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Friday, June 19, 2009

Translating Commencement Addresses

The last few days I have been running into commencement addresses at every turn. (That was literally true this past weekend in Hanover New Hampshire, but I’ll save that story for another time. If they got my license plate, my children will probably not be accepted at Dartmouth.) After reading a few excerpts, I have decided that commencement addresses are a great source of wisdom on living your call. Here are a few examples, with a call connection for each:

Kimberly Dozier, CBS New correspondent: “You chose a Wellesley grad who spent the first decade of her career broke, begging for freelance work…who eventually ended up with a really great job, doing exactly what she wanted to do, exactly where she wanted to do it: in the Middle East. And she got hit by a car bomb; they nearly took her legs off….
Call Connection: Following call is a lifelong process, and once you find the right thing, it is no guarantee that it will be easy.

Larry Page, (Co-founder of Google): “When a really great dream shows up, grab it.” (University of Michigan)
Call Connection: Pay attention to your dreams and other ways that your unconscious is trying to get your attention.

Laura Linney, Actress: “Remember that no matter which art you practice, there is no more valuable skill than the ability to listen carefully.” (The Julliard School)
Call Connection: Listen—to music, to your life, to God.

Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts: “I can’t think of a time when I didn’t love to read.” (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Call Connection: There are clues to a call embedded in your early life.

Oprah Winfrey, Talk Show Host: “But you really haven’t completed the circle of success unless you can help somebody else move forward.” (Duke University)
Call Connection: Call isn’t just about you. It is about making the world better for others.

Barak Obama, President of the United States: “Did you study business? Go start a company. Or why not help our struggling non-profits find better, more effective ways to serve folks in need. Did you study nursing? Understaffed clinics and hospitals across this country are desperate for your help. Did you study education? Teach in a high-need school where the kids really need you; give a chance to kids who can't—who can't get everything they need maybe in their neighborhood, maybe not even in their home. Did you study engineering? Help us lead a green revolution—developing new sources of clean energy that will power our economy and preserve our planet.” (Arizona State)
Call Connection: Any gifts can be used for the good of God’s world.

Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International: “Sometimes you just have to jump off the cliff without knowing where you will land.” (Rice University)
Call Connection: Sometimes you just have to jump off the cliff without knowing where you will land.

Let me know if you heard a good commencement speech this spring with a call connection. Congratulations Class of 2009!

1 comment:

  1. For all her humor, Ellen Degeneres' commencement speech at Tulane this year spoke strongly to being true to oneself and following your own path.