Lately, I have been helping my daughter study for the baccalauréat (le bac), a rigorous exam that French students must pass in order to pursue university studies. I am delighted that she comes to me for help with her studies; however, as a teenager, she is not as inclined to ask for my advice. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from trying.
As a father and a CEO, here’s what I would say to my daughter and indeed any new graduate as they take their next step.
Be famous for something. This is all about being recognized for your unique skills and expertise. It could be a technology, area of study, industry or anything you are passionate about mastering. But whatever that something is, it must be relevant. Over time, as your abilities and contributions grow, the recognition or “fame” you earn will give you the confidence and courage to increase your impact.
Never stop learning. I know you’re just out of school, but for enduring success, school must always be in session—especially in today’s digital world. The world has changed massively in just a few years, creating serious problems for people and organizations that fail to keep up with change. Staying relevant is the name of the game. I believe that those with a passion for learning, who thrive on curiosity and new ideas, will be the success stories of this new world.
Make innovation your mindset. If you lead with innovation, bringing creativity and fresh ideas to whatever you do, you will stand out. Innovation is indeed the currency of today. The great thing is, you can shape an innovation mindset quite easily. Start by asking yourself: What am I going to do differently today—to make something better … to challenge the status quo … to take people by surprise? Share your ideas with confidence and see where they take you.
Embrace diversity. I am a strong believer that diversity is a key source of creativity and innovation. By surrounding yourself and collaborating with people of different backgrounds, cultures and experiences—each bringing their own unique and authentic point of view—you make yourself and everyone else better, smarter and stronger.
Do the right thing. Ethics, values and good conduct are foundational to success. Because if we don’t approach life and work with integrity and respect for others, any achievements we attain simply won’t be as meaningful. Be a good person with good judgement so that you can truly be your best each day.
In closing, I believe that you, as members of the Class of 2018, are part of the most fearless and adventurous generation yet—brimming with passion, energy and purpose. May it continue to drive you. I wish you all the best.
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