DEAN KRAFT: It is my pleasure to introduce our Keynote Speaker for this morning’s ceremony, one of our most successful alumni and my friend, MR. NATHAN S. COLLIER. Nathan is a three-time Gator, earning a bachelor’s degree in finance, an MBA and a law degree from the University of Florida. Nathan is the founder and chairman of The Collier Companies, which owns over 11,000 apartments across the state of Florida, and Norman, Oklahoma. The Collier Companies has the largest student housing portfolio owned by a private individual. Nathan is very active at the University of Florida. He has endowed the Nathan S. Collier Master of Science in Real Estate program at Warrington, where he teaches a real estate case studies course. He serves on the board of UF’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies and is a member of the Warrington Business Advisory Council.  Nathan is a life member of the University of Florida Foundation National Board, a UF Alumni Association Life Member, and a long time Gator Booster. He is the author of “Construction Funding: The Process of Real Estate Development, Appraisal, and Finance.” Nathan is a lifelong learner and is passionate about sharing his business experiences. Please join me in welcoming a proud gator, NATHAN COLLIER to the podium.

Greetings Fellow Gators! Congratulations! Today is a momentous milestone! And yet the best is yet to be for your entire life lies before you, yours to create!

As a business person, I’ve always tried to Maximize my Impact; to always be both Effective and Efficient; to consistently operate from the Highest Leverage Point Possible. I will share with you the Three Highest Leverage Behaviors I know of:

The First High Leverage Point is to Create a Written Plan for Your Life. It has been said that the average person with a plan will beat a genius without a plan and there is much truth in that. You have at least six major roles in life:

• Work Life: Career and Financial
•  Personal Life: Family
 and Friends
•  Physical Life: Health, Exercise and Nutrition
•  Spiritual
or Religious Life: Inner Life, the search for Deeper Meaning and Purpose
•  Community Life, Involvement in Civic Affairs, Your Participation in the Social Contract
•  Continuous Improvement and Learning, Ongoing Growth in Knowledge and Self-Education

It is vital to create Goals for each Role; complete with targets, deadlines and action plans for each. Some goals and plans will be detailed, others will be more formless but I assure you they will eventually come into greater focus. Also, as you live life, grow and change, some goals will fade, others will appear. This is both normal and good.

The 2nd High Leverage Point is to Start Journaling. There is beside my reading chair in my office at home a stack about 18 inches high of writing pads, some legal length others of letter length, over 42 pads going back almost three decades. I have found journaling to be an immensely powerful tool to grow in self-awareness, to calm and focus my mind, to track progress on my goals and action plans. Journaling gives me perspective and quiet time to consolidate my thoughts.

The 3rd High Leverage Point has three parts:

The first is to Commit to becoming a Continuous Learner. Every wall of my home office is literally floor to ceiling book shelves, all four walls. There is a significant Sci-Fi section, but most are non-fiction. I earned my MBA in 1978, 40 years ago. It was immensely valuable at the time BUT much of what I learned is no longer relevant.  As it has been said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” If you’re not growing anywhere, you’re not going anywhere and the best education is self-education.

The 2nd is work HARD at raising your EQ:  EQ is your Emotional Intelligence and has two parts; inner and outer. Inner: How well do you know and understand your own emotions? How well can you control your emotions, motivate yourself? Outer: How well can you read and understand the emotions of others? How well can you motivate others? Influence, Persuade and Negotiate? While your IQ is pretty much fixed at birth or within your first few years, your EQ is unlimited, within your ability to expand to the genius level. At some point in life, smarts and industry knowledge are just table stakes, everyone has them. What will distinguish you is your EQ, your ability to lead and motivate yourself and others.

The 3rd is to eliminate negativity from your thought process; to become a solution oriented, possibility thinker. Learn how to direct and focus your thoughts, your emotions, your energy. If you understood the power of your thoughts, you’d never think another negative thought again. To quote Buddha, “As the fletcher whittles and straightens his arrows, so the master directs his thoughts.” Continually ask yourself: Does this thought, does this belief, does this emotion serve me? Does it move me closer to my goals, closer to the life I wish to lead, to the person I wish to become? You may not always be able to control the thoughts that come to mind, but it is certainly within your power to control the thoughts that STAY in mind. I am also big believer in both Visualization and Affirmations; they help sustain my energy levels and maintain a laser focus on my goals. “ Thoughts held in mind, attract in kind; what you focus on expands.”

I’d like to share a passage from the writings of Thoreau: 

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth,  

So a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind.     

To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again.     

To make a deep mental path,  

we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”

There is power in that final sentence: “We must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”

 Thus I leave you with three thoughts to contemplate:

• Create a Written Plan for Your Life

• Start Journaling

• Commit to Continuous Learning, Raising Your EQ and Eliminate negativity from your thought process, becoming a solution oriented, possibility thinker.

To give anything less than your Best is to Sacrifice your Life; for The Best we can be, we must be. You are the CEO of your Life. Make it count! Thank-you for your time & attention; Go Gators!

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier