Commencement season is upon us. It’s time to don caps and gowns, cue “Pomp and Circumstance,” and dispense wisdom through the time-honored tradition of commencement addresses.

New York Times best-selling author Bruce Feiler analyzed one hundred commencement addresses. In his bi-weekly newsletter about navigating life’s ups and downs, The Nonlinear Life, Feiler identified four tips to be present in all of them:

  1. Dream Big
  2. Work Hard
  3. Make Mistakes
  4. Be Kind

Since reading Feiler’s findings, I’ve been thinking about how each of those tips applies to being a good teammate—and I’m convinced they all do.

Good teammates dream big. They aspire for their teams to achieve on the highest levels. Scaling the heights of success requires ambition and a readiness to ignore all the reasons that could prevent success from becoming a reality.

Good teammates work hard. They don’t know the meaning of the word lazy. Showing grit and grinding out a team goal is an intrinsic part of their very existence.

Good teammates are willing to make mistakes. They understand that mistakes are part of the growth process. Applying the knowledge gained from a mistake leads to progress, prevents repeating the same mistake (something good teammates avoid), and sparks innovation.

Good teammates are kind. They consider the impact their words and actions have on others. Extending friendliness, generosity, and concern facilitates the type of caring team culture that fosters success.

What binds good teammates to these four practices? Service and purpose. Good teammates dream big, work hard, are willing to make mistakes, and behave kindly…for their team. That addendum provides context to the tips and keeps them from becoming dysfunctional habits.

Without purpose, dreaming big can turn into disillusionment. Without purpose, working hard can turn into burnout. Without purpose, making mistakes can turn into apathy. And without purpose, being kind can turn into being taken advantage of.

Service leads to purpose. Purpose leads to happiness. What better advice could any person pass on to a graduate than a proven strategy for acquiring happiness?

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

Lance Loya is the founder and CEO of the Good Teammate Factory. He is a former sports coach turned bestselling author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.

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