Today marks 34 years for me. ON October 8, 1980 I was born in Midland, Texas, and sense then I’ve had an interesting journey. Here are just a few things I’ve learned in my 34 years. This post will be revised annually. Please share with anyone you know especially young people.
Take charge of you.
When I was in my senior year of high school my dad encouraged me with something similar to the following statement. Take advantage of opportunities to intern in the summers to build your resume.
This advice I believe was given to me partly because of my disability. As a blind person I have always understood that I needed to do things a little different. Each person regardless of ability must do things different. Today we are all marketers.
You cannot just go to class or go to work and punch the clock each day and expect that life will not toss you a breaking curve ball. You must take steps now to set yourself apart from others that you are at the end of the day competing with for promotion, recognition, and ultimately respect.
IN the workplace do not stay within your job description. Venture outside what you are expected to do and seek to make a difference. If a process needs improving, improve it. If a group assignment in school is going off course take charge. You cannot expect others to look out for you just because you are you. You must take charge of your future today.
One of the most valuable things I have access to, beyond the technology that connects me to them, is my network. Marketing people will tell you that the money is in the list. In your personal life your future is in your network.
Part of taking charge of yourself is developing your network. Combine the act of marketing yourself and going beyond what is expected with a powerful network and you can write your own ticket to the future.
You can begin today to build your network. NO matter if you are 12 or 72.
I like the story I heard about the most successful auto dealership in the United States. This dealership succeeds because of one simple policy called the 10 foot rule. This rule states that no matter what your normal job description if you see something that needs fixing and it’s within 10 feet of you then you should take care of it.
IF you apply this rule to these two areas, going beyond what is expected and building your network, you will make an impact beyond what you could ever imagine.
What happens today was dictated yesterday.
Throughout life you will often find that you are headed on a different path than what you intended. I for example graduated from high school with the intention of studying music education. Well that lasted about 20 minutes into music theory at Angelo State University.
Today I lead a nonprofit that is dedicated to helping children with disabilities and special needs. I am also pursuing a Master of Divinity with a concentration in ethics. This is a far cry from teaching music, or serving on a political campaign, or even teaching politics at the college level, which I had planned on doing with my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.
Still today, even while studying theology I have an interest in politics and public policy. To some extent I think this keeps me grounded in two worlds. The world of theology, and the world of public policy, which are more and more intertwined.
Everything I have done up to this point: serving on two federal advisory committees, lobbying state and federal legislators, raising funds for conservative grassroots organizations, and more. These have all prepared me for what I am now doing.
Consider what you are doing right now to be a stop on the path to your calling. Find your calling and pursue it, knowing that you can make stops along the way to improve your skills, or make new connections.
Your attitude will determine your altitude.
This phrase was made popular by Zig Zigglar, and do you know it is 100% true?
Many people have told me that I have had a lot of challenges in my life. That is true. However, I have never let anything hold me back.
I know of at least three times in my life where things could have turned out very badly. I could also be like some people with disabilities and be bitter with a serious chip on my shoulder about life.
Instead I choose to be a glass half full kind of guy.
- I cannot drive a car. No problem, I just have more transportation options and car choices.
- I cannot see the things around me. That’s just fine as I have developed my own view of the world in some areas and I would hate to mess up my view of things like how a room looks, the mental image I have of someone, etc. This is also a blessing as I am not distracted by people trying to impress with their looks.
- You cannot see your children. I see them better than you think…you would be surprised what you know your child is doing if you listen.
The point here is that no matter where you start off in life you can always go higher and farther.
NOTE: This is an abridged version of a talk I can give to any group of any size. From a community or neighborhood club, to a school group, to your church. To schedule me to speak to your group please contact me.