My Thoughts To Graduates

I was recently asked to speak to a group of graduating seniors. I was quite humbled-and a little insecure. While I know the minds of the graduates are primarily on getting out of town for the week or the freedom that comes with the diploma, some do listen to the speaker. I still use as a guide some of the wisdom shared by the speaker at my high school graduation. After much thought and reflection, I offered them these five thoughts:

  • Know God. Not simply an academic knowledge, but an experiental relationship. It's that personal relationship with Him that will sustain you through the coming challenges and disappointments. The words of Corrie Ten Boom say it best: Never be afraid to commit an unknown future to a known God. The key is that you have to know Him first.
  • Marry Up. My greatest source of strength and encouragement is my wife. It is she who had faith that I could succeed as a speaker and trainer. It is she who has been by my side through all my ups and downs. And if the whole world were to fall apart, she would be the rock I would cling to. Seek someone who makes you a better person. Someone who draws out the very best in you. To settle for anything less will limit your success (however you define it) in all areas of your life.
  • Fail. No one ever succeeded well without failing first. Always look for ways to expand your comfort zone. When you fail, fail fast, fail cheaply and fail forward. As Oswald Avery once said, Whenever you fall, pick something up.
  • Dance with the ones who brought you. it's easy to neglect time with family and current friends because you are out changing the world. Remember to always make family a priority for they are the roots that are nourishing your ability to succeed. When my dad died a few weeks ago I took great comfort in knowing that he had been a priority for me throughout his entire life. I have few regrets about my relationship with him. Guilt is an extremely unpleasant travel companion.
  • Be mission minded in everything you do. Building a career around your passions is commendable, but be more specific. What problems will you solve with your career, your future family and with any resources you acquire? Every day of your life presents an opportunity to make the world a better place. Don't miss it, regardless of how small the task or request may seem at the time.

Best wishes to all the graduates of 2012!