Across the country each spring thousands of graduation events are held

Across the country each spring thousands of graduation events are held. They are celebrations of accomplishments, the reaching of goals and more.

Interestingly, these events traditionally are called two different names as if they were synonyms: Commencement and Graduation.

As will be pointed out by countless speakers at these events, graduates need to think of this as a time of “commencement” – of a beginning – rather than an ending, culmination or graduation. Each of these speakers will be correct, of course, but I believe this wisdom falls short of being truly helpful or instructive.

The reason it falls short is because the speakers typically are talking about the moment or the event. While the difference in insight matters at the event, the real significance comes for the honorees after the event, based on the choices they make.

Graduates have made choices, consciously or not. And because of those choices…

Graduates have completed.

Graduates have succeeded.

Graduates have reached their goal.

Graduates have expertise.

Graduates have “climbed the mountain”, “reached the summit” and “grabbed the brass ring”.

Graduates are done.

Commencers have made choices too, but they are almost assuredly conscious. And because of those choices…

Commencers are beginning.

Commencers see a bright future.

Commencers have bigger goals in front of them.

Commencers are learners.

Commencers know that based on past experience they can continue to learn, grow and achieve more.

Commencers are just getting started.

The decisions made by these people are decisions that we all can make everyday – even if we haven`t put on a cap and gown in 40+ years (or if we never did).

When we decide consciously to be a commencer, we immediately change our results and the trajectory of our lives.

Here are five decisions that will change you from a graduate to a commencer, and the questions you can ask yourself to help you consciously make the decision:

Decide to be a beginner. Ask yourself: “Do I think I have the answers or am I a curious question asker?”

Decide to dream bigger. Ask yourself: “What do I really want to achieve, and what can I do today to move towards that accomplishment?”

Decide to be a leader. Ask yourself: “How can I make a difference in the world around me?”

Decide to be a learner. Ask yourself: “What can I learn today?”

Decide to enjoy the journey. Ask yourself: “What did I love about today, and what`s next?”

Regardless of your stage in life and regardless of your past choices, I urge you to consider these choices. Choosing the path of a commencer will change your life and your world for the better, forever.

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