People who know me, know I am a huge baseball fan. I’ve been to about 20 MLB stadiums across the country, and won’t stop until I’ve watched a game in all 30 stadiums. So imagine my excitement when I learned I was going to have the privilege of sitting along the third base line inside Yankee Stadium. And believe it or not, I was even more excited that there was something other than a baseball game taking place.
Instead of watching the Bronx Bombers compete on the ball diamond, I had the honor of watching my son and about 10,000 other college graduates from New York University transition from dreamers to doers. It was incredibly inspiring to look around at the enthusiasm and expectation on the faces of these future entrepreneurs and world changers.
Pharrell Williams, as the commencement speaker, challenged the NYU millennial graduates to continue and face the world head on and accept the mission to improve social justice and all the innovation happening in the creative world. His emphasis, however, was to call for better equality for women.
As I listened to his words, I watched the faces of the graduates as they allowed this musical genius to push them to do more social good. I found myself hoping his words were also being heard and internalized by the parents of these graduates, the baby-boomers and Gen X’ers of the world who are often the first to knock millennials for their perceived lack of dedication and commitment. Pharrell rightly gave credit and appreciation for what this young generation has accomplished, and pushed them to accomplish more.
“Your generation is unraveling deeply entrenched laws, principals, and misguided values that have held women back for far too long and, therefore, have held us all back.” he said. “Imagine the possibilities when women are not held back. The world that you will live in that will be a lot better. This is the first generation that navigates with the security and confidence to treat women as equals.”
Pharrell encouraged these young graduates to Dare Mighty Things. To find the courage and strength to raise their voice and be heard, as they work to make a positive impact on our planet. “The days of being anonymous activists or participants are over. How can we inspire if we are behind the scenes?” he asked the 2017 graduating students.
As those words sunk in, I thought of my youngest son, who at that moment was draped in a purple gown and traditional mortar board. I thought of what roads were available to him and all the possible options he has to choose from. And I thought of the hundreds of thousands of twenty-somethings graduating from colleges all across the country. If these grads are like Harrison, they have big dreams and visions of where they see themselves in 5 or 10 years.
For Harrison, I was honored to give him a copy of a book I just wrote for him and his older brother. This new ‘Field Guide’ was written with the single purpose of helping young entrepreneurs find their own path to success. It shares seven common personas that I discovered successful entrepreneurs used to find success on their individual journey.
My goal is to put this book in the backpack of as many millennial entrepreneurs as I can find. If I could have, I would have personally handed one book to every single graduate at Yankee Stadium. This is one reason why I created “Project DMT”, a way to donate a book to these young world-changers. Over the next few months I’m going to come into contact with thousands of these entrepreneurs at events across the country and I’d love nothing more than the ability to hand each of them a free book.