The other day, I got to thinking about influence. In my graduate assistantship, I am helping to evaluate the Law and Leadership Institute. LLI is a summer program developed for minority and low socio-economic class high school students with the ultimate goal of getting more of these students to eventually apply to law school.
As I listened to the interviews with some of the staff members, one stuck out to me. A law school student who was a teacher in the program talked with the interviewer about how a parent of a boy scout in a troop he led several years prior still thought of the advice he had given the boy. The teacher had told the boy that he could do anything he wanted in life and to never let anyone tell him differently. Apparently, the little boy (who is not so little anymore) still uses that advice today.
The whole idea of LLI is to positively influence students who may not receive it in any other environment. The teachers and staff of the program challenge these students to be more than they think they can be.
When I think about the good the people of LLI are doing for the students participating, I cannot help but think of the mentors in my life. My very best friends who give me the best advice, my family and my professional mentors. I am so grateful for everything each of them has done to influence my life – I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
This made me think of the potential influence I have on the people in my own life. Whether we realize it or not, we have influence and we are making an impact. One of the biggest influences I can imagine is the impact I have on my students. Not that I think I’m the best instructor in the world, but I am passionate about skating, and I want to share that with my students. Whether they take away a career in skating or simply have tried something new, at the end of the day I hope I have had some kind of positive influence on them.
So now, I challenge you, find your passion and share it. Have a positive influence on someone. Starting now.