356: This one’s for “stressed graduates” and their parents! [And anyone else wanting to pursue an amazing life!]

stressed graduates- Mitch Matthews

356: This one’s for “stressed graduates” and their parents! [And anyone else wanting to pursue an amazing life!]

Last week, I had conversations with multiple parents who were working hard to help their soon-to-be graduates navigate the big decisions coming their way!  In each case, I was able to share some stories and some strategies that seemed to help. 

SO… I wanted to share them with YOU too.  Especially if you’re navigating the wild waters of graduation from high school and/or college… personally or with your kids. 

And the good news is… these stories and strategies will also help you if you’re navigating decisions that will help you to live more of the amazing life you’re designed to live.  Because… let’s just be honest… if you’re choosing to live an AMAZING life… that means it might look a little crazy to some of the people that are around you. 

So… it takes guts to do something different.  So that’s what this episode is all about!  Hope it helps YOU… whether you’re navigating new seasons due to a big mile marker like graduation… OR… you’re simply feeling like a change is coming and you’re wanting to get ready for it!  Enjoy!  (By the way… please share this one with someone who might need it!!! THANKS!)


Oscar-Winning Special Effects Artist: Howard Bergerwww.mitchmatthews.com/074 

Howard tells the story of how as a teenager, he almost blew up his house working on special effects project.  Listen to how his parents reacted and what he did next!

Author and Pastor, Jonathan Pittswww.mitchmatthews/com/313 

Listen to how Jonathan has navigated encouraging his four daughters to continue to dream big and pursue their best life after the untimely loss of their mom.

TV Star, musician, and Cast Member of the Orville, J Leewww.mitchmatthews.com/228

Listen to what his wise mom said to him when we decided to drive to LA (with $500 in his pocket) to pursue his dream of acting!

Sprint Car Champion & Record Holder, McKenna Haasewww.mitchmatthews.com/210

Listen to what her parent said when she announced she wanted to be a professional sprint car driver


I mention my interview with Sam Griffin when I’m talking about how bravery isn’t necessarily what you want to lean on when you experience fear. www.mitchmatthews.com/118 

I also speak to a concept that Jim Collins spoke to in his classic book, Good to Great.  It’s called the “Stockdale Paradox” and it’s something I’ve leaned on myself when I was stepping out and pursuing something new. 

But it’s also something I’ve taught countless leaders when I’ve discussed the importance of taking a stand for something you believe in and being willing to take a chance on a needed change.  #priceless

Here’s an excerpt from Jim’s amazing book and his interview with POW survivor and entrepreneurial success story Jim Stockdale:

I didn’t say anything for many minutes, and we continued the slow walk toward the faculty club, Stockdale limping and arc-swinging his stiff leg that had never fully recovered from repeated torture. Finally, after about a hundred meters of silence, I asked, “Who didn’t make it out?”

“Oh, that’s easy,” he said. “The optimists.”

“The optimists? I don’t understand,” I said, now completely confused, given what he’d said a hundred meters earlier.

“The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.”

Another long pause, and more walking. 

Then he turned to me and said, “This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

To this day, I carry a mental image of Stockdale admonishing the optimists: “We’re not getting out by Christmas; deal with it!”

Whew… yup!  That’s gold.


  • 0:02 What to expect today
  • 2:38 The important conversation Mitch had to share
  • 4:57 Are you ready to set into something new? Start here.
  • 9:45 How Mitch overcame anxiety as a kid
  • 15:55 How curiosity led a young Mitch abroad
  • 24:29 What Mitch learned from a hard teacher
  • 32:42 An amazing example of empathy
  • 38:02 Being comfortable with standing in tension
  • 47:35 Recap of these 3 powerful concepts
  • 51:30 If you know someone who needs to hear this, share from wherever you

I want to hear from YOU!  

Okay… I want to hear from you.  

What do you think?  Which story resonates with you?  Secondly… what quotes, stories or concepts do you lean on when you’re needing to push through fear?

More importantly… What do you think?  Is it important to step out and take some risks in order to pursue a “non-normal” life?  Will someone need to push past fear, the naysayers… and heck… get comfortable with the “tension” that can come from stepping into an amazing life?  Let me know what YOU think in the comments below!

I can’t wait to hear from YOU!

Lastly, don’t forget to share this episode!  And when you do either tag me or be sure to include the #dreamthinkdo.  THANKS!!!!

You can find me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.  (Let’s connect there too!)

Keep bringing your awesome, 


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