Risk, Care, Dream, Expect

Last night I gave the commencement speech for the Fall 2009 graduates at Chippewa Valley Technical College. The thoughts I shared with them are applicable to everyone. It revolved around a quote from Claude Bissel.

RISK – More than others think is safe
CARE – More than others think is wise
DREAM – More than others think is practical
EXPECT – More than others think is possible

By getting out of your comfort zone a little bit, it helps you grow personally and professionally. Each time you do that, it does two things for your life.

  • First, it helps you notice your life more as you “feel” the discomfort (last night it was the butterflies in my stomach).
  • Second, it helps you realize that the task can be done – which help you to expand your comfort zone and grow your abilities. You will probably do fine. You may mess up. In either case, it expands what you have learned before.

If you risk more than others think is safe, you experience growth, you will become more valuable to your employer, may get bigger raises and promotions and may even choose to do like me and become your own boss. Remember that it is also a risk to ask for help when you need it – and critical to a successful future.

Care – more than others think is wise
More than anything else, the time spent with people that you care about that will matter to you when you are sitting in your retirement easy chair. It is not the day-to-day successes that matter in the end, but rather the quality of the relationships you share with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers that will define how happy you are with your life. As you take your life journey, take the time to nurture the relationships in your life.

Dream – More than others think is practical
When I started my first company, I dreamed of selling our product around the world with millions in sales. I turned those dreams into goals for my business plan. The experts who reviewed the plan figured the goals were “pie in the sky”, and unattainable. The reality was that all of my goals were surpassed with partners around the world, and I believe it was by having a big goal to reach for that I found success.
Life will consistently offer you small opportunities to take if you want to. Each opportunity that you take builds on your previous experiences. Having big dreams helps you to see the opportunities that may fit with your goals. Remember to take a risk when you see them come along.

Expect – more than others think is possible
In my case, my dreams became expectations by writing them down as goals, both professional and personal.
If you take a few minutes to write down some things that you expect to see in 5, 10 and 20 years and look at it once a month, you will be amazed at how fast you will get there.