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)

A Star Wasn’t Born

My Hollywood acting debut hit the big screen nearly ten years ago today as Walt Disney’s Mr. 3000 opened up in theaters nationwide.

 Sitting with my wife and boys in that small theater, my heart was pounding. I wondered, “Will people around me recognize that I’m in the film?” “Will this lead to other acting opportunities?” “Will I be able to drink this mega-soda without a poorly timed potty break?”

Nope. Nope. Aaaand, nope.

The director clearly defined my role from day one, “Your job is to allow Bernie Mac to shine. He’s the star. Less of you, more of him. Less of you, more of him.”

Job well done, I guess.  (If you pause the DVR and squint, you’ll see me from time to time. Rats.)

True leadership occurs, not while being IN the spotlight, but by HOLDING the spotlight.

Who are you “leading” today? Shine on, my friends, shine on! (137 words)

EXTRA: I enjoyed my time with Bernie and liked the movie. You can get a glimpse of the story via the trailer. If you don’t see the trailer below, click HERE

 

 

That Thing You Do

You amaze me. What you do for a living, for work, is something I’m quite certain I couldn’t.

Our trash collector, Donny, wakes up each day and does his thing. If I was a garbage man, I’d live in San Diego. He battles the snow, rain, and bad drivers while smiling. Seriously.

 Redd cuts our trees. He’s half monkey, I swear. Hard, sweaty, dangerous work. He loves what he does and is grateful for the opportunity.

Those reading this today are financial planners, insurance agents, stay at home moms, teachers, musicians, construction dudes, factory workers, truckers, pet groomers, realtors, fry cooks, environmental educators, health professionals, telemarketers, farmers, territory managers, administrative types, counselors, day-care providers, plumbers and more.

On this day, I raise my glass to you and say, “I need you to do what you do. Thanks for making life work.” (140 words)