10 Lessons Scott McKain Shared With High Point University Students

During High Point University’s Innovation Summit, best-selling author and HPU’s Corporate Educator in Residence Scott McKain returned to campus to speak with students and share some words of wisdom. At High Point University, students are instilled with the life skills required to succeed outside of the classroom. With access to innovators such as Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, HPU’s Innovator in Residence; Byron Pitts, Co-Anchor of ABC News’ “Nightline” and HPU’s Journalist in Residence; and Netflix Co-Founder, Marc Randolph, HPU’s Entrepreneur in Residence, students are exposed to industry professionals as soon as they begin their HPU journey. Here are a few pieces of wisdom McKain shared during his visit, edited for clarity and brevity:

1. The connections you make transcend transaction.

“In a business setting, the connections you make create loyalty and transcend making a mere transaction. With customers and colleagues, the life skills you bring are as big as it gets.”

2. It’s easy to be negative. 

“People focus on what is wrong, what they don’t like, or what they can’t do. Step out of that mindset. For some reason, the human condition leans toward being negative. Positivity is a choice. A choice we need to make every day.”

3. Be precise.

“Be clear about what you are, but be equally precise about what you are NOT. The businesses and individuals that try to be all things to all people are the ones that fail. No one is loyal to the generic.”

4. Don’t be different just to be different.

“Different is not always better. Bad customer service makes a company different, but that difference is what makes people stay away. Find a unique way to attract others.”

5. Be willing to endure criticism.

“If you’re doing something different than other people, there are always going to be criticisms because of that. But that is the key. You have to be willing to endure criticism and to find loyal people.”

6. Every person needs an individual personal goal. 

“By visualizing your goal and keeping it in your sight so you’re reminded of it, you’re forced to confront it. Vividly image your goals. As a result, you’re more likely to take the necessary steps to achieve that goal.”

7. Discover what you can offer that others can’t.

“An employer or company wants to know why they should choose you. If you can answer that question, you already differentiate yourself from others.”

8. Learn to tell good stories.

“Stories are the best form of communication. If you want to reach an audience or make a connection, a story is the easiest way to do so. Stories cross generations. They are the easiest and most relatable thing throughout time and age. Make your own story and learn how to tell good stories.”

9. Your values empower you to make decisions.

“Have a strong sense of your personal values and remember where you came from. One of the things that excites me so much about the millennial generation and students today is the sense that what they do can make a difference in the world.”

10. Life skills set you apart. 

“One of the most spectacular things about HPU is how engaged and insightful the students are, and that is because the university is equipping them with life skills. What these students bring to the table is wisdom and insight combined with enthusiasm and commitment. That can really make a difference in organizations in the U.S. and around the world.” 

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