I am very excited to have the opportunity to teach a class on Digital Marketing at Northwood University. As I was waiting to begin my first class, I sat in on another teacher’s class of freshman students and I was not ready for what I saw.
I had time to watch these kids as they found seats, a little nervous, a little excited. Some students were posing to show their “coolness” or indifference while others were sitting up ready to please. As the teacher began, he told them all that they were going to come up and introduce themselves to the class.
Their task was to share their story in a 30 second to one minute elevator pitch. “The exercise”, he said, “was going to be repeated throughout the year because you will need to be able to communicate very quickly who you are, what your passion is and explain what your company does.”
One additional piece of information he asked them to share was who or what, outside of their family, was an inspiration to them or influenced them. And off we went.
I did not expect to be so moved by their comments. What struck me after listening to one after the other was that in many cases it was small acts of kindness that were big inspirations or people that you would not think of who had the biggest influence.
Yes there were stories of the businessman who reached out to give a scholarship, and the joy that was in that young man’s eyes as he shared the story of receiving this news was palpable.
What struck me were the stories of the family dentist, who always asked what this young lady was doing and in her words, “really listened”. Another was a neighbor, who “never was able to achieve his dreams but has been working two jobs so his son can achieve his.”
Another was about a friend who challenged this student to go to college and now he is the first in his family to do so.
One that really got the class’s attention was when this young man spoke about someone he never met who went to the same high school in a tough part of Detroit. This student heard that this previous student graduated, then went to Northwood University and is now a successful businessman. He said, “If he can come out of where we lived, take the same classes that I did, I can be just as successful as he is or even more. He was my inspiration without him even knowing it.”
Lastly, one sophomore stood up and said his inspiration was the teacher of this class.
Now when the teacher tried to brush this praise off, the student continued speaking to the other students, “Every day when you come in, he is smiling and so excited about teaching. He is so passionate that you cannot help but get excited about learning.”
My question to everyone reading: would anyone bring you up as an inspiration if they were asked?
You may never know the impact you have on others just by showing your passion, or having a great attitude or helping others without wanting anything in return. Even the act of really listening to someone could make all the difference.
Make it a goal to be an example of positive effort and attitude. It does not mean you will not struggle or mean you cannot get mad at times. But if someone watched you day in and day out would they be inspired by your actions?
There is enough negativity and bad behavior that we are all exposed to, especially children, let’s be the beacons of light that give them the energy to be great.
Time for class. Love to see if I am on someone’s list next year.