This year, I have two kids achieving milestones. My 8th grader's recognition ceremony was yesterday, ending his middle school years and celebrating his move to the "big house" of high school. And my high school senior will graduate next weekend and head to Chapman University in the fall. Commencement speeches are no doubt hard to write and hard to deliver with power. There are infamous examples of famous people who delivered bombs—and famous people who delivered eloquent still oft-recited commencement addresses. To me, the point of any commencement address is to inspire those in attendance to be the best they can be—as individuals and as part of the greater community.
And with that, I will share Mr. Bruce Brombacher's theme with you. Mr. Brombacher has been a middle school math teacher since 1976 and is considered the patriarch and heart of Jones Middle School. He also has been named Ohio Teacher of the Year in 1981, the National Teacher of the Year in 1982 and received many other awards of distinction in an amazing career. He has decided to retire this year, and thus his speech was poignant (many tears by him and us), eloquent and to the point, much like the man. (Even though he was interrupted mid-way through by a pulled fire alarm prank, Mr. Brombacher remained calmly at the helm, standing at the podium until the alarms were quieted five minutes later.)
His message: Just as a triangle has three sides, so must a successful person: belief in yourself, belief in those around you and belief that you can make a difference in the community.
Perhaps not revolutionary concepts, but at the core of the new society that the Millennials will help to create—and the one all of us find ourselves in the midst of today.
It's the same message found in Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, and it's the start of any speech I give. To succeed, in work, in life and with your family, it all starts with you. It's believing in yourself and your unique gifts and building on those gifts to create your unique competitive advantage in business. And while women are uniquely in tune to the more emotional aspects of personal branding, men are embracing the message, too.
It's time to commence. It's time to believe in yourself and those around you. It's time to put the real you in your business and make an impact on the world. You can do it. It all starts with you! This is not the time to allow fear to immobilize you. This is the time to put your passions into action. Much like the college, high school and middle school graduates during this season of commencement, change is here. You must face it and get moving.
Have a fabulous weekend! And congratulations to all of the 2009 graduates out there—and to those who believe in them with all their hearts!