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5th Grade Graduation Speech at P.S. 329 in Brooklyn, New York

Thank you Miss Dawson, teachers, and parents for giving me the opportunity to address your bright children today. If you don't mind, I would like to turn the podium to address them.

There were two students from the same neighborhood who went to the same elementary school, P.S. 329, also known as Surfside School in Brooklyn, New York.

One student's name was Alex. Alex was a straight A student. He excelled in every subject. Alex did exactly what he was told to do. He goes home to do his homework after school. Alex only dreams at night.

The other student's name was Francis. Francis was a crooked F student—they say it is impossible to get all Fs and be straight. Francis didn't like any subject AT SCHOOL though she liked learning and as a result she was often caught daydreaming. She was really passionate about art and would get in trouble for doodling on her desk. After school she would walk the streets looking for murals and graffiti. Her homework incomplete.

Who would you rather be? Alexis or Francis?

Fast-forward a few years to high school. Finally...electives. Francis gets to take an art class and her passion for learning starts to show. She gets her first A. Alex the A student is taking biology for the first time and he is struggling. He is afraid to ask for help because he has never had to ask for it before. He associates asking for help with being dumb instead of courageous, so he continues to fail and gets his first F.

Francis can't wait to show her parents her report card. No murals today. When she shows it to them with a big smile on her face, all they see are the Fs. Her parents immediately withdraw her from her art class and instead she is given a study hall period to bring up her Fs.

Alex's parents know when his report cards come so they ask about it even though he tries to hide it. Despite 5 As in his other classes, all they see is the F. He is taken out of P.E. and given the same study hall period that Francis has so that he can focus on bringing up his F.

Who would you rather be? Alexis or Francis?

You the long run, Francis and Alex end up in the exact same place. Alex was a hard worker. That's would got him straight As. But despite his good grades, Alex's true intelligence was never challenged. For the most part, school was a walk in the park for him, but he needed someone to push him to run or better yet fly. It's not until you push someone to their limits that they realize that they are limitless.

Despite getting crooked Fs, Francis is extremely smart. It's just that her creative energy was never channeled. She was lead to believe that her creativity isn't valuable when in fact, creativity and innovation is what keeps our economy's what keeps her alive.

In reality, Alex doesn't like school just as much as Francis doesn't like school—he could fake the funk but she couldn't. Where Francis has a leg up on Alex is that she knows what she was passionate about...what makes her tick...what she loves to do at an early age. Everyone is encouraging Alex to be a teacher, doctor, lawyer, or accounting because he's "smart", but nobody is encouraging Francis to be an artist.

Why not?

Graduates! Our parents grew up in a world where being well-rounded was the thing to be. Be a well-rounded student and be a well-rounded citizen. But the world has changed. Whereas our parents were only competing against the person sitting next to them in their classroom, you are competing against everyone your age across the entire world from India to China and Europe. This leveling of the playing field is called globalization, which is a hard concept to understand if you have yet to travel outside of New York or the United States. In today's world, a 4.0 isn't even enough on its own. And passion isn't enough on its own either. Success requires hard work AND passion.

In addition to globalization, the internet has changed the way we live and learn. In our parents' know B.C...before cable, it was possible to be an expert at multiple things. But today, information is expanding so rapidly that it's hard to stay ahead on more than one or two subjects and since everyone has access to same information at the same time, nobody has an advantage. It used to be that if you had an Encyclopedia Britannica set at home, you were ahead of your peers, but now with the internet and Wikipedia, the playing field is flat...and packed.

Whether you happen to love a school subject or a subject NOT taught at school, the way to win in the 21st century is be your best. They say that to become the best in the world at be an should consider the 10,000 hour rule. The 10,000 hour rule suggest that you need to practice whatever it is that you want to be great at for 10,000 hours before achieving expertise. 10,000 hours equals 20 hours per week 50 weeks per year for 10 years. That's equivalent to studying one subject from kindergarten to today every day, so you better start as in this least 3 hours per day 7 days per week.

Speaking of 10 years...10 years from now Francis and Alex will be graduating from college. They will be 22 years old. Imagine who 12 year-old Francis could become if she could bring up her other grades just enough to get her parents support of her art so that should could CHANNEL her passion into her art during and after school and begin chipping away at her 10,000 hours. Imagine who 12-year-old Alex could become if he could combine his academic excellence with a passion that CHALLENGED him.

In elementary school, A stands for ahead or excellent, but in on the global playing field an A here could stand for average elsewhere. Sometimes when we try to be great at everything...the jack-of-all-trades...we master none. Alex understands hard work, but imagine if he focused his energy on something he genuinely loved to do so he could experience his inner excellence.

