There’s a good chance that when you read this post, 15 new students will have just finished their very first class at the Wayfinding Academy. It’s an incredible story of how a former college professor (and great friend of ours) put together a team to create a college from scratch that combats many of the current issues in higher education.
The main focus of the Wayfinding Academy is to help students discover and better understand who they are (based on their passions, skills, and interests), how they can serve our world, and determine what next steps they’ll need to live the life they want for themselves — not what others are saying they should do.
Below is a picture of the first 15 students to be a part of this new college.
Over the past year-and-a-half, Michelle and I have been fortunate to be a part of this movement to help revolutionize higher education by helping to launch this new college. But this post is not about why or how we got started with the Wayfinding Academy (you can read more about that here). This post is a letter to these 15 courageous adventurers, 15 amazing human beings that have touched my life in such a short time. As my formal time with the Wayfinding Academy ends, and their time begins, I wanted to share some thoughts and hopes with them…
We see you.
You are worthy.
You are loved.
You did it. The hardest part was to take a leap, to take the first step. And you did it. Whatever brought you to this point, wherever you have come from – whatever you have experienced -happened, and now you have arrived. There was and there still is a lot of uncertainty, yet you had the courage to follow your own heart, connected with what we stand for and believe in, and trusted us as a community to support you. Thank you.
We haven’t known each other very long but over the past couple of months you’ve been courageous and trusting with me in a way that makes me feel we’ve known each other for years.
But the truth is I might not have been as open with you.
Often times when we get into an organizational setting, we tend to naturally distinguish ourselves from each other. In a college it usually plays out that the students feel inexperienced or inadequate compared to staff and faculty. That somehow we who have been working to make this organization possible know better than you, that we have our s#%t together. But we don’t.
I’m still trying to figure out similar things that you are: what should I be doing with my life? What is success? Am I worthy? How do I overcome my fears? What are the things that are most important? How do I live my own life? How do I make our world better?
The truth is we are in this journey together.
We may know some things you do not that can help your life, but it’s important to realize that you posses the same capacity to help us.
We are in this journey together.
Thinking about what we can learn from each other and in an effort to be as open and trusting as you have been, I wanted to share with you 3 important things that have had a huge impact on my life.
Time is Limited
There are many that will try to convince you that success or the ultimate goal in life is to make more money. That somehow having more money is the key to doing the things you want do to. You can always make more money. You cannot make more time.
Time is limited.
As you walk in life so many things will compete for your time. Make sure you are doing the things that you want to do in life. In other words: spend the time on things that matter to you the most. Above all, be protective of your time. Think about where and who you would like to spend your time with. Allow for flexibility in your life to have the time to spend with those that matter to you most. Don’t forget that not only do you have a limited amount of time on this earth, but others that you love also have a limited amount. They say time is money, but in all actuality: time is life. Don’t waste time.
Strength in Community
My happiest and most fulfilled times in my life was in the presence of others in community.
Find your people, your tribe. Find the people that will both support and challenge you to be the best version of yourself. Find the people that accept you for who you want to be, who will still love you at your worst, and celebrate your best. Find your community that you can give to and be a part of as much as they give to you.
It is in community that we can make great things happen — dreams become reality. You are never alone and never have to walk alone if you are willing to be a part of community.
Be Kind to Yourself and Others
We share this world with each other and it’s important to remember to be kind to others, and – just as importantly – to ourselves. What is the kind of world you would like to live in and how can you make that possible? But being kind goes beyond an act of service or surprise and delight. Being kind is an act of humility that we don’t and can never fully understand another person. We don’t know all the things they have been through and how those things have affected them. Before we judge, before we act, before we attempt to know what others are thinking or feeling, being intentional about kindness is a reminder to think of a bigger story or reasoning that we may not have access to. This can better help us understand or serve another person.
And in the same way we need to be kind to ourselves. We will fail. We will hurt. We will think of ourselves as unworthy of success or love. But if we are kind to ourselves, we know that it’s all part of a bigger story. We will succeed. We will care. We will start to believe we are capable of success, and – more importantly – worthy of love.
Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. –John Watson
We see you.
You are worthy.
You are loved.
I’m honored to have met you and to have been a part of your journey and thankful you are part of mine. I’m excited for all the things you will learn and the things you will do in your life.
To living life on purpose,