Lifestyle,News The Commencement Address

The Commencement Address

By Mary Ann Faremouth, 

Today, I was reflecting back to this time last year when I was preparing to give a Commencement Address to a local college.  I remember really trying hard to give these graduates solid “life lesson” information as they began their new journey, their new lives, their new entrance into the job market.  Big changes were in front of them as they moved into a new ERA of their lives. They would begin to apply what they had learned in college to the real world and hopefully do it with success.

I looked up the word “commencement” and the definition is really all about “a beginning or start.”

I think all of us are in a sense, GRADUATING to a “NEW NORMAL” if you will.  I think the five tips I gave these graduates just might be helpful to folks right now looking at beginning their own “new normal” and doing it successfully.  Just like these students pursuing their dreams and moving forward, we are all STUDENTS OF THE CHANGES in our lives right now.  How we choose to navigate these changes will determine our future.  Sometimes we have to take a few steps back in order to take a giant leap forward.

I remember the beginning of that speech went something like this:

“Like so many of you sitting in the auditorium today, when I graduated from college, I was excited but uncertain about exactly what my employment future would hold.  There are some times in our lives when the future looks fuzzy, or unclear, and it can actually be pretty scary to think through what might come next.

What I am about to tell you comes from a list of Five Lessons I have learned, not only from my over 25 years as a career consultant, but also from what I have experienced as a human being trying to survive on this planet. These lessons are things I’ve witnessed, heard from employers, applicants, Moms and Dads, Husbands and Wives, Friends and Enemies, and even from my own kids.

1. Take the Focus Off Me and Put it on We.

I think especially during these times with the Coronavirus upon us, thinking of how we can help someone else might be of paramount importance right now.  It can also give us personally a feeling of benevolence and gratitude for having the health and ability to do it. Of course, we have to do it from afar or online, staying 6 ft. away and wearing a mask!

2. You Have to Give to Receive

Often, we have to surrender to something outside of ourselves to gain strength within ourselves. Sometimes we have to conquer our fears to get what we crave.  We are all dealing with fear of the unknown right now.  Only focusing on ourselves can perhaps lead us into troubled territory. The irony is that sometimes our success can lead to the greatest failure which is giving into arrogance and pride while failure can sometimes lead to the greatest success which is humility and learning.  In order to fulfill yourself, you have to forget yourself.  In order to find yourself, you often have to lose yourself.

I think we are all going thru the “lose yourself” mode right now.  In this process, a true “rebirth” of who we are might take place.  We might come out on the other side with a new perspective, expanded awareness, and a more enlightened view of who we can be.

3. Make Friends With Fear

Don’t be afraid of Fear.  Speak your fears out loud. Give your obstacles credit but don’t be limited by them. The challenges we face are what force us to grow and expand.  Fear is often the dragon within we have to slay.  We often need a powerful sword to slay that dragon.

I think we are all stuck in the Fear mode right now.  There are ways we can slay that dragon of fear by making friends with it and moving into more positive areas of our life.

There is a quote which says, “When I dare to be powerful to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” Fear must take a backseat when we envision our quest at this time and keep marching onward through the troubled waters toward our goal, overcoming challenges.

4. Life’s a Dance, We Learn as We Go.

“Sometimes we Lead and Sometimes we Follow.” That is a great song by John Michael Montgomery. We are all surely doing a “different dance” right now.  We can chose the steps we want to take.  Are we going to twist and shout through the experience of this pandemic or are we going to waltz through it.

5. You hold the Personal Pen to Write a Great Story – You are the ultimate author of the book of your life.  I saw a post recently that said:

“You never have to fear the next chapter of your life if you know who the author is.” Perhaps we have to believe the story we all are writing at this time is a story of determination. We have to be determined to get through these tough times with grace and dexterity.

Let’s make our own personal “commencement or new beginning” one that will foster our own rebirth and a greater expansion of who we are and who we can be.  Let’s all graduate to this “New Normal” with a determination and perseverance to come out on the other side a graduate of the school of life with a renewed sense of awareness and a journey into our future that will allow us to begin or “commence,” if you will, this new journey with expanded success and rebirth.

According to Faremouth’s company website, “Mary Ann is the founder and CEO of Faremouth and Company. As a leader in the national recruiting community and a placement specialist since 1982, Mary Ann knows what it takes to get the job done. She is 2016 President of Houston Independent Personnel Consultant Group, is a member of the NASPD, NAPCA, the National Association of Personnel Consultants, and is also a highly regarded speaker and writer. Her articles can be found in various industry related publications. She founded Jobs: Houston Magazine in 1997, one of the most popular employment magazines in Texas for over 7 years.”  She is the author of the critically acclaimed and multi-award winning book Revolutionary Recruiting


Mary Ann Faremouth is the founder and CEO of Faremouth & Company and a highly regarded recruiter, career consultant, speaker and writer. She has been a placement specialist and a leader in the national recruiting community and has placed thousands of employees since 1982. She was the 2016 president of the Houston Independent Personnel Consultant Group and is a board member of the NASPD (National Association of Steel Pipe Distributors) and Authors Marketing Guild. She specializes in recruitment of professional, clerical, and temporary placements, with a variety of industry specific positions in various fields. Her expertise is in matching quality applicants with the right job, serving companies ranging from thriving independents to global conglomerates, tailoring each engagement to the client’s needs.

Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, DC, and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze,  Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations in various other industries, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. She has a keen understanding of the marketplace and its specialized needs and requirements.

Mary Ann brings a wealth of expertise to clients looking for the right individual to maximize and empower their team. As a consultant she is available to assist both the applicant and the client to quickly adapt to the New Work World. She also offers virtual and in-person workshops to guide individuals through personalized self-discovery to find new career paths. She continues to build her affiliations with recognized leadership organizations to best serve her clients and applicants by creating a network of highly professional contacts throughout the world. She utilizes her platform as a writer and speaker through her articles and affiliations to reach those in need of help, offering hands-on guidance to navigate this uncharted territory. (More information on


Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 of the Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction by Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books by Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019) by Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018) by Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, teaching them how to tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction as well as the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann also showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.

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