As another year has come to an end, many of us will take the opportunity to reflect on 2016 and make resolutions for the New Year. What were your “shining” moments? What decisions could you have made differently? Who were the people who influenced you most? Chances are that you can identify many situations that you learned from, whether they may be about your personal or professional lives.
As Gannon University graduates, we all have been educated to enter the workforce and change the world for the better by becoming leaders in our given professions and giving back to our communities. We hear news stories about awesome accomplishments that other people are completing, and we may feel that our smaller daily triumphs don’t seem as important as other large-scale projects. However, I am challenging you to recognize the magnitude of your individual triumphs, and to realize that you play a much more important role in your surrounding community than what you may realize at the present time.
I recently read a statistic that claimed we all will influence about 10,000 people in our lifetime, whether it results in a positive or negative outcome. After teaching a Leadership Seminar class at Gannon, I have watched first-hand how current college students are starting to form the skills they will need to succeed professionally after graduation.
I have also been able to reflect on how I have changed since my own time as a student. I can appreciate all of the relationships that I have formed working as a physician assistant, and now as a college educator. I can recognize the ways that I have grown and gradually changed to become a better version of myself.
It is sometimes hard to pinpoint impressive things that I have accomplished that would define me as an “inspiration” to others, but I can be satisfied that I have at least made a small difference in the lives of those around me by my small supportive acts when someone needed me most.
Every day, you will influence more people than you realize even though it may be through a seemingly simple act of giving a compliment or pouring a cup of coffee for a colleague. You may inspire a friend, family member or even someone you have just met for the first time. These small acts of kindness will add up to something great that others will appreciate, even though you don’t immediately recognize that appreciation.
In the words of renowned poet Maya Angelou, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
We all have the ability to be a leader in our own unique ways, and to change the lives of those around us one moment at a time just by being the best version of yourself that you can be. It is up to you to cultivate that version of yourself, and to “believe in the possibilities” that began in your years at Gannon. Thank you for the differences that you have made, and will continue to make in the lives of those around you.