Days of Graduation and Commencement – and Irrepressible YOU

Setting goals and making plans are important steps during any important life transition – from middle to high school, from high school to college, from college to the wide world, and then through all the changes that happen as you build your life plan and follow its winding path. As I explore ways to help you make great next steps, I hear these words again and again: grit, perseverance, determination, luck, a sense of adventure, self-reflection, risk, failure, joy, and my personal favorite – irrepressibility.

The definition of irrepressible is “full of energy and enthusiasm; impossible to hold back.” My wish for you is to tap into your irrepressible self as you make this journey and write your own story. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told a graduating class, “You get some success. You run into some walls . . . it’s how resilient you are, how irrepressible, how ultimately optimistic and tenacious you are about it that will determine your success.”

How can you tap into that positive spirit even when you are stopped, stuck, or stymied? There will be bumps in the road – and transitions always have some starts and stops. Make a plan. Include plans and activities that you can control while taking some risks by trying something new. If you are starting high school, consider which activities or clubs will build on your current interests and then get involved. If you are starting college, try new activities with new people and take courses that interest you. And if you are leaving college for the wider world, good for you! This is a really big step. Where do you want live? What do you want to do? How will you make your life the joyful adventure that you deserve?

In addition to making a plan and creating a timeline for the steps you will take, I encourage you to build your support system with people from your past and present. Stay in touch with them – and deepen the connections by sharing the good news as well as the tough parts about this time of change in your life. Take care of yourself – eat, sleep, and move toward your goals in even the smallest of steps. Pay attention to the opportunities that lie ahead – sometimes the promise of something better appears in the smallest of omens.

Congratulations on your graduation! Be irrepressible as you keep moving forward along your singular journey. Mary