For You, Natasha

For You, Natasha

My dear Natasha:

It’s hard to believe you’re a senior in high school already. Soon you will be heading to college and making your own way in the world, and your dad and I couldn’t be more proud of you. As you get ready to head out on your own, I want you to remember five things:

Compassion. It’s critical to be able to understand things from someone else’s point of view. Compassion is about understanding somebody else’s perspective. It’s about taking the time and being open minded enough to “really see” someone else and understand why and how they show up. It’s also about having the urge to do something about that.

Courage. Life is hard and the world can be a scary place. It’s important to have the courage to stand up for your convictions, particularly when it can be costly. Courage is about acting on your compassion—actually doing something about what you see. And remember, hard isn’t bad—it’s when we actually learn!

Trust yourself. There can be so much noise, so many folks with so many points of view. Listen and take in all opinions (particularly the ones that differ from yours), but in the end, take a moment and listen to yourself. You have a strong moral compass and you have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and know you made the best decision you could. Trust yourself and your instincts.

Go for it. Be willing to just pick something you’re passionate about and go all in. Chase it and don’t give up. Put fear aside. And remember, if Mom could do it, so can you.

Be positive. Last but not least is this piece of advice. So much in life is about one’s attitude. It’s easy to be a pessimist but don’t; being positive will take you a long way. I know you’ve heard me say these things before—because you’re quick to say “Mom, you repeat yourself.” And it’s true, I do. I do because I want to make sure you hear me in your head when you need a helping hand, when I can’t be with you to say these things out loud. I love you very, very, much. And no matter what the future holds I (and your dad) will always be proud of you.

Maryam Banikarim is the EVP and Global Chief Marketing Officer, Hyatt Corporation.