Around this time of the year, it’s become a common sight to see commencement speeches from high school and university graduation ceremonies being shared on leadership sites as inspiration on how we can better serve those we lead.
The popularity of these kinds of speeches in leadership circles is not too surprising when we consider how the very nature of the commencement speech is to draw attention to the lessons learned and how they can be applied going forward to create a future filled with purpose, meaning, and joy.
Indeed, this speaks to the very heart of what it takes to be a successful leader, as leadership is not just about getting results, but finding ways to inspire those you lead to be better [Share on Twitter].
That’s why I’m taking this opportunity to share the commencement speech I gave this past weekend at the high school where I serve as Governing Board Chairman, a speech that was also a very personal one as my daughter Alya was among the hundreds of graduates whose achievements we were there to celebrate.
As someone who writes, speaks and works with leaders to help them better understand what it takes bring out the best in those they lead, it was a genuine privilege to be able to inspire this group of newly minted graduates about what they can achieve going forward.
It was a privilege to deliver this speech because as leaders, we have an obligation to inspire passion and excitement for what the future might hold [Share on Twitter]; for what those we lead can do, for what they can become, and how they can live a life that matters.
Indeed, it was my hope that in sharing this message to this new generation of leaders, inventors, team players, and game-changers that they would appreciate that optimism is not the absence of negativity, but the ability to rise above despite it [Share on Twitter], a message that unfortunately bears repeating in light of the numerous challenges dogging our world today.
Amid all the wonderful comments I received from the students, staff, and parents in attendance at this weekend’s graduation ceremony, there was one comment which I got from one of the many proud mothers in attendance that compelled me to share my speech with my readers.
When this mother approached me after the ceremony, she thanked me for speaking to the students; of making my message be about them and their future. And then she paused for a moment and then added “thanks also for inspiring the rest of us and reminding us of what we could do as well”.
This mother’s comment illustrates an important point that every leader should remember; that it’s not enough to talk of a better tomorrow; we need to inspire people to want to make it happen [Share on Twitter].
That’s why I wanted to share this commencement speech here on my blog – as a reminder of this simple truth; that when we help others to succeed, we help ourselves to become that better version of who we can be [Share on Twitter].
I hope you enjoy it and find within it the seeds of inspiration and hope that we can do better and be better going forward.