, its the guy who’s willing to die who’s gonna win that inch. And I know if I’m going to have any life anymore, it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch. Because that’s what living is!

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