This is the season for Graduations. I often deliver commencement addresses for School Graduations, yet graduations happen for everything from school to dance to sports to scouting. Kids in elementary school are getting ready to leave a familiar building and faces to move to a bigger school and new friends. High School students are throwing caps into the air and leaving the security of home to pursue a future that is wants desperately to reveal itself and be created and college grads are making there way into a quickly changing and re-valuing job market. Parents are graduating to empty nesters and teachers are saying good-bye to an empowered group of young people only to turn around and receive another group into their care and instruction.
Graduation is often seen through the lens of something completed. It’s a good-bye. A stage of life, a class, a level of accomplishment celebrated as finished. It should be! Take the time to acknowledge, embrace and celebrate the achievements, all the effort and dedication… and the person you became in the process. Then Commence to what lies before you. It’s as much a hello as good-bye.
Commencement means to begin. A commencement address is paradoxically a presentation about new beginnings at a time of finishing something big. The passing of a test is honored with a new test… the rest of your life. The celebration of the greatest of accomplishments is the exact same moment where you are most poised on the threshold of what’s next. It’s a new possibility, a blank page or canvass waiting for your creative gifts of expression. Your choices express your passions, define your destiny and create the pathway to your future.
To commence is to begin with vigor that which draws you forward. To remove the anchors of past mistakes, set aside any baggage or failures and for that matter successes and take with you only the wisdom of each of the experiences and most importantly the person who you became in the process.
Your dreams and vision will define your next steps. They will introduce you to the new questions that need to be invited, asked, explored and reflected upon. Your hopes will give you the energy to take you forward. Your desires will attract new mentors and teachers into your sense of purpose and if you are aware, proactive and secure, you will let them join in.
As you commence, let me suggest you avail yourself to those who may share your journey with you and to those who may be open to come along side of you to help you champion your future. Focus on the possibility tomorrow brings and act today on your commitment to a future you believe is worth exchanging your life for. Make choices that celebrate your values, vision, passion and sense of purpose. This will give greater meaning to the accomplishments and new relationships as well as the struggles and temporary failures that lie before you.
Commence into next leg of your journey. Your future wants to introduce itself to you. Who you become in the process of pursuing your future will be it’s own gift. Trust the journey. Choose wisely. Commence into who you are destined to be. May today be a new beginning and may tomorrow be your reward.