Marilyn Denis is kind of Canadian broadcasting royalty. After 42 years in the business, she’s learned a thing or two about TV, but also quite a bit about success (and failure) in life. For her season eight premiere, Denis returned to her alma mater, the University of Idaho, to give a commencement address to the school of Journalism and Mass Media and receive an honorary doctorate.
In her commencement address, Marilyn outlined three crucial life lessons to help the class of 2017 navigate this thing we call life. You might not be a new graduate trying to start a career and figuring out where you belong, but the lessons Marilyn lays out are pretty universal. That lady sure knows her stuff. Here are three major life lessons as told by Marilyn Denis.
1) Be good in the hallways
‘Inclusiveness matters,’ she said, ‘Treat the custodian the same way you would treat the CEO. Everyone matters.’
That’s something we could all stand to remember in this current social and political climate. People are people regardless of job, social status, skin colour, gender, background, language, sexual orientation or nationality. And we should treat each other like it.
2) Be your authentic self
That goes for broadcasters like Marilyn–don’t be fake on TV–as well as the rest of us.
‘Please put the real you on social media,’ she said, ‘You fake it, you start believing it, and you will lose your authenticity.’
Social media makes it all too easy to hide our real selves from the world behind a mask of picturesque brunches and perfectly-lit selfies. While you don’t have to put your whole life on display–in fact, please don’t–the stuff you do put out there should be authentically you.
3) Make mistakes (and learn from them)
An oldie but a goodie.
‘I’d like to write a book called ‘The Best Mistake I’ve Ever Made’ but there would be too many chapters,’ Marilyn said, ‘Going for the job, getting it, then getting fired. That’s happened to me twice. It’s not the mistakes you make that matter, it’s how well you react and adapt to them.’
Moral of the story: don’t be afraid of failing. We all do it at some point and learning from it only makes us better.