It’s graduation season and commencement speeches are in full swing on YouTube.
I love watching them. It makes me nostalgic – the graduation parties, the excitement and anxiety about the future, even the hangover headache that accompanied me to the commencement ceremony. As I watch these great speeches, I feel the hopefulness of being young and I get re-inspired.
This year when I noticed that one of my favorite actors had given a commencement speech I was excited and curious to hear what he had to say.
You’ve heard me talk about the movie Horrible Bosses before. The main reason I love this movie so much is because of the actor Charlie Day; he’s also one of the guys who created It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, one of my favorite shows. It’s edgy, inappropriate and hilarious!
Charlie’s speech has gone viral. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can check it out here.
Needless to say, I was far from disappointed with his speech. While he’s obviously funny, he’s also charming, articulate and inspiring.
So, I’ve put together Cliff’s Notes of Charlie’s speech for you in the hopes it will inspire you as it did me. Because I fully agree with him on all of these points, I feel compelled to pass them on.
1. Having a Plan B can muddy your Plan A
A safety net can make you feel better but it can also keep you from making the decisions that’ll lead you to greatness. If you’re going to fail, do it in a place where you’d be proud to fail.
Charlie talks about how he turned down a “safe” job offer right out of college to take a chance on being an actor in New York. The safe banking job would’ve been less of a risk but it would’ve taken him further from what he was meant to do.
Take risks but in the right direction.
Taking or staying in a “safe” job is risky because it may keep you from doing what makes you great. Take a risk in the direction you want to go, even if it sets you back in the short term.
2. Don’t wait for your break, make your break
This is about making opportunities instead of waiting for them to be handed to you.
Charlie shares a story about an opportunity he had to act in a network sitcom and how he turned it down to create his own show which was far riskier. The sitcom was cancelled after 1 season. His show is on track to be the longest running comedy in history.
He created opportunities to write, act and produce his own show that were far better than those coming to him. Were they riskier, yes. Were they worth it, yes.
Make a bet on yourself.
In the work I do now, my clients face this all the time. Many times new jobs and opportunities aren’t out there waiting to be found but need to be created. We have to take action in order for them to reveal themselves.
Or as I did when I went out on my own, we have to make them happen in order for them to exist at all.
3. You don’t have to be fearless but don’t let fear stop you
Once he accepted the offer to give a commencement speech, Charlie immediately felt afraid. The fear led to comparison and anxiety and it almost stopped him from doing it all together.
He says, “You cannot succeed without this risk of failure. You cannot have a voice without this risk of criticism and you cannot love without the risk of loss.”
We must take these risks. Everything he’s proud of has been a terrifying risk. I couldn’t agree more.
Feel the fear. Acknowledge it, instead of pretending it’s not there. And then decide to move forward. It’s hard to do but it must be done.
4. Don’t do what makes you happy. Do what makes you great.
Doing what makes you great will usually be uncomfortable, scary, and hard. Be willing to fail. Do it in the way that’ll make you proud.
Fail and then pick yourself up and fail again. Without struggle, what’s the point?
I already loved Charlie Day- his hilarious voice, his facial expressions, his characters. Now I love him even more.
I hope even one of these points lights a fire in you. It sure lights one in me.
What about you: which of his points inspires you the most? What’s your best advice for living your greatness?
And if this article “does it for you” at all, I’d love for you to share, like, or tweet it!