Tonight, I’m feeling inspired. After having a long chat with a couple of my girlfriends at work, I have had the chance to reflect on things going through my mind in the past couple of weeks.
I’ll be leaving my job at Central in the next few weeks, and I’ve started to think about my last days there. I’ve begun the process of producing my legacy. Now I’ve been at Central for less than a year, and yet I feel like I will have a lasting impression. At least that’s what I hope will happen.
For those that know me well, it is obvious that I am a communicator. My joys in life come from sharing and learning from others. While I hope my legacy in life is far greater than what I hope to give now, today this is what I hope people take away from knowing me and being part of my world. So below I share some of the wisdom given to me and given by me.
I had the opportunity tonight to watch a video from the Teen Choice Awards. It was a speech given by a fellow Iowan, Ashton Kutcher. The things said in this video are things that ring true to my heart over and over again. Here’s the video. Watch it. Then watch it again.
Ashton talks about 3 things:
1- opportunity looking like hard work
2- being sexy
3- building a life
Now, for me and my legacy, these things are all fitting. I’ll start with each of these and expand upon them.
From a young age I understood that I needed to work hard and be good at things to succeed. For those of you who have ever played a board game with me know that I am ultra-competitive. I thrive on winning. I thrive on doing my best, and I get pist if I don’t get what I want. This is not a bratty characteristic. It is driven. From the time I was a child, I put my mind to something and I made it happen. It’s something that’s gotten me to this point today. Hard work pays off. In Ashton’s speech he talks about never being better than a job. I preach this to every student I work with.
The other day, I had the opportunity to impart some of my dad’s wisdom on some of my student workers. When it comes to a job, you should be the first one there and the last one to leave. When it comes to a your job, never expect to get off easily. Put in hard work and ask for permission to leave. Never expect that it’s ok to go because everyone else has.
We had an event going on all last week at work, and the students I talked to about this, the next days afterward, when I was the last of us in charge to go home, I still had each one of those students asking me what they could do. They heard what I had to say and they internalized it. They understood what I had said. Work is never a luxury. It’s their job. I hope that my students one day can lead by example to those they’re in charge of. I hope that they can show their counterparts that working harder and longer than their peers will pay off. I know I am respected at work because of this. I know people can count on me to get the job done, because I’ve proven it to them. Opportunity looks a lot like hard work. You just can’t be lazy and pass it up.
In Ashton’s speech he discusses how being smart equals being sexy. Being smart, thoughtful and generous are the best ways to be sexy. I couldn’t agree more.
For me, as a girl who isn’t teeny tiny and has too many rolls on her belly to admit, I have never been one to think myself beautiful, or sexy. I however, have a sharp wit, a way with words many people envy, a confidence in self that’s strong and a huge smile. I also happen to be quite savvy on culture, society and I’m as sharp as a tack. Now while my quick wit and sharp brain may not get me a smokin hot guy like Ashton, it’ll help me keep a man longer than any societally considered sexy woman could. I will take being Ashton’s definition of sexy any day of the week. And by that definition, I AM sexy.
Again, to the students I work with- and the girls in particular- you can define your own form of sexy. You are smarter than you know, you are braver than you think, and you are way better looking than you’ll ever understand. You are the epitome of sexy and you can show that to the world. I want my legacy to you to show that you are uninhibited in thinking you can do something, I want you to know that showing care and compassion aren’t weak traits, they are strong. I want you to know that I will never be too busy, too tired or too distracted to listen and understand your problems, issues and heartaches. I will be smart and give my best advice and knowledge with help from my experiences, I will be generous and open my heart to you when you need it or wallet when you visit for dinner, I will be thoughtful and think to send a card or stop to visit when I’m in town. Never underestimate the importance of others in your life, nor your life to others. Relationships are the most powerful thing you can offer the world, nurture them and help them grow.
“The world is the way it is.” How many times have we been told that in our lives? When I went into the working world, I had this preconceived notion that I would be able to have freedom and no rules and that I could do whatever I wanted with my life. It turned out, that isn’t always true. The world is the way it is because people made it that way. I want my legacy and those that see it, to remember that just because the world is a certain way, doesn’t mean it should be that way. Don’t be afraid to be an innovator. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain and do what makes you happy instead of doing what’s right. When you think about your life, please God first, then yourself. The rest will fall into place. Ashton talks about building your own life. Please friends, family, readers- do this. Build a life that makes you happy, makes your extraordinary. Do not fall into the box that defines your work, your relationships, your faith or your world. As my good friend Simone says, you do you.
To my students, never let someone “older and wiser” than you, tell you you can’t do something. You want to go start your own bakery? Do it. You want to go teach abroad? Do it. You want to get married and have 10 kids- don’t do that, you are nuts! Just kidding, do that too. Do whatever it is that God has called your heart to do and go toward it. Be aware that you are extraordinarily made and that God has called you to do your life and no one elses. There’s a brilliant quote I have loved so many years that encapsulates the way I feel about my life, my work and my world. As a legacy, I ask that those around me know and internalize this quote.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson
It is my hope that throughout my life I continue in a way that I may serve others. I want to continue to impact the lives of those around me, especially those younger than me. You all are the seeds planted in the future, and I am continually amazed by the beautiful and impacting things you are doing. Those that I have touched with my heart and soul, I hope you carry my legacy with you. Know that I am always a phone call, facebook message, skype session away.
all my love- Jacci