This past week I had a real treat – the opportunity to witness one of my favorite people, Jane Pak, delivering a riveting graduation speech to hundreds of students from Los Angeles Job Corps. Jane is a real force of nature. As the new CEO of NAWBO LA (the National Association of Woman Business Owners), she’s responsible for fueling the growth of woman entrepreneurs who are making the biggest impact on our local economy. So it seemed quite fitting that she was asked to impart the final words of advice to a room full of young people joining the local workforce.
Upon hearing the 10 key philosophies, ideals and lessons behind her success, I couldn’t help but ask if we could share them with all of you. Thankfully, she sent me her notes with her best wishes of success to you all.
Here it goes …
My success is grounded in 10 key philosophies, ideals and lessons I’ve picked up here and there along the way from remarkable people.
- Never forget where you came from – whatever scars you bear, wear them with pride for they are your badges of honor and evidence of a survivor. In the military – there are badges of honor, recognitions of valor and many of those with missing limbs stand proud with purple hearts. Be proud of where you’re from.
- Always stay true to where you’re going – a purpose driven life drives towards purpose. Being proud of where you come from is only sinful pride unless you stand behind a neighborhood by making it better and safer. Take your accomplishments and invest back into your community.
- Create reasonable expectations. Say what you are going to do and then do it. Be responsible for the commitments you make as people will rely on your word and judge you on your actions. The intent is only as good as the follow up. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
- If you wish to change lives, then you must first change minds. Changing minds is easiest done through the eyes – demonstrate greatness and there will be no argument to be had. Be what you want others to become and there will be no doubt.
- Do the right thing, for the right reason at the right time. Everything we do is out of love and fear. Every action and reaction is because we love or we fear. Embrace these two emotions – they are evidence of your humanity and your strength, not weakness. When you love – love wholeheartedly, love infinitely, love unconditionally with the satisfaction of loving, not for what it will yield in return. The byproduct of such love is greater than what we could ever manifest ourselves. When you are angry, frustrated, dismayed – realize that it is fear that causes you to feel that way and the real reason for the fear is often an indication of our struggle with ourselves. Embrace and face your fears for they are surmountable and you will be the better for it. Often we find that the right thing isn’t crystal clear – if you’re not sure – seek advice of those you respect and if you’re still not sure – don’t do anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the newspaper.
- Always ask why – twice. Remember that if ten people do the same thing, you will have 10 different reasons for why they were done. Treat each person and each adverse situation with care, kindness and consideration. If you really wish to resolve a problem, then you must first consider the other person and ask them “why”. Then, you have to ask yourself “why”. If its tough, then you’re doing it right.
- Success is not permanent, failure is not fatal. Failure is inevitable, you cannot succeed without it. So long as you succeed one more time than you fail, you will have no regrets.
- When you have nothing to lose, then you have everything to gain. Stand up for what you believe in. Stand up for yourself and for those who can’t stand up for themselves. But remember, standing up is just the first step. Being heard is the second. Changing minds is the third and changing lives is the reason.
- Be a part of the solution. If you are gifted with the ability to see the problem and to articulate what is wrong then you are equally gifted and charged with the responsibility to offer a solution. The most valuable people are not those who point out what is wrong, but those who do something to make it right. If you are not a part of the solution, then you are a part of the problem.
- When a defining moment comes along, DEFINE it, do not let it define you. Life is going to throw you curve balls – trust that you’re ready, that you’re able and then swing for the fences.
These are the burdens of greatness. It is work. It is hard. But nothing in this life is easy and be blessed knowing that you’re equipped to handle it, to grow from it. This world IS your oyster – slimy, gritty and sometimes may taste bad – but only from an oyster can you get a pearl. Take the pearls of wisdom that you’ve earned here at Jobcorp and choose to pursue your happiness – to be an agent for change rather than a victim of circumstance.
Choose for yourself
Think with great consideration
Act with un-waivering conviction
and every day thereafter.
Speech by Jane Pak, CEO of NAWBO LA (the National Association of Woman Business Owners).
Follow Jane on Twitter – @NAWBOLA