Friday, March 18, 2016

Drive and Determination...

Every once in a while, you meet someone that you immediately know is destined to change the world in some way...

No – this isn’t the opening line of a sappy employment recommendation or valedictory speech. Instead, it is my first thought every time I come in contact with a person I know, whom we will call ”Michelle” (not her name, but a sobriquet to protect her identity).

While I could go into a huge list of her many accomplishments and adventures (some of which would just completely blow your mind), what made me put down words is her incredible passion and drive.

As I told her earlier in the day today, I have met some of the most fascinating people in the world through my own work and personal experiences.  But none are at quite the same level as Michelle.  She has worked with Nobel Laureates, traveled (in most cases by herself) to six continents, earned multiple Bachelor and Masters degrees (all for free, BTW, through scholarships and raw determination), been a CEO of a tech start up, a motivational public speaker, an ice skater, and a college cheerleader. She joked with her sister about a beauty pageants, was basically dared to enter it, and won (again, something else she doesn’t really publicize).

Today, she shared with me that she is pursuing another of her life long dreams to become a cheerleader for a professional sports franchise.  She is not doing it for the money. She is not doing it for the publicity. She is not doing it to hook up with a sports player. She is doing it because it is something she has always wanted to do.  Unlike most of us (myself included), she is completely able and willing to dedicate whatever she needs to do to accomplish her goals. 

And she will become that cheerleader.

I am reminded of that line in Legally Blonde, when one of Elle Woods professors says "Do you think she just woke up one morning and said, 'I think I'll go to law school today'?” I think that Michelle has bolted upright out of her bed on several occasions and said “I am going to do X tomorrow”.

And she does it.  Regardless of how crazy it may seem to you and I.  She just does it.

I admire drive and ambition.  I have it in spades.  But never have I met someone who is so much more passionate and driven than myself that it makes me feel boring. 

I could say that we need more people in the world like Michelle.  But we don’t.  The world is completely unprepared for the extreme few that we do have like her, and more could cause a massive unbalance in how the world works (I am being completely serious here). 

The point in all of this: if we had 1/10 of the drive and determination that Michelle has, think of the incredible things we would be able to accomplish.  You don’t need to be a Michelle to be passionate about the things that are important to you. Even those things that others might find odd (I have an abnormal obsession with all things cheeseburgers, as many of you may know) can be channeled in a way to be of interest to others.  And people like Michelle push me to be even more crazy than I already am. Because – if she can do it, I know I can as well. 

But I will likely NOT be a cheerleader.  No one wants to see that. No one.