Women Who Inspire Me – Maria Shriver
What was your most important take away from your college commencement speech? Hopefully you’re not like me because I don’t remember anything. No great advice. No words of wisdom to empower my future life decisions.
Maybe I was just too nervous about walking up to the stage to get my diploma to pay attention. Maybe I wasn’t really listening because I was ready to move on. Move on from college into the next chapter of my life.
Recently, I heard Maria Shriver’s commencement speech for the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication. Delivered on May 11, 2012. Maria’s message: The Power of the Pause. Maria recalled her own college graduation as a time of uncertainty for her. She didn’t have a job and wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. No matter how many successes she had in life she was always asked the same question “What are you gonna do next”? There was no time to savor life’s important moments – her college graduation, her engagement, her wedding day, the birth of her first child, the publishing of her first book. It was always about what comes next. Instead of relishing the joy of what’s happening now.
So Maria gave the Annenberg graduates a real gift. She gave them the Power of the Pause. Maria gave them permission to take the time to figure out what was important. She also emphasized how important it is to hit the pause button before making a decision that could hurt them or someone else.
As I listened to Maria’s message, I took a few moments to reflect back on my own college graduation.
How prepared was I to face the reality of life? Would hearing a speech like that have mad a difference. Or do we all eventually graduate from the school of hard knocks. Learn our life lessons from real experiences.
Being given the permission to hit the pause button would have been helpful then. I was a college graduate with a marketing degree and no real clue about life in the working world.
Perhaps timing is everything because today “Hit the Pause Button” is still great advise. There will always be times when we need to slow down, approach a problem from a different angle. Listen to the inner voice that knows us so well. As Maria reminds us, many of the great leaders in our world have implemented the Power of Pause.
Jesus fasted in the desert. Henry David Thoreau went to Walden Pond. Ann Morrow Lindberg went to the sea. Buddha, Gandhi, Mother Teresa – all withdrew from active lives to journey within themselves. The wisdom they garnered there and shared with us has impacted the world.
Remember the next time you’re overwhelmed and bombarded with the question “What are you gonna do next”? you too can get relief by hitting the pause button. This is the only time you will experience this moment in time. So why not allow yourself to Focus on Now, Not what’s next…