Commencement speeches are often dull, sounding like a jumble of platitudes and motivational quotes.
But we were inspired by what Apple’s CEO Tim Cook had to say at Stanford’s graduation this year.
“Don’t waste your time living someone else’s life,” he said.
Cook spoke of not feeling ready when his mentor, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, fell ill with pancreatic cancer, leaving him in charge. He said having to fill the shoes of the visionary leader was an experience of profound loneliness, of feeling isolated while being surrounded by people who expected so much of him.
Cook said he eventually learned how to move forward not by trying to be like Jobs, but by being “the best version” of himself.
“Don’t try to emulate the people who came before you to the exclusion of everything else, contorting into a shape that doesn’t fit,” he told Stanford’s class of 2019. “It takes too much mental effort — effort that should be dedicated to creating and building. You’ll waste precious time trying to rewire your every thought, and in the meantime, you won’t be fooling anybody.”
Be more like yourself
It’s one thing to be ambitious and copy what others have done. But being creative — whether that means being an artist, building a new technology or starting a business — requires the nerve to be more like yourself.
We work with women who are searching for ways to feel in control of their finances. It can seem like the right choice is to follow a formula. After all, personal finance often involves fundamental principles: spend less than you earn, have an emergency savings account, invest early and often, and so on.
But what we try to emphasize — which is different from what many financial planners say — is that your way of managing money has to be aligned with your path, your goals and your values, not someone else’s. The standard advice of working at the same company until you retire at 65 and methodically saving and spending a set amount every year doesn’t work for everyone.
Everyone’s financial journey is different
Our clients with often have zigs and zags in their career and experience pauses for family obligations, education or to start new ventures. Life happens, whether that means dealing with divorce, illness, moving, or investing mistakes. You shouldn’t stick with a career or life situation that doesn’t fulfill you simply because it’s “good” for your finances.
In an interesting way, figuring out your own financial journey can crystallize your priorities and help you find clarity in other areas of your life.
After all, how you use your money — where you spend it, invest it, and donate it — is an expression of who you are and what you believe is important.
Embrace the idea of reinvention
You may find that your financial goals don’t line up with your life goals. Or the accountability plan you set up with your girlfriends, who have the same education and career field as you do, works perfectly until it doesn’t anymore.
As Cook said, comparing yourself to others and trying to be just like them is wasted energy. Allowing others’ expectations to sink too far into your psyche is a set-up for suffering down the road. But learning to reinvent yourself, knowing there won’t always be a role model to emulate exactly, is a skill worth embracing.
Our strategy is to provide tools to plan for changes and adapt as you go, rather than promoting fixed rules. If you’re inspired to learn more, explore what we have to offer in our workshops.
About Heels & Yield
Heels & Yield empowers women to manage their finances and to nourish their health and their wealth through its proprietary holistic wealth management practices. To help clients achieve holistic wealth with guidance and accountability, Heels & Yield offers services including group workshops and private wealth mentoring that combines financial education with personal financial coaching.
This blog and its contents were created by Heels & Yield Limited. Our blog and its contents are for general guidance and informational purposes only and should not be treated as legal, accounting, financial, investment or tax advice. For specific questions related to your financial, legal or tax situation, please consult your own attorney, accountant, and/or independent financial advisor for expert advice and carefully consider all relevant risk factors. Heels & Yield Limited is a financial education company and not a financial advisory firm or a law firm or a certified public accounting firm. Please visit our website for full terms of our disclaimer and terms conditions of use. Please read our full disclaimer here.