Last weekend, I attended the Graduation Ceremony of a family friend. And as I looked into the faces of the graduates, I couldn’t help but see my younger self in them – excited and eager, blissfully unaware of days to come.
There is plenty of advice out there for new graduates, but so much of it falls short of practical, real world help. Here are 10 things I wish someone had said to me. Following even one of them would vastly improve someone’s life forever.
Like many of you, my wife and I are the parents of young children. We wouldn’t trade these days for anything in the world, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that it’s 24/7. We’re also self employed, and as our business and responsibilities grow, we’re feeling the pressures that come with filling every role from receptionist to CEO – while also raising a family, maintaining our marriage and serving our community. I imagine many of you feel a similar pressure, so I thought I’d share this story.
The other night, after a string of tough days, we fell into bed, both of us almost asleep before our heads hit the pillows. But in the stillness, as I tried to quiet my mind, all I could think about was how hard Jennifer’s day must have been with all she had on her plate. I realized I’d spent my whole day taking great care of my to do list, but not taking great care of her.
To say I played baseball as a kid might be a slight exaggeration. It’s more accurate to say I kept the bench warm and wandered around the outfield, watching the game being played fifty feet in front of me. I can’t blame my coaches for not playing me more. I wasn’t terrible, but I wasn’t great either. If the question was, “What can you do with the ball?”, my answer was always the same. “Not enough.”
It made sense to me…but it still hurt.
Athletes were our school heroes. I was chasing acceptance as much as I was chasing the ball. But my less than stellar efforts sealed my fate and secured my place outside of the inner circle and away from the cool lunch table. Still, for another shot at glory, I stuck with it. For five years straight, I kept showing up – hoping that someday I’d do something I’d never done before.
My friend Chris is a superstar waiting to happen. His voice is hypnotic. His style is unique. He writes undeniable melodies and words you wish you’d written yourself. Someday, his music will make him a household name – but today, in the meantime, Chris is roofing houses. Yep – you read that right. Roofing. Houses.
Not that there’s anything wrong with being a roofer. It so happens there’s a roof on my house – I love it! And I remember writing the check for that roof, so I know better than to pity anyone in the roofing community. But imagine, for a moment, Bono or Sting up on your roof and you might better understand my point.