In elementary school, F stands for failure, but in life it can mean fearless. Fear of failure is the #1 inhibitor of dreams. They say if you haven't failed, then you aren't dreaming big enough.
Francis understands failure well—she's been doing it all of her life. And she also understands her passions. Imagine if she could pursue her passions fearlessly.

We each have a little bit of Alex and Francis inside of us....parents and teachers included. To succeed in life we need Alex's work ethic and self-discipline and we also need Francis creativity and passion. Greatness is inside of each of you like the tree inside every seed. If you've ever looked at a package of seeds, it never just says SEEDS. They are always named by the tree they are destined to become. Before me, I see more than just 5th graders...more than just a bunch of seeds—I see an amazing amazon forest of unlimited potential and endless possibilities.

Follow your passions and seek excellence at anything you do and I guarantee that you'll keep growing up.

Congratulations to the college class of 2020!

College is a 4 year stepping stone for a 40 year career. But today, a college degree doesn't guarantee anyone a job. Students are graduating with expensive pieces of paper—either unemployed or underemployed.

Results from NACE’s Student Survey show that less than 20 percent of 2009 grads who have applied for a job actually have one in hand. In comparison, more than half of 2007 grads and 26 percent of those graduating in 2008 who had applied for jobs had one by time of graduation. Of the students who did land jobs, 73 percent had completed an internship at some point in their college careers.

In today's economy, a 4.0 is not enough—students coming out of college have to be exceptional. Academic excellence is the minimum. If I was in college today knowing what I know now, here are 66 ways I would maximize my college experience in addition to getting good grades.

Career Readiness

  1. Do an internship with at least two companies in two different industries of interest and get letters of recommendation
  2. Do whatever job you want post-graduation on-campus now (ie if you want to work in journalism, get heavily involved in the on-campus newspaper)
  3. Create a portfolio of all of your best work (preferably online)
  4. Shadow and do a project with/for an alumni in your desired career
  5. Create a resume 2.0

Personal Branding

  1. Buy your domain name at (
  2. Start a personal blog/website ( or
  3. Buy business cards (
  4. Blog weekly on whatever you're passionate about

Conquering Fear

  1. Write an article for the school newspaper (fear of criticism)
  2. Do karaoke (fear of embarrassment)
  3. Correct your professor (fear of being wrong and challenging authority)
  4. Take a quarter/semester off (fear of being behind)
  5. Recite a poem at an open mic (fear of showing emotion and being known)
  6. Do something that you're guaranteed to get rejected from (fear of rejection)
  7. Where a costume to class on a day other than Halloween (fear of being different)
  8. Ask for a grade change (fear of asking for you want)

Money & Business

  1. Write a business plan competition (compete is a competition or take a class)
  2. Know how to do your own taxes and write-offs (VITA)
  3. Get your real estate license
  4. Get your wholesale license
  5. Start a company and incorporate
  6. Save $5-10K (Maximize your financial aid in necessary)
  7. Clear your credit card debt
  8. Sell something and make a profit
  9. Read Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Skill Development

  1. Learn a foreign language
  2. Organize a huge event
  3. Do a public speech or large presentation
  4. Learn how to use wordpress
  5. Learn HTML and another computer programming language
  6. Master Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint (assuming you know how to use Word)
  7. Learn how to use Photoshop and/or a video editing program

Leadership & Service

  1. Hold at least 2 leadership positions of significance
  2. Raise $1,000+ for a good cause
  3. Start an on-campus club
  4. Mentor younger students or high schoolers
  5. Volunteer weekly for an organization that moves you

International Journeys

  1. Study abroad
  2. Travel to your country of cultural origin
  3. Go on a cross-country road trip
  4. Go camping

Lifelong Learning

  1. Read The Alchemist
  2. Watch 20 videos on that interest you
  3. Learn to play an instrument
  4. Choose a topic you want to master and read something on it every day for 9 months
  5. Sit in on a graduate school class
  6. Take the GMAT, GRE, LSAT, or MCAT

Social & Emotional Intelligence

  1. Attempt to meet a prominent alum
  2. Host a potluck among friends to talk about life challenges
  3. Take a professor and get a letter of recommendation
  4. Seek mentorship from an upperclassman and/or recent graduate in your sphere of interest
  5. Play an intramural sport for fun
  6. Join a national organization

Self-Awareness & Development

  1. Read a spiritual text from cover to cover
  2. Interview your grandparents and parents
  3. Play an intramural sport that challenges you
  4. Take the Gallup StrengthsFinder and use the results
  5. Complete an assignment one-week early
  6. Run a marathon
  7. Go to an event/meeting of a student group that you think thinks differently than you
  8. Abstain from drinking alcohol for an entire quarter/semester
  9. Journal for 30 days in a row
  10. Take a self-development course (i.e. Driving School for Life)
Last but not least...
  1. Complete the 66 things to do before you graduate list
  2. Graduate 10 times more ready for the world than you classmates

Superheroes know their superpowers. Do you? Sometimes our powers come so naturally to us that we don't event recognize them ourselves. So here's a fun survey to send to friends to get some 360-degree feedback and discover your superpowers and how they can be used professionally.
Warning: Side effects include increased happiness, greater self-awareness, & stronger friendships.

