In "The Last Lecture," Randy Pausch collected his thoughts about living a full and meaningful life so that he could pass them on to his children - and to his students, colleagues, friends, and family. Anyone who reads his book or views his last lecture can take away a number of lessons for herself as well. They range from how to achieve your childhood dreams to how to enable the dreams of others, from how to ask for what you want to how to show gratitude for what you receive.
Randy explains how he encouraged students to use their imagination, take risks and set the bar high by giving a "First Penguin Award" at the end of every semester, complete with a penguin stuffed animal. This was for a "glorious failure" - given to the team of students who took the chance to try something new and different, even though they failed to reach their goal. If you saw the documentary "March of the Penguins" or the children's animated movie, "Happy Feet," you remember that one penguin always jumped into the icy water first, not knowing what dangers might be there.
By talking about the award he presented, Randy reminds us that in order to soar, we must first make that initial jerky flight. Are there goals you have wanted to achieve but are afraid to attempt? Do you feel that, as a Sandwiched Boomer, your attentions are devoted entirely to raising your growing children and caring for your aging parents - draining you of the energy to move beyond your safety net? Give yourself an opportunity to give that penguin a run for the money as you focus on initiating your first steps in pursuit of your dreams. And concentrate on the possibilities open to you as you hone in on your target. The prize you win will certainly be a growing sense of self-confidence and resiliency.