Congrats to the graduating class of 2023!
As I type this, you have repositioned your tassels, removed your caps and gowns, and are now inundated with relatives, parties, questions about your future, and a bundle of nerves and excitement.
It’s a fun time and a stressful time in your life. Many of you are experiencing a wealth of mixed emotions.
Guess what—that’s ok.
Change is good, but it’s not easy, and as Albert Einstein said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
You are consumed with newness, my graduates—it’s a whole new world for you, and anyone would be nervous, it’s important you understand this.
Nerves can manifest as a mixture of excitement and stress, where you are thinking, ” Ok, now that I have this brand new diploma, what the heck will I do with it?” Whether you have a plan or not, always remember—it’s normal to be nervous—no matter how old you are.
Take Grammy award-winning singer Darius Rucker. This year, he was asked when he was last nervous going on stage?
His reply should make us all feel better.
“I still get nervous every night. If I stop getting a little nervous, I’ll stop playing.”
Everybody gets nervous and has a different path to success after graduation, so trust your path. Remember, this isn’t a race. We all figure out this period in our lives differently. Some will find success right away and make more money. It’s ok— there isn’t one right way to accomplish this. The challenge is to map out the “best” way to find happiness. Choose the one that best suits your ultimate goals, and if you don’t know what those are, take small steps until you do— keep moving forward!
Be mindful that you must work hard, trust your instincts, yet always do the right things to get closer to what makes you happy—pick a career built around your strengths and passion. Some take more time than others. Focus on yourself instead of comparing your progress to others.
You must understand you are not alone!
We all get nervous all the time, and that’s ok. Nerves mean you care!
I am in my mid-fifties, and my nerves are with me daily. When I started teaching in the past few years after spending decades as a sportscaster, a veteran professor said, “I get nervous every time I step into class.” That was therapeutic to hear, so I wanted to pass on the same therapy–it’s ok for you to feel the way you do.
You are nervous about using your degree in an area that will optimize your talents and hard work.
Your nerves tell you, I like my field, but will I like the people I will work for and with? Will this bring long-term satisfaction and happiness?
Some of you remember the nerves of choosing a college and prospective major. Remember being nervous about your future life away from home, your pending roommate, and your classes.
Guess what—everyone else feels the same way!
Tiger Woods once said, “The day I’m not nervous is the day I quit.” you thought Tiger made other people nervous?
People handle nerves in different ways. Some override it with bravado, while many others are hard on themselves, feeling they are the only ones worrying about what will happen on their first day on the job.
Often facing nerves equate to life-changing results. It’s amazing to me, looking back at my life, how the more nervous I was prepping for something in my career–the greater the satisfaction I had overcoming those feelings and gaining the confidence I needed moving forward. Those emotions are liberating and are something for all of you to look forward to.
We all get nervous. Class of 2023, you aren’t alone.
Many of the most successful people I know suffer from “imposter syndrome.” They feel that even though they’ve worked hard to advance in their respective careers, they don’t deserve their newfound success. They are nervous about living up to all of the expectations around them. They wonder if this can continue?
One of the hottest entertainers on the planet, comedian Sebastian Maniscalco recently told Conan O’Brien on his podcast that despite his success, he still has a problem relaxing, wondering if he can maintain the bar he has set for his work.
It’s normal to doubt yourself. It’s common to be fearful of your new surroundings, especially when it comes to this unique period of your life, but all you need to know is what you feel is normal, and it’s a feeling that will motivate you throughout your life.
Embrace the nerves. Use them to your advantage!
It won’t always be easy, but it’s a special time for all of you—embrace the thought of carving your niche and figuring out what is best for you. They will be memories and lessons that will last a lifetime. Looking back, you will think, why didn’t I enjoy this more—so let yourself soak in all the lessons life will pass on to you at this stage.
But remember, you are surely not alone on this special journey. Nervous is …..normal!
Nervous grads, our first stop in another lap around the Naborhood–as always, thanks for stopping by!
ATOMIC HABITS: If you haven’t bought your favorite graduate a gift, I highly recommend this inspiring book, “Atomic Habits.”
We all can use motivation, and this book delivers it. James Clear’s creation, on the surface, seems like common sense, but it does a great job of mapping out a mindset of obtaining your goals by not rushing the process—you garner big results by making a series of tiny changes in your life. It all begins with developing quality habits to get you to your desired finish line.
This New York Times bestseller combines a detailed game plan with a collection of ideas from successful and driven people and is backed up by discoveries respected scientists have made.
