Good Message to Graduates (And to the Rest of Us)

We read all kinds of blogs, every week - banking blogs, tech blogs, business blogs, marketing blogs. You name it and we read it or we will start reading it (if you tell us about it). One of the blogs and newsletters we read on a regular basis is The Marketing Minute by Drew McLellan and his team at the McLellan Marketing Group.

A few years ago, Drew shared a message to graduates. We thought it was a great message to those new to the work force and to those of us who have been at this for a while. We wanted to share.

If you want to read more from Drew, visit his blog and subscribe to his newsletter. Even if you aren\'t in marketing, directly, you will learn nuggets of wisdom about branding, customer service and more.

Here is Drew\'s message to graduates:

The rest of your life

It's graduation season, and while I don't claim to have any inspiring words of wisdom for the high school and college graduates - I have detected some common themes in the speeches I\'ve been exposed to of late. I think there's a message in there for us as business people, too.

  • Don't settle
    It's enticing to take the easy route, whether that's cheating on a test, cutting back on your production standards, or not returning that call. Being mediocre isn't just acceptable; it's encouraged. Don't give in to it. If it doesn't matter enough to do it all the way, just don't do it.
    The business lesson: Do less, but do it better. Do it with passion and conviction or don't do it at all. Fire the customers who are never satisfied or never say thank you. Fire the employees who phone it in. As my friend and author Steve Farber often says, "Do what you love for people you love."
  • Don't be like everyone else
    It\s an interesting human characteristic that we want to blend in. And yet, we want desperately to be noticed. The two are completely incongruent. Where you fall in that spectrum is really tied to your willingness to take a risk. And when you're 18, that\s scary stuff.
    The business lesson: Turns out that being different is scary stuff when you're an adult too. But if you want to get noticed by a boss, a potential client or the marketplace - you can't hide behind everyone else. You have to be willing to take the risk. If you're not - then accept the consequences of being stuck in the middle of the pack.
  • It's not about you
    We've all heard, "At the end of your life, you don't regret what you did, you regret what you didn't do." I think it boils down to this - how do you want to be remembered? Do you want to be the lady with 100 pairs of shoes or the guy with the coolest car? How is the world better because you were here?
    The business lesson: We earn a living in our community. It's how we pay our mortgage and put food on the table. Which means we have an obligation to act out our gratitude. Every business, no matter how big or small, can help in some way.

These aren't just platitudes or clichés. They're solid business advice. Find your niche and do it better than anyone else. Differentiate yourself by building a bold brand. Give back in a way that supports your best customers and community. 

The beautiful symbiosis is that not only will you build a successful business. You'll also enjoy a successful life.

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