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.

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