Graduates, this is your time

I’d like to dedicate this time and space to the Class of 2022. Whether you’ve just graduated from high school or college, your accomplishment is to be commended. Congratulations!
In the Netflix documentary, “The Movies That Made Us,” in the episode about the movie “Back to the Future,” screenwriter Bob Gale has this to say as he reflects on making the movie: “Time is the only thing money can’t buy. And it can’t be replaced in any way. Time only goes one way so far, and we never get it back. You never know what the future will bring.”
That time has been on your side and has brought you this far is a blessing. For that, you can be thankful. But the question that lingers that you need to ponder is what will you do with the time – the hours, days, weeks, months, and years that are before you? How will you use this time that is on loan to you?
I’d like to offer up a few suggestions and words of advice for you to consider. And my hope is that you will find a path forward with a purpose that makes wise use of your time.
Serve causes greater than yourself
One of the first lessons leaders have to learn and perhaps the hardest is that it’s not about you. 
You live in a world that in many ways is broken, hurting, and divided. Use your time to serve people and causes greater than you so that when your days are over you can look back and say that you may not have changed the world but you helped change your world and you left it better than you found it.
Don’t be afraid to fail 
The greatest accomplishments in your life more often than not are realized on the other side of failure. At an early age Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for “lacking ideas,” Albert Einstein had the label “mentally slow” put on his permanent school record, and Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. No one looks at these individuals as failures, but rather they are remembered for their outstanding accomplishments.
Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” In life we come to expect failure. It will be a great teacher for you. The only thing that makes you a failure is after you get knocked down you don’t get back up. In life, learn to fail forward and you will be just fine.
Don’t let anyone define your worth or put a lid on your goals and dreams
Your purpose and destiny in life are just that – yours. And you must not allow anyone – especially your critics – to define your worth and dim the light of your dreams. You have not been placed on this earth by accident and you have a destiny to fulfill.  
Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly
As you embark on this new journey and season in your life, many will be looking at you. Some with a dose of skepticism and others with optimism. This is your time to step up – but not with arrogance or pride.
This is your opportunity to act justly – be a model to those around you by the way that you serve a broken world. It’s your time to step up and love mercy and show mercy to a world that can be so cruel. And finally, walk humbly (remember, it’s not about you). 
Final Thoughts
None of us are promised tomorrow. We only have the time that we have been gifted each day to make a difference and change our world. My prayer for you, the Class of 2022, is that you will serve each day to the best of your God-given abilities and be a force for good.
©2022 Doug Dickerson
Doug Dickerson is a certified leadership speaker, trainer, and coach. Learn more at

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