When You’re 18. Again.

I’ve been asked to speak to a couple hundred high school seniors tomorrow morning with the requested subject matter along the lines of “What Can You Expect From Here On Out?” Good question, right?

I sat in that exact gymnasium 35 years ago and wondered the same thing. We’ve all been there. Some of us attended college, others jumped right into the marketplace or joined the service. It can be an exciting time, but also a daunting stage of life.

I hope to give them a sense of confidence and freedom as they move on from their friendly confines.

I’m curious… what would YOU want to tell your 18 year-old self, knowing what you now know? What bit of advice or encouragement would you give? Please leave a Comment below … I just might steal your material. 

Wish me luck. (140 words)

Graduates: The Danger of Playing it Safe

What are you going to do with your one and only life?

You get one shot. It’s gonna fly by…just ask your parents.

How you decide to spend your life starts today. And, every day. I implore you to make a life, not just a living.

Truth is, your work takes up most of your time. Thus, you’ll need to ask yourself, “Am I excited about my day ahead? Do my gifts and passions line up with what I’m producing?”

If not, stop. Not necessarily cold turkey, but start planning an exit and find or create a new endeavor.

You might disappoint or worry your parents. Others may roll their eyes. But, this is YOUR life, not theirs.

The regrets of the aged are opportunities missed, ventures not attempted. Your mistakes and failures? You won’t even remember them. Trust me.

Go create your future and never (ever!) play it safe. (139 words)

A Year of Imperfection

Nailed it! Lots of hiccups, knockdowns and failures littered my 2015 landscape, and planning to make even more mistakes in 2016.

Perfection breeds inaction for most of us. Maybe it’s time you lowered the bar and got in the game.

  • Start that diet…even if you don’t stick with it
  • Ask for a raise…even though it’s a long shot
  • Begin a book…even if you don’t finish it
  • Ask for forgiveness…even if it won’t be granted
  • Give to charity…even if money’s tight
  • Pray…even if God feels distant
  • Publish that blog post…even if it’s not your best work (gulp)

I’m embarking on a new endeavor (details to come) with two of my best friends in 2016. It could be the next big thing…or, a colossal failure. Either way, we’re getting off our duffs and into the ring.

Here’s to an even more imperfect 2016…who’s with me? (140 words)

But, What if it Works?

As Follows: “Doubters” / Leaders

“Taxis have a monopoly, they’re not going anywhere.” / Uber ($51.0 billion)

“Rent your couch to perfect strangers, are you nuts?” / Airbnb ($25.5 billion)

“Who wants to take photos that disappear? Dumb.” / Snapchat ($16.0 billion)

“Wait, your goal is to enable people to live on other planets? Haha!” / SpaceX ($12 billion)

“Ads will kill that music app, nobody likes ads.” / Spotify ($8.5 billion)

“So, you wear a camera on your head? Why?” / GoPro ($5.5 billion)

Leaders weed out doubters and make things happen. It’s time for you to step up.

You have an idea. I know you do. Don’t waste time galvanizing public opinion. Spend time on a plan and begin to execute on it. This week.

Need direction or encouragement? Drop me a line, I’m happy to help. I just may need your idea someday. (138 words)

Company Valuation source: Wall Street Journal

Why My Commencement Speech Bombed

I wish I could have a “do-over”.

In light of tonight’s graduation ceremony in our sleepy, little lake community, I was reminded of perhaps the worst talk I have ever given. (believe me…I just read it, again, and should immediately send an apology to each of my classmates and the 2000 people that were in that sweaty gymnasium)

While I certainly had lofty goals, hopes and dreams to share, I was afraid it would come off as irresponsible and “out there”. Thus, I elected to play it safe.

I used big words and predictable advice. There was no heart, just platitudes such as:

“Life’s goals must be realistic and achievable. Otherwise, you will become frustrated.” (huh? yaawwwn)

“Set goals that advance your personal agenda. It’s your life.” (so, screw everyone else?)

Instead of inspiring my friends, I chose to impress and pander to the adults in the room. Ugh.

Fast forward to today (and, due to the inspiration of YOU and others): I don’t play it safe, I’m fairly irresponsible, often unpredictable…and, dream like crazy.

Keep inspiring me! (139 words)