Most of the people who read this blog don’t know me. They may know something about me but they don’t know who I am. They don’t know where I have been or what successes and tragedies shaped me into the person that I am today. To be honest, most people I know personally don’t know me.
There are some things about myself that make me proud to be who I am and glad I survived the events that laid the foundation for my beliefs. The thing that I am most proud of in my life would be that I have been in the position on several occasions to truly affect other people in a positive way, through my actions, my words and my love for them as another human being. I don’t say this lightly and I don’t say this so that I can achieve some applause. I am saying this because in every one of us there is the ability to inspire another person. It’s in our choices. It’s in the choice to stop and listen or to just nod our head and keep walking. It’s in the choice when someone is failing to stop and come to an understanding about why that is and how it can be fixed or telling them that they are wrong. It’s in the choice to elevate instead of deflate someone’s spirit. It’s choosing compassion instead of anger.
I watched a movie tonight called Undefeated. It’s a documentary about the Manassas Tigers football team lead by Coach Bill Courtney. I love football so it wasn’t hard for me to sit through a film that was based on a football team. Coach Courtney understands how to give his players the ability to earn respect where they may never had known it in their lives. He understands that in the heart of the most hardened is sometimes the soul of a leader. He understands that some of the best teachers in life are those that have survived the most difficult losses. One of the impactful statements he made during the film was, “You think football builds character. It does not. Football reveals character.” I think those words can apply to most situations in our lives. This team had not won a football game in 14 years. They turned that around. The boys he coached learned how to play football, think outside of themselves, reach for success and be part of a team.
As Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens said, “”I fight for the man next to me. It don’t matter about me, what matters about me is sacrificing for you; for the ultimate goal which is us.”
Look at the man next to you. What can you do for them? The greatest compliment I have ever received in my life was from a former employee. His mother had passed away from cancer before I met him and life wasn’t easy for this guy. When I meet someone I try to listen to their story so that I can get a feel for who they are and why they are that person. As we got to know each other we had many conversations about life. After we had gone our separate ways we stayed in touch on Facebook. One day I received a direct message from this friend and it said, “I just want to thank you. It’s because of you that I am the man I am today. I love you,” I sat and cried. That was not important to me because he was acknowledging me. It was important because I knew in my heart that I elevated someone’s spirit. By just listening and talking honestly and openly a difference was made. It was such a powerful thing. My daughter has told me before that I am oblivious to the effect that I have on people and for the most part that is true. I just try to make sure that any influence I have on someone is positive. Now, I will say some people are more receptive than others. But I try. Watch this movie if you have time, watch how character is built and boys learn to be men.
Then look at the man next to you. What can you do for them? Building a life around helping others is how you get rich quick. How have you helped elevate someone in your life? I would love to hear your story.