The end of the school year is upon us, and if you have children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews, you likely know someone graduating. This last weekend I had the privilege of watching my youngest walk across the stage to accept her college diploma. Sitting outside in the bleachers on a beautiful, albeit a bit cold, May afternoon, I thought about how incredibly grateful I felt to be here witnessing this in-person event with hundreds of other family members.

How often over the years had I sat in the bleachers of school events, choir concerts, theater productions, and basketball games in crowded arenas and not given it another thought? Too many times to count. How fabulous it is to see the world beginning to open again.

President of Gonzaga University Dr. McCulloh, gave the commencement address and said to the young graduates, “You made it.” He suggested the students picture themselves at 80 years old, when their grandchildren or great grandchildren would ask them, ‘What was it like to live in the great pandemic of 2020?’

Dr. McCulloh talked about how none of them (or any of us for that matter) could have anticipated the challenge of the last year and a half and that the accomplishment of their degrees was truly something to celebrate. The students had faced fear, loss, uncertainty, and yet they had persevered. They had made it, indeed.

You and I have made it too.

You made it. You have faced fear, loss, and uncertainty. And just like these young graduates you have been forever changed by this time, and it has prepared you. It has prepared you for takeoff in new ways. You can use the lessons you have learned to go forward and impact the world in a positive way.

If you find yourself in a time of transition, here are 7 ways to prepare for a successful takeoff to your next adventure:

  1. Celebrate! In this hurried world there is a push to move on to the next thing. Stop for a moment and look at all you have accomplished in the journey so far and celebrate. This is not a selfish act – you deserve it. So, go ahead and relish in it!
  2. Reflect. Look over this period in your life and reflect on your highest highs and your lowest lows. What you have learned about yourself is an important lesson you can use for the future.
  3. Thank. There are likely countless people who have helped you get here. Who have been your biggest supporters – those family members, friends, or teachers that have lifted you up, or given you a kick in the butt when you needed it most?
  4. Purge. Say goodbye to what you no longer need. This can be hard but is a necessary step to moving forward. You must let go of what is done to give yourself fully to your new adventures ahead.
  5. Nurture. Times of transition are bittersweet. Realize and embrace the various emotions you may be feeling of joy, sadness, or fear. Remember to take good care of yourself with healthy eating, exercise, and sleep.
  6. Dream. Get excited about the dreams that are bubbling up inside you. What passions have been stirred? You have special gifts and talents, and a unique calling to give to the world. 
  7. Commit. Take the lessons you have learned, the skills and experience you have gained and commit to your future. Boldly envision what your best life looks like and make your plan toward that vision.

To the graduates and business leaders: Your journey so far has taught you. Use your wisdom and go from wherever you are now to live a life of significance and make the world a better place. 

Fasten your seatbelts, it’s time for takeoff!


  • Janelle Bruland

    Entrepreneur, Leadership Coach, Author, Speaker, Podcast Host, & Co-Founder of Legacy Leader

    Janelle Bruland is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and high-performance coach who inspires others to live impactful and successful lives. She is Founder and CEO of Management Services Northwest, a company she started in her living room in 1995 and has grown into an industry leading company, named one of the Fastest Growing Private Companies by Inc. magazine. The CPO of Microsoft, Mike Simms, describes her as a true pioneer in her field. Janelle is also the Co-Founder of Legacy Leader, a leadership development company that teaches business professionals how to build a legacy, transform their leadership, and love their life. She is the author of The Success Lie: 5 Simple Truths to Overcome Overwhelm and Achieve Peace of Mind.
    Janelle is a lifelong resident of Whatcom County, Washington and is married with five children. In her leisure time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, golf, as well as keeping fit through various sports and activities.