Sitting at my niece’s high school graduation, and listening to the speeches about their potential and the wonderment that is to come for these fresh-faced, young vessels of promise. There is nothing but open road for these graduates. It is a sheer delight. 

And yet, I can’t help but wonder if the assignment of potential, wonderment, and promise to the young is why we, the old, allow ourselves to let our big dreams lay fallow. 

What if we expected of ourselves now what we expected of our younger versions?

When I graduated from high school, I was 100% certain that I would be the first female United States Senator from the Great State of Florida. (P.S. That title remains open; get with it Florida!) But then I went to college, and law school, and while I finished college right on time, I dropped out of law school early.   It simply wasn’t for me. 

But I didn’t give up on my dream. You see, I thought my dream was to become an elected official. Really, my dream was to be a lever of change to create a better world I wished to inhabit. And that, most certainly, I have done through a varied and broad career. 

It’s not different than the goals we set for ourselves. But we get stuck in achieving these goals because we get stuck in assigning progress only to titles and achievements, rather than purpose. 

I have a friend who is deep in the process of losing 100 pounds. He’s already halfway there. When I asked him how he planned to lose the next 50 pounds, he said, “That goal is too big and feels insurmountable. My goal, instead, is to work out a few minutes longer each day, climbing more stairs each time I run the stadium with you, and to eat healthier with each meal. The weight will take care of itself.”

And this is how I know he will reach his goal. He is focused on the purpose. It’s not the number on the scale. It’s his ability to move more and better. That’s at the heart of his big dream. 

So, my graduation gift to you is this: remember what is at the purpose of your efforts. Live into your big dreams, reimagine your promise, and jump feet first because wonderment awaits. 

It’s pretty rad out here.