It is 9:00am on a Friday and I am about to start my presentation to a group of 15-20 teenage girls that are 17 and 18 years old. The goal of the presentation? To inspire them! To encourage them to take personal responsibility for their life! To motivate them to go for it in life!
But this wasn’t a normal presentation. This is not the typical group of ladies I normally present to. What was different about this group, was that most of these young ladies were either on probation or parole; many of them wearing bracelets on their ankles to account for their whereabouts.
Anyone that knows me, will tell you I am not about cutting much slack with people about the need to take personal responsibility in life. I believe to the very end, that we are responsible for our life and if we want to change, WE must change. We must believe in ourselves before anyone else can be expected to believe in us. Additionally, in order to get respect, we must treat ourselves with respect first. And, if we want to be the best, we must surround ourselves with the best.
Many people would look out at this group and feel quite negative about what the future looked like for these young ladies. Many came from terrible childhoods. Most of them are surrounded with the worst influences in life, often being their own family members. Their support network? Many have absolutely none. And the reality is, they have been convicted of a crime. But as I interacted with these young ladies, talking one-on-one with many of them and getting to know a little bit about them, I saw what many would not see. I saw HOPE. They were attentive, interactive and many were embarrassed of their current situation. It was very clear to me that they were not ‘confident‘ in themselves and didn’t have the tools or support network to do things differently than what they were doing now.
As I think of that day (and I do think of that day EVERY day), I think about the people in my personal and professional life. We all know the superstars around us; the ones that have it all together, are motivated and confident. Those are the easy ones to mentor, aren’t they? But what about the ones that are the complete opposite? How do we handle that person that appears awkward to us, shy, which doesn’t have it all together? Do we push them aside or do we do our best to ‘try’ to motivate them, inspire them and mentor them?
Thinking of the young ladies in that room on that Friday, I know I did my best to inspire them and give them ‘hope’, that YES THEY CAN change their life around and succeed. I believe that they can change their lives around. But, they need to do a lot of work on themselves and have people like you and me to care, push them in the right direction, hold them accountable and believe in them.
We all have a gift in life to make a positive impact on someone else’s life. Your positive influence might even change someone’s life! And how cool would that be?
Questions: What can YOU do today and every day to try to inspire those around you that might not be the easiest people to mentor? What can we do to go the extra mile for those that might never have been given the time and attention before? Has anyone ever taken you under their wing; supported you, mentored you, when you most needed it? I would LOVE to hear from you!