In June I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to our eighth grade students as they graduated from middle school and moved up to high school. Recently I ran across my notes from what I shared with them and thought that my “five tips” might be helpful to share more widely. I hope you might draw some inspiration from them. Here is what I shared:
#1. Listen – Listen to the people around you who have experience and wisdom. I understand you probably know all the answers already, but maybe– just maybe– some adult, or even peer around you might have something of substance to offer. But the only way you will know is if you LISTEN. Also, listen to yourself. Yes, yourself. Often times when you are worried or concerned about something, if you pause and get in touch with your inner voice, you will know the answer. But you have to turn off all of the outside noise to get there– allow yourself that once in awhile.
#2. Surround yourself with people and activities that enliven you– not those that bring you down. (simple as that!)
#3. Always remember– you have value. Don’t let anyone ever let you believe that you don’t. Right here, right now, this room is full of people who showed up for you! They believe in you! In fact, I want to take a moment to thank your parents and your teachers for the countless sacrifices they have made for you. Please join me in thanking them! And remember– we ALL BELIEVE IN YOU!
#4. Show up! You get out of life what you put into it. It starts with showing up and then making an effort. If you do both of those things, the adults around you will be extra thrilled to go out of their way to help you!
#5. Remember the maze game we played at LUREC (Loyola University Retreat & Ecology Campus) where you were each blindfolded and had to hold on to a rope and work yourself out of the maze? How did you get out?– ASK for HELP. Yes, when you get stuck, no matter what, ask for help. When you do that, you set forces in motion that will come flying toward you to help you! Trust me… it works!
So… Listen, Surround yourself with people who believe in you, remember you have value, SHOW UP, and ask for help when you need it… and I would say– guys– YOU’VE GOT THIS!