We are in the midst of graduation seasons across America, celebrating graduations from 6th grade, 8th grade, high school, college, grad schools, and professional schools. There is this whole new crop of kids and young adults moving forward to the next adventure and chapter in their life with many unknowns, yet most with a full beacon of optimism looking to succeed at the next level. We take a day or two, celebrate those monumental achievements, have a little fun with friends and family, give thanks to those a part of the comforting support systems, and then keep looking forward.
For some, and even most, that next step makes us a little nervous, anxious, and maybe even scared. The two main reasons for those feelings is it is a change and with change, there are many unknowns. New people, new faces, new friends, new buildings, new teachers, new schools, new towns, a new home, a new job, or a combination of any of those new things. And as many of us passed all those stages look back, we may say we are glad to be passed that, glad we don’t have to endure that again, glad we don’t have to find new friends, or a new town or home. But we all forget, it is those times in which we all stretched ourselves, stretched our bandwidth and capacities, and became better people.
With that in mind, we think about the unknowns, the discomfort, and if we had to do it all again, how would we do it, or what would we recommend. And we must keep in mind several things –
What you are afraid of is never as bad as you imagined.
All change is very hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end. - Sharma
What would I have done more of, better, or differently if I wouldn’t have been afraid?
Expect obstacles, don’t be surprised.
Fundamentally, life is very hard, and we must learn from those hard days.
If you get pretty comfortable, it’s probably pretty bad.
If you live off the past, it’s downhill the whole way. -Maxwell
If a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks. – Zuckerberg
With those things in mind, if you have a child, kid, or young adult graduating in this season at any level, it not only presents an opportunity to celebrate, but it also presents an opportunity to express your love, faith, commitment, and passion for their success. It presents an opportunity to talk. Simply talk. My challenge this week is to take them, sit them down, look at them with the greatest compassion and care in the world, and talk to them about these very things listed above, and ask them questions about what they think, what they may be scared of, what they love, what they have learned, what their struggles may be. And use the conversation to motivate them, give them wisdom, and give them the confidence to go conquer their dreams with hard work, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, and a grit to withstand the trials and tribulations of change. Change is a wonderful thing, embrace! Even if you aren’t graduating!! Happy Leadership Thursday!!