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)

Stop Setting Goals!

Probably won’t see that on a bumper sticker or fridge magnet, eh?

Goals aren’t inherently bad, but they can dishearten us. We languish in a state of “not quite there, yet” until we reach it. And then what…another goal? Most of our time is spent striving and very little time celebrating.

Only 8% follow through on their New Year’s resolution. Time for Plan B.

Rather than resolutions or goals, focus on the short term. Like, daily! Because life continually ebbs and flows, it’s difficult to chart future outcomes.

Make daily choices (a.k.a. Plan B) which prepare you for small wins and opportunities along the way.

Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day. – Jim Rohn

Abandon your lofty goal of losing 20 pounds and embrace the daily discipline of eating healthier and exercising. Not easy, but much more effective.

Before you know it, you’ll begin to wade into the waters of success. Honest. (140 words)

Bonus Examples:

Goal: Get out of debt

Daily Discipline: Track/Change spending habits, create budget

Goal: Find a better job

Daily Discipline: hone your skills, ask for feedback

Goal: Deepen relationships

Daily Discipline: Put others before self

When Your Pants are on Fire

Dishonesty is exhausting.

And, it’s sneaky. Nobody wakes up in the morning asking the question, “What shall I lie about today?” We all intend to speak the truth, to be real, to be open and honest.

But, then…life happens. So, we hide. A lot.

I’ve gone days (heck, weeks!) where I’ve been a shell of myself, portraying a different, new and improved version of Brent Stromme for fear of being found out or not being accepted as I am.

Not anymore. I grew weary of inflating numbers, covering bases, and spinning stories.

There’s nothing more freeing than being completely honest. On the flip-side, isn’t it refreshing to hear someone tell it like it truly is?

Speaking the truth has become a daily habit. I’m still tempted to hide, but now I fight it.

Tomorrow’s a new day. Fill it with truth. (139 words)

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)

Don’t Be Offended

I’ve spent an awful lot of my life worrying about what other people thought of me. Whether it was my appearance, ideas, habits, music and food choices or my decision making, I would always wonder what “they” were wondering.

And, it would paralyze me. Or, it would alter an otherwise perfectly good idea or action. Solely because of a perceived notion that others wouldn’t approve.

I’ll never forget what my friend once quoted that has helped me (slowly) move past my insecurities and people-pleasing tendencies.

You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Boom! People are too tied up in their own life to spend energy criticizing or thwarting your endeavors. Make it and ship it. Buy it and wear it. Order it and eat it. Lead on! (139 words)