Put Your Sunscreen On

I recently attended my little sister’s modest college graduation. Given the short ceremony, the speakers were still able to elicit a few tears among the assembled. As a fan of a good graduation speech, I appreciated much of what they said. During a later discussion of the afternoon’s events, the classic “Sunscreen” speech came up.

Why sunscreen? Well, because it works.

I’ve always loved the staccato rhythm of this speech. But, more importantly, I love its simplicity and the author’s focus on what matters in life. It’s powerful because — like the best advice — the words teach you how to take care of yourself and the people around you.

In that vein, here are a few takeaways from a Forbes article that posits some commandments for professional life. While it specifically addresses leaders, I believe these suggestions also apply to would-be leaders. Think of it as a graduation speech for the corporate world.

According to the article, leaders should:

  1. Take care of their employees
  2. Empower their people
  3. Eliminate negative politics in their organizations
  4. Be trustworthy
  5. Recognize their people

This mirrors much of what we intuitively know. If you show loyalty and compassion to others, you’ll receive the same in kind. So — whether in your personal or professional life — always remember to take stock of the good things, take care of your people and plan for the future.

And don’t forget your sunscreen.

The Little Things

By Craig Messenger

Sometimes it’s easy to become caught up in large, overarching projects at work and neglect important priorities at home. We spend so much of our time working to achieve everything we want in life, it’s easy to forget about the little things.

Yes, the little things.

At work, our projects or goals are composed of smaller responsibilities. And, many times, our ambition may get the better of us. As a result, we forget that sometimes the journey is what gives us the greatest pleasure. Each new skill we learn — no matter how small — not only helps us work toward larger accomplishments, but also gives us a stronger professional foundation to stand on.

Outside of work, we should cherish the time with our friends and family or just learn to enjoy quiet time alone. These moments help build a stronger personal foundation that will sustain us during challenging situations and bolster us during happier moments. Cherishing the people around us is important to maintaining a healthy work/life balance and provides a necessary reprieve from the (sometimes) tough slog up the professional ladder.

Whether at the office or at home, it’s important to maintain proper perspective. Focusing on the little things ensures that we won’t become overwhelmed by big projects at work and allows us to properly recharge our batteries at home.