This article highlights seven key points of advice delivered by Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie during the convocation ceremony for the University of Toronto Mississauga’s graduating class of 2017.
I remember my convocation ceremony in the spring of 2002 at the Living Arts Centre. I had completed a three-year Marketing program from Sheridan, was ready to take on the world and had just bought my first car; a 2002 Hyundai Elantra hatchback. The world was calling and I believed I was ready. I'll spare you the 15 year "from then until now" story but know that it's an ongoing journey filled with continuous learning, ups, downs and so much more that has lead me to be a very proud resident of Mississauga and a very proud small business owner of this magazine.
Why am I walking you through the short version of my post secondary education life? Here's why: I came across Mayor Crombie's keynote address to the University of Toronto Mississauga Graduating Class of 2017 on LinkedIn and what stood out to me were the seven points she presented.
These seven precise and powerful points are applicable in all walks of life, whether you're a Mayor, student, professional, media company owner and quite literally everything in between.
I'll list Mayor Crombie's advice in point form and then chip in my five cents as we've abolished the penny (feel free to keep the change) below.
1. PURSUE LIFELONG LEARNING
I was also given this advice by my first year Marketing professor Doug Greenwood and it's something I constantly refer back to in my professional and personal life.
Simply put, knowledge enables you to move forward and whether it's something in your field or completely out of your "zone," striving to constantly learn and better yourself is always a smart decision.
Like Lowe's says "never stop improving."
2. TAKE CALCULATED RISKS AND BE BOLD
Mayor Crombie followed this point up by saying "as business giant Mellody Hobson has said 'the biggest risk of all is not taking one.'”
At 17, I had the chance to live in Australia for a year but turned it down because teenage Jay didn't quite have the courage to leave his comfort zone.
Whether it's applying for a job or promotion, starting your own company, going back to school, doing a 180 on your career path or nearly anything else regardless of how "big" or "small" you perceive it to be, please, please, please just do it. Regardless of the outcome, there's always a lesson to be learned and knowledge to be gained.
Wayne Gretzky summed it up perfectly by saying "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
3. BUILD A NETWORK
Whether it's classmates, colleagues or co-workers; keep connected. Attend networking meetings and events. It relates to Mayor Crombie's first point and constantly growing, enhancing and strengthening your network will help you through many aspects of life. You just may end up meeting a mentor or possible business partner(s) while building your network, and it can open many doors for you personally and professionally.
You don't have to say "yes" to everyone you come in contact with but it's crucial to do your due diligence and give everyone a chance.
4. WORK HARD, UNDER PROMISE AND OVER DELIVER
"With all the success you will surely enjoy, remember to be humble in all you accomplish" adds Mayor Crombie.
Don't minimize your talents and achievements and don't scream them to every pair of ears you come in contact with; find the balance which provides humility.
Consistently working hard at whatever you do is one of the best ways to be successful.
5. DON'T LEAVE IT TO FATE
Mayor Crombie further says "as my mother would say, 'if it is to be, it is up to me.'"
This line from the Christopher Gardener story "The Pursuit of Happyness" has remained with me and pairs perfectly with this point:
"You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it. Period."
6. HAVE A MENTOR
“In life you will come across people who genuinely want to help you succeed. Listen to them. Never let them go. And remember to return the favour in your career" is another strong and important quote from Mayor Crombie and one that should be held closely.
You just may find a mentor through the building of your network, otherwise known as point 3.
It may take a while and you may go through a few people but you'll know when you have the right mentor for you.
7. BE AUTHENTIC, BE TRUE TO YOURSELF, FOLLOW YOUR PASSION, MAKE PLANS AND ACHIEVE AND EXCEED YOUR GOALS
This point was followed up by Mayor Crombie saying "you are the one and only ever you. Don’t deprive the world of your talents, ambition and contributions."
This is by far my favourite quote as life throws daunting situations at you constantly and because we're human, we all (at varied points) experience moments where we feel that we simply can't take that next step forward.
Don't lose sleep over what everyone else is doing and while it's easier said than done, curb any feelings of "everyone else is doing something successful aside from me." Focus on you, your plan, your goals, your vision because if you don't, nobody else will.
There you have it, words of wisdom from Mississauga's Mayor, Bonnie Crombie, with trace amounts of Jay Kana.
Will we go on a speaking tour and give joint presentations? Probably not.
Will I become her speech writer? Probably not.
Will I write her autobiography? Hmmm, maybe but probably not.
If I ever did want them, I'd have no issue in approaching and asking her because as point 2 says, nothing ventured nothing gained.
With that, go out and be the absolute best possible you every single day.
The original LinkedIn post can be found here.