STEP 1. Cut, copy, paste, & edit the email template below.

Subject: Looking for some quick peer support...


I hope all is well.

As you know, I'm always looking to grow and I value what you think about me. I found this fun survey for friends to give feedback to one another regarding their strengths, passions, and careers. I'm only sending it to 5 people and one of them is you!

Can you please take 5 minutes to complete the survey at the link below? It's only 4 questions. Your answers will help me tremendously as I consider what's next for me. The more specific your answers, the better.

I'll share with you what I discover about myself.


STEP 2. Select 5 close friends to e-mail it to.

Above are examples of the types of people you may want to send the email to. Make sure you choose 5 or more people you think will be honest with you and have demonstrated commitment to your success in the past.

They will get this...
(Click image to enlarge)

...And you will get this...
(Click image to enlarge)
Email suggestions for revision or new surveys here.

I've been building The Department of Motivated Vehicles for 6 months now. Whenever you're just starting out as an entrepreneur, you really want to be conscious of your costs or burn rate. This awareness is called cost consciousness. Since I'm the only only employee right now, my burn rate was essentially my monthly expenses which are under $2,000 with student loans.

But there comes a point when every entrepreneur has to make a leap from cost consciousness to cash flow consciousness. It's easy to get caught up always thinking about your burn rate and forgetting that sometimes you need to inject the business with cash by investing other things besides your time in order to grow.

I've come to a point where I'm ready to bring on my first part-time employee for 10-20 hours a week. My cash flow consciousness tells me that as long as an employee creates more value than they take in given period of time then they are a good investment. Of course I have to find the right person first. This means building a team to build the business. It's an opportunity to bring in other people's gifts and talents to the vision. And I'm certain that I'll work harder knowing that someone else is depending on me ever week—even in the hours that they aren't around.

This is definitely a sign of growth for me. In the past I've had difficulty asking for help from people, but I'm trying to grow something that is bigger than me and outlives me so I have to rely on other people. The DMV's growth is dependent on my growth until I get many others to adopt/shape it as their own vision. I definitely believe in employee ownership emotionally and financially. No more small thinking. Dream BIG!

About a month ago I sent out a clarion call for mentors (See email sent to 100+ friends on May 6th). The closest I got to the people listed below was 1-degree away from Les Brown. Despite not getting who I thought I needed I got some great leads to other people in my space who may not be as well known, but could be of equal or more value to me and my company reaching its full potential. I'm thankful for all of my great friends who went to bat for me. I need to work on my pitch.

I know that in order to grow and navigate the uncertain terrain ahead, I need guides who have been there or similar places before. If you're comfortable where you're at and you aren't trying to push yourself to new heights, you don't need mentors. Its crazy! As many people as I coach and mentor, I haven't done a great job of getting coached and mentored. As a result, I know I'm not reaching my full potential right now.

I recently created a list of potential board of director members to pitch again. These are people more close to home. When you're thinking about your board, think of:

  1. professors
  2. people you've worked with
  3. anyone who has taken a particular interest in you
  4. your parent's friends
  5. your friends' parents
If you still can't think of anyone, check out, a site co-founded by one of my mentors, John Rice, also Founder of Management Leadership for Tomorrow where I worked after business school. My goal is to pitch 10 of the 18 candidates by the end of June in person or via phone and get at least half to commit. I have to effectively communicate the possibility that I am so clearly that it would be hard for them to say no. Everyone has time constraints, but people will make time to be a part of something monumental.

I hope this helps.

Dear family and friends,

I need your support finding amazing mentors/teachers who share my vision for a world where everyone is able to make their highest contribution through living in alignment with their purpose. I want to create a personal board of directors made up of 5 mentors to:
  1. challenge me
  2. guide me, and
  3. hold me accountable to myself
A 30 minute call with the right person can save 3 years of work in the wrong direction. Just like a business board of directors, I only need to meet in person or phone 4 times per year (=2-4hrs/year), but I would love to be able to have an email or phone-based relationship in between so that I can make sure I'm taking the right steps to INSPIRE OUR GENERATION.

I'm trying to reach BIG TIME PLAYERS in the PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT industry such as: Paulo Coehlo, Marianne Williamson, Eckhart Tolle, Les Brown, Rick Warren,Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Steven Covey, and Marcus Buckingham.

