Editor’s Note: With the 2014 graduation season in full swing, Entrepreneur.com is bringing you full commencement addresses given by some of the world’s most inspiring leaders.
Fashion designer tory burch outlet opened her 2014 commencement speech by addressing the Babson College graduates before her as "my fellow entrepreneurs."
"Even if you’re not yet an entrepreneur, you can be entrepreneurial in everything you do," she told the audience. "If you view each stop as an opportunity to learn something, there is always something you will take away from that experience."
Burch used her own career trajectory – from assistant to a fashion designer, to a string of PR and marketing jobs at Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang and Lowe, to starting up her own line of clothing – to make the point that while success often looks effortless from the outside, it's usually the result of years of work and accumulated experience.
She recounted hearing herself described as an "overnight success" after opening her first store in 2004. "I guess that made sense—if you didn’t count the 20,000 hours we put into building the business up to that day, or the combined half a million hours we all spent learning the industry in the years before that," she said, which gets at her main message: real achievement happens one step at a time.
"The good news is that if you’re willing to pursue your passion, put in the hard work, and believe in yourself, you will succeed," she told graduates.tory burch outlet
And as for all the naysayers they will inevitably encounter along the way? "One of the best pieces of advice I ever received from my parents is to think of negativity as noise," she advised. "Believe in yourself and what you’re doing."