Wisdom from Hoda Kotb

My Facebook and Instagram feeds have been flooded with graduation photos for the last two weeks. College graduations, high school graduations, middle school graduations, even 3rd grade graduations. Whatever the grade, finishing a school year is a milestone.

10 days ago, I went to a graduation. My step-son’s college graduation at Tulane University. This was a milestone for a variety of reasons, not the least that I realized I have a college-graduate step-son…

That Saturday was a day filled with family, pride, smiles, champagne (of course!), and also a very insightful Commencement Speaker, TV star Hoda Kotb. She has co-hosted the Today Show; has been a correspondent for Dateline NBC, has won a Daytime Emmy Award, and at least one of her published books has made it to the New York Times Bestseller list.

I loved her funny, witty, honest, and touching speech, during which she told the story of how she got to where she is today after graduating from Virginia Tech. She had great advice for the graduating class, and their families…

  • You don’t need everyone to like you. You just need one person to like you. (In the context of being rejected from 20+ interviews before landing her first job)
  • Always show up to work with a blazer. (How you look and first impressions actually making a difference)
  • Do not forget the people who helped you. Ever.
  • The best advice you might get in your life might come from a perfect stranger. That doesn’t mean it’s not advice you should follow.
  • Don’t call your journey. It’s not just for you.
  • Life has margins, which are to be valued and not wasted.
  • Hold on to the things you love and get rid of the things you don’t. (In the irreverent context of her husband)
  • If you survive anything in your life (from a first interview to cancer to everything in between), you get four words: “you can’t scare me.” (Repeat out loud and often)
  • Have the courage to ask. (As my Mom always said, you don’t ever get a yes from not asking)
  • You are the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with. Choose your friends wisely.

Thank you Hoda! And congratulations Parker!

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