Graduation season is in full swing. Over the past few weeks I’ve attended four ceremonies and six graduation parties and still have a few left to get to. So far I’ve heard good speeches and bad speeches, happy speeches and sad speeches. My favorite speeches tend to reference one of my favorite authors – Dr. Seuss and the popular graduation gift of his book “Oh the Places You’ll Go.”
Every year around graduation this books creeps its way back onto the best seller list for children’s book sales. The message is so universal as it speaks about the evolution from youth to adulthood.
I love the energy of graduation season because it creates a feeling that anything is possible. More importantly, that the possibilities are endless. The message to get out there and explore anyplace and everyplace is inspiring to me even to this day as I hear it referenced over and over again.
As I thought about all the places these young people are planning to go and all the experiences they are about to embark on, something interesting occurred to me…
When we are young it’s all about getting out there and going places, then at some point in our lives it becomes less about the places you are going, and more about finding your place.
I remember in my twenties as a touring musician, I wanted to go out and do everything and experience everything. Through those experiences I had success and failure, extreme highs and bottomless lows. I learned lessons I wish I didn’t have to learn and created meaning from those lessons that I now apply everyday with myself and those who I come into contact with.
Somewhere along this amazing journey I feel as though I’ve found my purpose and while I’m not sure if I’ve arrived there just yet, I believe I’m finding my place.
This place is not some destination that you suddenly land upon like the board game “Life.” Rather, it’s a sense that you’ve taken the skills and talents you’ve been blessed with, honed and crafted them, and are finally able to use them to accomplish those things that you were meant to.
I look at my two teenage sons now struggling to navigate the waters of what to do as they grow up and the places they’ll go. I feel like so much pressure is put on our kids these days to make those life decisions at such a young age. Who am I to give them advice, as here I am 30 years after high school graduation still struggling to figure some things out.
The best advice I can give them is the same advice my mother gave to me. Go out there and live your life, do the things you love to do, experience all the amazing things that life has to offer and don’t live your life by other people’s limitations. At some point while you’re out there experiencing all the places you’ll go, you may just find your place.
Ask yourself this week:
Are you going places or finding your place?
What do you love doing that you aren’t doing right now?
How you can bring your passion into your workplace and into your life?
Are you allowing other people’s values or limitations to dictate the terms of your life?
What are you going to do this week to start finding your place?
Thoughts for the week, in honor of our 2016 graduates.
All quotes from the timeless classic Oh, the Places You’ll Go
by Theodore Geisel – AKA – Dr. Seuss
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”
“You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.”
“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
“Oh the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.”
Looking forward to our next conversation