“Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” Arthur Ashe

Time seems brief when we compare some of our most cherished events to the journey required to get to these special moments. Our oldest granddaughter’s graduation from college is a great example. For Gabrielle, this commencement at Auburn University in north Alabama represents the end of a four-year voyage and the beginning of the rest of her life. This is a joyous celebration! My wife Carol and I, joined by other family members, await the convocation to begin –each of us eager to hear Gabrielle’s name called as she glides across the stage to receive her diploma. At this momentous occasion, my age flashes across my mind.  In the fourth quarter of my life I am extremely thankful to witness this historical event, however fleeting the moment.

What do you say to your oldest grandchild at such an occasion? Common expressions of ‘Congratulations’ and ‘I am so proud of you’ is repeated by friends and family members numerous times today. Her five siblings’ conversation is entertaining, a combination of good natured joking as well as some sincere praise for a job well done.

She graduates with a degree in Interior Design, which represents one of the most challenging schools in college today – a fact that Gabrielle has reminded me regularly over the last four years. But, here we are. It is finished. Or, is it?

What next? Is this not Gabrielle’s question to ponder and answer? As might be expected, parents, as well as grandparents, channel many of the conversations about the future back to this big question. Even friends ask the obvious. What next? It is the logical inquiry. After all the financial investment, we can completely understand the parents’ desire to hear the answer to this question – sooner rather than later. From the outside, it is easy to look at the looming questions that demand answers. Because. . . it is much easier than looking inward at the same questions life poses of us.

Gabrielle’s question is mine. And yours. ‘What is next’? We made it to this point despite the challenges. It has not always been easy. But, we made it. But, what next? Just when I was getting ready to relax, here comes that life-long question.

‘What next’ is not about getting up and going to work. Or what to do on a day of fun and relaxation. Or what to eat at the next meal. We are always deciding these elements of daily life.  ‘What next’ is about the deepest subjects of life. What about that major goal I always wanted to accomplish? What about my dreams? What about intuition – that gut instinct? What about that relationship that needs to be healed or resolved? What about those items on my bucket list?

What do I want to be when I grow up? When shall I begin?

My answer to many of life’s important questions represent a work in progress. Perhaps some disappointment at this juncture is understandable, but the cold hard fact is that I still have work to do. Maybe, a lot more. And, in the fourth quarter, one has to ask if there is enough time. Another one of those difficult questions. Do you still have time? When shall you start?

So, I sit down and compose my letter to Gabrielle. As you can already comprehend, it is impossible to write this letter to my oldest grandchild without pondering my own journey. What I hope for her is what I hope for myself. It is what I hope for you, also.

Below is my letter to Gabrielle reconstructed as a letter to you, my newsletter fans.  And yes, to me. What is missing is some of my personal sentences.

Dear Mondays are Great Reader,

Wow! Congratulations. A lot of hard work and many dedicated hours have gone into your accomplishments. You are arriving at the end of one journey and beginning a new one. Your education is not over but has just begun. Every Monday, you are in my thoughts. My hope is that you will discover and implement the age-old wisdom of timeless principles.

In the next few years, you will make some major decisions that will affect your future. The habits you form now will become your personal success foundation for decades. The path you carve during the months ahead will determine many of your future destinations.  Our greatest dreams in life often start with a tiny step. Where will you start?

Loaded with much potential and armed with substantial intelligence, you begin.

Which of the following proven daily success habits will become part of your journey?

  • Keep a journal
  • Maintain a positive attitude
  • Pray often
  • Practice a daily success formula. Find what works and repeat it daily
  • Hang around successful people
  • Be passionate
  • Be a team player. Be a centerfielder. Discover centerfielders
  • Never, never, never quit. Get up when knocked down
  • Do what you love and are good at doing
  • Rest regularly
  • Have a student mindset. Read daily. Listen
  • Love and be loved
  • Have fun. Laugh often
  • Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly
  • Always do the right thing. Have integrity
  • Be grateful and generous

I believe in you!

My best always,

Rob Hackbarth

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