The heart of the book likes in Clear’s four-step model of habits–cue, craving, response, and reward and the four laws of behavior change that evolve out of these steps. These changes include the mindset that forming quality habits is a continuous process. There is no finish line. To change your behavior, you must make your goals, whatever they are (weight loss, building a business, or improving your relationships) you must make it obvious, attractive, easy, and finally satisfying. The book goes in great detail on all of the above.
Some great advice in this easy read where the theme is getting results to last is never to stop making improvements. Clear writes, “If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system.”
Atomic Habits puts in motion a set of tools and strategies to push you in the right direction where one of my favorite mantras lies in your approach to changing your daily habits. Think about changing your “I have to’s” into “I get to’s.”
It’s all about channeling the right mindset.
MICHAEL J. FOX DOC: I highly recommend that book and this documentary, “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie,” now streaming on Apple TV. Many in this generation don’t remember the talents of this unique actor, and that’s a true shame, but this doc shows how Fox has dealt with his series of setbacks, which has been as impressive as the many performances he’s given us over the years. This closeup looks at this actor’s life and delivers a melting pot of emotions: sadness, inspiration, happiness, and maybe most of all, gratitude. His marriage remains strong, and Fox gains strength with a family foundation that surrounds him with love.
Amazingly Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when he was 29 in 1991. He is now 61. In between, Fox has fought through the disease to produce award-winning work but also battled alcoholism and spinal surgery to remove a tumor separate from Parkinson’s. Still, the disease has taken its toll, and he’s suffered several broken bones, which has deprived him of his balance.
The film revealed the remarkable difference in Fox from 2016 to now, but he remains an inspiration where he hasn’t lost his sense of humor and continues to raise millions of dollars to battle a disease he’s battled for decades.
I thought the filmmakers did a great job of letting us hear his story but complemented it with clips from some of the best moments from his movies and TV shows. I can’t imagine how long that must have taken to put together.
Growing up in Canada, it was inspiring to see how much Fox’s family supported his talents, where his Dad drove him to Hollywood to seek his dreams. He paid his dues until catching his first big break on Family Ties, where he amazingly shot his role as Marty McFly in Back To The Future simultaneously. Remembering what a big star he was in the eighties and nineties left me wondering how much work Parkinson’s deprived him of realizing. Still, at the same time, it was incredible to see Fox appreciating everything he was able to accomplish, too—-a great lesson for all of us.
NOBODY ASKED ME, BUT: Once in a while, you will see a sports story that reminds you why you love sports so much. Recently it happened at the PGA Championship. Say what you want about golf and all the LIV vs PGA tour banter and the lack of personality from both the sport and its players, but what makes it special is that the competitors can qualify in several ways. What other sport can you have a long-shot athlete take a shot with the pros….guys like Michael Block.
Enter longtime club pro who is the definition of a grinder. Block played golf at both Mississippi State and the University of Missouri before getting his degree at the San Diego Golf Academy. Block has been both an assistant and head golf pro since 1998. He’s more accomplished than most golf pros, having competed in 25 PGA events, making the cut in four of them, but never had a weekend like he recently did in Rochester, New York, at the recent PGA Championship.
Block made the tournament the last available sponsor exemption, where before that finished tied for second at the 2023 PGA Professional Championship. Yes, he barely made it to his fifth PGA Championship but made this one count—where he hit the best golf shot I’ve ever seen—an ace on the par three 17th hole. It wasn’t just an ace. Block’s ball landed out of thin air directly in the hole from 151 yards away, incredible.
It was that kind of weekend for Block, who was in contention for most of the tourney until finishing tied for 15th. He would receive a check for 288,333 dollars and now is getting offers in the neighborhood of 50,00 for his famed seven iron from his hole-in-one shot. Block’s previous biggest golf tourney payday was $75,000 at the 2014 Club Professional National Championship at the Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach. Before that, it was $4,500 at the California State Open in 2011.
The money was great for Block, but the memories will be priceless. I love how he remained humble and appreciated every step of his dream weekend, saying in an interview the next day how great so many people yelled “Block Party” as he went to his car after the tournament.
Sports needs more “Block parties” in the future, they don’t come often, but I appreciate it when they do
EXTRA POINT: How good are my Tampa Bay Rays—they can pitch, hit, defend “and” steal bases. It will be interesting to see if they can maintain this crazy pace, it will be a fun summer!
UNTIL NEXT BLOG,
PHOTO CREDITS: Awards4U, Tampa Bay Times, NJ.com, Sports Illustrated, The Sports Daily, and the Sporting News