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Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) graduation speech

 

(excerpt only)

 

I want to start by acknowledging our MC this evening. David, for me personally, it’s really fitting that you would be the MC tonight. It’s like you’ve book-ended my time here. I say that because your graduation was my first YPO event. It had a huge impact on me. I sat there in the audience listening to you deliver your entire speech from memory and I thought holy crap, I have to do that in 5 years.

 

It was super impressive. I decided then and there that I would make sure to have a killer anecdote in my back pocket, a go-to story I could use if I got stage fright and froze like a deer in the headlights. I’m holding out hope that I won’t have to use it. But I do have one. And it’s pretty good. If you guys are still awake when I get to the end, maybe I’ll tell it.

 

Now David, besides your mic-drop-worthy delivery, I also remember the substance of what you said that night. Your words had the effect of opening me up to the possibilities. You set the stage for me to make the most of my time here. I remember feeling a sense of willingness and excitement about what was to come for me. And then, to my surprise, I was assigned to Golf Forum, your old forum. And now, five years later, here I am, hoping I can impart a bit of the same wisdom on the folks in the room, so that each of you can really make the most of your time in YPO and in life.

If you’re in your thirties or early forties, you’re already way smarter than I was, because you’re already here. I joined when I was already forty-five. Looking back at some of the decisions I made before I joined YPO, I can easily point to several things I know I would have done differently if I’d been part of this forum. Not just done differently, but done better. Done right. Fortunately, it’s never too late to be your best self, so even though I joined late, I gained a ton.

(end of excerpt)