“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.”
I’ve had wonderful 2022-23 school year on the road. For the last few years, hitting the road hasn’t been a reality for many in my field. I spent over two years speaking to young people through a computer screen. Because of this, I missed one of the most important things I do in my line of work… interacting with young people, in-person, in real-time. As a travelling professional speaker, I always make sure to spend time with young people after I give a presentation. I do this for a number of reasons.
For one, I genuinely care about these kids. After they’ve listened to me share my struggles, I listen to them share their struggles with me. In these moments, I do my best to encourage youth to overcome whatever obstacle might be in their way.
I could give you countless examples of young people I’ve connected with after giving a presentation at a school, conference, or youth event. Many of these kids approach me after a presentation with tears in their eyes because something I’ve shared has connected with them in some way. I also get countless emails and messages from parents offering my gratitude for the message I instilled in their child. There aren’t enough words to express how important that is to me.
But, I have another reason why I spend some one-on-one face-time with these young people after I deliver a presentation. I do this to set an EXAMPLE. When I deliver a keynote, I discuss the power of influence we all have by simple gestures, acts of kindness, and by just giving an encouraging word to someone. You never know how that encouraging word will affect someone.
So… I live this idea out in real time. I never rush out of a presentation. Rather than spend an hour giving kids my OPINIONS and then leaving... I do my best to share with them, and then set an EXAMPLE.
I think it’s so important that we listen to young people. That’s one of the examples I set. I’m a listener. It’s interesting, as a speaker, you’d think my most important trait is talking! But often, it’s my ability to listen that connects with kids just as strongly. And kids watching me listen to other kids sets a good example. In a world where so many people just want to give their OPINION, over and over, endlessly in a social vacuum… sometimes we need to just stop. And listen.
We all have an opinion. Many like to share theirs constantly on social media. I challenge us to set examples in the world, rather than simply share our opinions. If we do this… we can help right many of the wrongs we have such strong opinions about.
If you’d like me to speak … and listen… to your youth at your school, conference, camp, or event, please reach out. I'd love to hear from you.
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