If you have any direct or roundabout connections to the people listed above or other people in the personal development industry who will help me grow as a human being, as a thought leader, and as a businessman, please connect me via phone or email.

I don't know what I don't know and mentorship is the most powerful way I've seen and studied people achieve their goals. I commit to upholding my highest personal integrity with anyone you connect me with in appreciation of your support.

Thank you in advance with all of my heart.



Any business that isn't solving a problem for another individual or organization will eventually be out of business. The same goes for any person not solving a particular problem. People who have major impact on the world adopt or a create a problem and dedicate their lives to it. The Wright brothers created the problem "How can man fly" and Martin Luther King Jr. addressed the problem of racism among others.

A great place to identify the problems we care about come from problems we've experienced directly or indirectly. Those problems usually connect to one of the levels of Maslow's Pyramid of Needs. Facebook might argue that it strengthening friendships and fostering community (love/belonging). Wal-Mart may argue that they are helping people access food at fair prices (physiological) and creating jobs in small communities (safety). On the individual level, I believe that my work in helping people overcome purposelessness and find meaning is on the level of self-actualization. By being clear on the problem that moves you the most, you will be able to discover where you add the most value in the world and for whom. Think critically about your own life and your work and ask yourself what problem are you solving?

Good Excuse Goals (TM) is an event-based form of structured procrastination and also mitigates perfectionism. The premise is to set something in motion that:

1. involves other people
2. leads to a time-stamped event and
3. means something to you

The old way of date-based goal setting says set a final due date and work towards completing the task at hand before that date. The problem with this form of goal setting is that if you miss the deadline, there is no accountability. You can keep procrastinating and pushing the date backward to whenever you feel like doing what you need to do.

Event-based goal setting says create a good excuse to complete the goal on time by creating an event (celebration, presentation, etc) that involves other people. For some reason, we're comfortable disappointing ourselves. That's why so many new year's resolution go undone. But we hate disappointing other people, so event-based goal setting uses our desire to impress others to motivate us.

Student Example:

It's the first day of the semester and you already have a term paper due in 4 weeks. Date-based goal setting says mark your calendar with the dates you want your first, second, and final draft to be done and that's it. Event-based goal setting says on the second day of the semester, schedule two meetings with your professor TA; one to review the first draft and one to review the second draft. By establishing the meetings, you now have another person holding you accountable to your goals and are less likely to procrastinate. By mid-semester, you'll have 90% of the paper done already.

Artist Example:

Say for instance you're a musician who wants to release an album by a certain date. Instead of just secretly writing the date on a calendar, good excuse goal setting says book a venue for a listening party or live performance a week or two before you want to actual CD to be done and send invitations to 30 friends and fans anticipating that 5-10 of them will come. Now you have to get ready and that forces (in a good way) you to create the music you want to make. By creating the event, you've set something in motion and create a good excuse to complete the CD.

It could be something you need to start, stop, or go harder on
It could be a relationship with an organization or person that you need to end (ie board seat, job, volunteer, etc)
Or one you need to begin (mentor, leadership role, ToastMasters, your own company, etc)
It may be something you need to invest in (an instrument software, a class, training, lessons, video cam)
Or something that you need to stop invest in

More ideas

Good Excuse
Want to write a book
Create a reading for you 1st chapter with 4 friends
Want a new job
Schedule a "board meeting" with mentors and friends and get feedback on your 2-weeks notice letter and job search plan.
Want to lose 10 lbs
Buy the dress you want to fit in and organize a dinner party at your house where you will wear the dress
Want to travel somewhereBuy your plane ticket with a few friends
Want to go to graduate school
Register for the entrance exam (GMAT, MCAT, LSAT) and organize your first study group with friends
Want to quit your job
Have a friend organize a secret "I Quit My Job" party for you after a certain date that you declare to quit by
Want to run a marathon
Pay for your registration, join a training group, and organize a celebration among friends that evening or at the finish line
Want to release a music CD
Organize a listening party among friends. Perhaps some of them are musicians too and may want to debut their music as well.
Want to lead a workshop
Invite 5 friends over for a trial version of the workshop. This will force you to get the curriculum ready.
Want to blog
Organize a blog launch party and email to go out on a certain date to everyone you know. You can create the html email now and schedule it to go out 30 days from now. This is irreversible which forces you to get ready.
Want to start a business
Enter a business plan competition with a team of people. You'll end up with a business plan and a whole new awareness about your business from the experience.
Want to move cities
By your one way plane ticket and schedule the movers to come.

Jullien's Purpose Statement

My purpose is to help as many people as possible reach their full potential by helping them making a living doing what they love and in the process of doing so achieve my own. I want to do this through writing, speaking, and creating offline and online spaces that facilitate conversations around purpose.

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