Hello Class of 2020…

Today, we live in a world where information flows and our lives are impacted at a far greater pace than any point in history.  In an internet minute, there are millions of text, tweets, videos, and tik-toks being consumed (not to be confused with "tic-tacs").  Today, there’s millions of people swiping left, right, liking, hearting, and lol’ing.  Every minute of every day.

Our visibility to what’s going on around the world has never been more transparent and our feelings, thoughts and emotions have never been more tested.

Today… we live in a reactive environment, often fueled by fear.  Today, in an internet minute, we can see the lies, the manipulations, and the injustice.  We can also see the beauty in our fellow humans.

Class of 2020 – you are a class that has invested numerous hours into your education.  You’ve felt the stress of a test, the pride of a good grade and the confusion and clarity that is simply a part of learning and life.

Today, as we look around, it is no secret that our world needs leaders.  The type of leaders that inspire us to be our best self and to help each other to be their best self. Today, as we look around, it is no secret that personal accountability matters and that each of us needs to assume the role as the leader in our life.  Today, we better understand the ripple effect our choices and decision can have on others.  

Class of 2020 – you understand what it means to be a good human, a good leader, and what it means to look out for each other.

Today… as you celebrate your accomplishments and you consider the accomplishments of your classmates, pause and picture for a moment what your legacy will look like 50 years from now.  Each of you in the Class of 2020 is going to be individually responsible for the legacy that you build for yourself.  Together, you are responsible for building the legacy that you’ll eventually leave behind for future generations.

Class of 2020 – You will forever be a unique and united breed.  Not many classes will experience the opportunity to have graduated in the midst of a global pandemic.  A wake-up call.  A reminder that things are not always in our control. 

The fact is that throughout life, you will face more “transformative” type moments.  Moments that will forever change your future going forward.  There will be numerous unexpected events that will come into your life.  Some of them will be amazing, some will be fun, some will be difficult to manage, and some will be downright scary.

You are graduating in the middle of a pandemic but much more than that… you are graduating in the middle of a global transformative time.   

Class of 2020 – You are part of the first generation to literally grow up in a world that did not exist when your parents and grandparents were growing up.  There was no internet, texting, googling or iPhones.  There was limited visibility and limited understanding.  Today, the pains, problems and opportunities are visible to all of us.

Class of 2020 – The opportunity to reinvent and to recreate your world and the world we all want to live in is right in front of you, right now.  You have learned over the years that no two people are the same.  You have all experienced different influences, moments and experiences in your life.  Each one of you is on your own unique journey in life.  Yet… here you are today.  Graduating together having achieved a common vision.

Class of 2020 – While this pandemic has created an awkwardness to this years (old school) graduation style ceremonies, it has not changed the fact that you are all here today celebrating a common vision.  Let me repeat that.  A "common vision".

Somewhere along the way, your purpose became doing the work you needed to do in order to graduate and be here today.  There were people in your life (teachers, parents, grandparents, guardians, coaches, mentors, etc.) who challenged you, rooted you on, and cheered your accomplishments.  Pause and think for a moment how proud and excited for you some of those people are today.

You’re the Class of 2020.  You have the power to stay together and lead all of those around you toward creating the type of world that you all want to live in and eventually the world that your kids will live in.

Class of 2020 – as you move forward, you will hear people say that happiness in life comes when you find your purpose.  Pause… and think about that.

Your purpose is not that hard to find.  When you live every day putting your unique strengths to work and making choices and taking steps that are in alignment with the world you are building for yourself and those around you… you will be living your purpose.  What we did learn this year as schools, businesses and communities shut down is the power of pausing, thinking, caring, connecting, and innovating. 

Class of 2020 – I challenge you to “Create YOUR World”.  I challenge each of you to be a great leader regardless if you are leading a team of one or a team of one-billion.  Great Leaders do not divide.  Great leaders inspire and unite those around them.

I challenge you… The Class of 2020… to be the leaders and the type humans that we all want to be.  I challenge you to remember that not everyone is privileged and to pick up, support and encourage those around you. 

Class of 2020 – You are the class that sees beyond the limitations of an individual.  You are the class that sees beyond the color of a person skin.  You are the class that is aware of all the good news, bad news, funny news, and outright crazy news going on around the world. 

You are also the class that can be patient and take the time to understand in a world that now moves faster than ever.  You are the class graduating in the middle of a pandemic.  You’re the class that is graduating in the middle of one of the most transformative moments in the history of this world and certainly our lives. 

You’re the class that is sitting on the opportunity to innovate, create and build a new world going forward.  I challenge you to enroll those around you in building the type of world that we all want to live in. 

I challenge you to move at your pace.   I challenge you to move with peace.  I challenge you not to just jump into the game of life… but to recreate your game of life. 

The world is going to continue to speed up.  I challenge you to slow down.  Take these transformative times, these crazy times and these pandemic moments to Pause… Think… Plan… and then Execute.  I challenge you to question everything and be good humans in the process.  Keep your eye on the prize.

Class of 2020 – the legacy you leave behind years from now… will be the one you get to start building tomorrow.

Congratulations!  Well Done!  We’re proud of You!

Move forward with confidence… and always remember… “Life isn’t about discovering your purpose.  Life is about living your purpose.”

Be good humans.  Stay open to what’s possible.  Look for the magic in Plan C.

You Got This!