Here is a little snippet of the heart of the commencement address given by Bruce Benson to each of the four University of Colorado campuses, which I found inspiring. I was climbing with Sean and Ned yesterday and it hit me that it’s been 9 years since I graduated. Amazing how time runs away from you.
“I tell graduates to listen to others and make sure you hear all sides of the story. Your ideas may not be the best.
You can accomplish a lot more if you don’t care who gets credit. In every decision, watch for unintended consequences. Stay focused on what is important and finish what you start.
If you make a mistake or a bad decision, admit it, apologize, fix it as fast as you can and move on.
When you make an agreement, make sure both sides are happy. Don’t always try to get the advantage.
Seize opportunities as they come along. If you have a life plan, don’t miss opportunities that may not fit exactly in your plan.
People want leaders – if you see a void, fill it. When you become a leader, be inclusive and open. Try to listen more than you talk. Hire great, trustworthy people and work as a team. Treat everyone with respect. Always lead by example and do the right thing no matter how tough.
Be generous with your time and, when possible, with your money. And be sure to remember your alma mater.
Contribute to your community, volunteer for projects you care about. You will do good and it will make you feel really good.
I believe strongly in each of these principles, which have helped guide me since my own graduation from CU-Boulder in 1964. But perhaps the most important thing I share with graduates comes at the end of my talk.
I tell them that in the end, your honesty, your word, your reputation and your integrity are all that you have – don’t lose them.
And don’t forget, the harder you work, the luckier you’ll get. Congratulations to the class of 2013.”