When I was in 5th grade I can remember being out at recess and fighting with my friend to not have to stand behind this girl in the line to go back inside. We did not want to stand by her just because we thought she was ugly. What senselessness we thought it was now that we are grown up, but at that age I did not know what empathy was. We could have very well destroyed that girl’s life. She still comes up in conversation in the recent years and we always say that she is probably a super model and we were just naive kids afraid of cooties.
That’s not when I learned my lesson though. In Junior High I was hit hard with what some call Karma. I was hanging out at recess once again but this time it was with the group of bullies that picked on the same kids every day. One day it got physical, I pushed a boy to the ground and actually hurt him. It was that moment that I immediately hated myself and helped him right back up. I did not courage up an apology right away but I sorrowed tons of regret before I turned things around and became friends with this same person. After this terrible act of bullying the stars were not aligned for me. It was like being lost on a cloudy moonless night with no way to guide me home. This was the year of my first heavy crush and also the year of my fall into a bad depression. I lost every friend I had, except for one, including my crush. High School was terrible. Most people want to go back….not me. I learned of a learning disability I had with very low reading levels. I used up most of my lunch hours in a reading class, and the lunches I did attend I was forced to sit with kids of a lower grade because I was now the dork.
You are probably wondering where the karma comes in? In High School I was the one being bullied. I was made fun of all the time, I was pushed around, I was excluded from things and picked last for activities. Oh Marc you need braces, as if it could get any worse. This did however start to turn around for me. I grow up with a strong family and a small hand full of great friends that I had at this point. I started to stand up for myself against bullies and I was winning. I started to show respect for those that are typically excluded and ignored.
In college I began to come alive! I learned how to manage my depression without medication and my shyness lifted. I started dating and gaining friends galore. I became friends with anyone and everyone. I was proud that all my friends were friends with each other too. Everyone I brought into my circle they became friends with everyone else. The cool thing that holds true still today is my friends are friends with my siblings and we are all friends with their friends as well. There were no exclusions, we hung out and we partied with whoever wanted to join.
You see I have turned myself around quite a bit, but I am not done. Bullying has gotten worse as the years go by and the internet has gotten more and more accessible to our younger generation to give ease to those with bad intentions. I have a soft spot for those that are picked on for any reason. Working in an elementary school has really shined light on my purpose of inspiring children to be more positive with their lives. I work with special needs children and I have the opportunity to talk to the other students telling them that we are all different and that’s okay but so much of us is exactly the same. I have had the opportunity to make some of these students realize what they are doing or saying to others is wrong. The great part is…it’s working! I can see it working. Has life shown me both sides of bullying to better help and empathize for those involved? Is my life culminating to a point where I can educate students to a more positive life for themselves and their peers? This same positive lifestyle education holds true to all those who will listen of any age. I want to stand up between the two side where bullying starts and tell our younger generation that there are grand reasons to stop bullying and there is a personality inside all of us with the strength to stand up, ignore, change and fight bullying.
Many people have asked what my purpose is. Well if you have read this far now you know. When you see me with a positive attitude that’s real emotions. When you see me not smiling I am stepping through the next struggle in my life and climbing closer to my goals and purpose for smiling again. I will never bully again and I will always help others at all times. You can change your own life with a simple smile you can change everyone else with a simple smiling hello as you pass through each others lives for any length of time.
Bullying has to stop and a more positive mind set has to begin.
(Here is a new video clip that inspired this post, right from my home town of St. Charles)
The summer is over. Alaska is in my past and my leg is almost 100%. I have an updated board of goals full of great ideas but I struggle to find the motivation to carry them out. I am at a motivational roadblock. I do not want to force my way through goals if the passion is not there and I do not want to go down the wrong path.
You know the term practice what you preach, right? That is exactly what I need to do. I tell people all the time to take the situations and events in their lives one at a time to lower the stress level and be more successful in the end. I have slowed down my efforts but I have a list of achievable goals that make my life look amazing.
Teaching myself public speaking, research bullying, start writing and practicing speeches, build a successful TED Talks speech, and volunteer at children’s hospitals. These are only some of the big goals I have laid out for myself and I still have a job to keep up too.
Para professionalism is still new to me. I learned so much last school year but this year there is even more. With my academic level of students with autism, outside of teaching them basic skills, we still have to handle behavior issues, bathroom issues, and now this school year I get to go swimming with one of my students too!
With everything going on in life right now, I struggle to find my forward directional motivation. I love my job so much, but everything outside of it I cannot seem to give 100%. I have given myself an ambitious list of expectations and I need to take them one at a time. I want to jump right in and give 100% to motivating children, but there are so many things that need to happen first. I have started my search for volunteering at children’s hospitals; I believe this a valuable adventure for the children and me. Also found a course book for public speaking and I will start a routine of working through it every Sunday!
Overall, I have great list of goals and challenges that lay ahead but I need to practice what I tell my followers and take them one thing at a time. This speaks for my career; there are still more adventurous ideas that lie within my reach. I would have never thought being full of great ideas, being open to new things, being part of great adventures and having such a positive outlook towards it all would actually have so many challenges at the front lines. However to alleviate all the lack of motivation and challenges all I have to do is accomplish my goals one at a time. From experience, this works every time. This is why it is so valuable to write things down so you can organize what is more important or what needs to come first. There is no problem having a goal list that is very ambitious, especially when you give yourself the right opportunities to make it happen.
I have had this plaque sense I was a teenager. I bought it in New Mexico on a backpacking trip. Back in those times I was not always very positive but I did pride myself on never giving up on things no matter how hard they get. This is a big reminder for me when things get hard. One time things in my life got so incredibly hard I took a hammer to this thing. I wanted to break it but you can see how strong it is. You can see were the hammer hits it but never broke. I would say that day life was on my side. Without this sign I would probably not be here today. DON’T EVER QUIT!
I am a few days away from my life’s next big adventure! I am going back to work on a cruise ship again (for 2 months) but this time I will be in Alaska. A place where I have always wanted to go and I get to from an opportunity that was basically put on my lap! As I said in a previous blog I will be limited with time to write and internet to post but I assure you I will be back and I am most likely going to be shifting some of the main focuses of this blog.
It is funny how our thought process works. I am learning through the challenges of life that everything happens for a reason. The most exciting discovery is when those reasons come to light in our minds. At the time my fiancé broke it off with me 3-4 years ago I was ready to settle down and start a family but my life has changed completely, for the better I would like to add! In grained in me is a subtle shy loneliness that I successfully chip away at everyday and my new life, new adventures and new goals unfold. I could time line my whole life, the feelings are so strong but perhaps I will save that for my first book. Yes my first book…one of many goals. My biggest goal of all is to become a motivational speaker.
Fast forward to now I work at a wonderful elementary school as a teacher assistant to students with autism. What an eye opening job. I have had hard jobs before but this one moves its way toward the top of that list, however the rewards from this job sky rocket. Here I am; single, secretly fighting little loneliness spell now and again, I work around a bunch of beautiful married women (inside and out) and I work around wonderful children that just make me want my own ever day. Even though this job has been and will continue to be an amazing opportunity I ask myself through the personal torture why am I setting myself up like this: Working all around others that have everything I want.
Now wait a second, here is the crazy part. As I talk to my new friends, staff and teachers, about my adventures of travel and my life goals, they are envious of me. I realize I want what they have and they want what I have. It is crazy how life works like that. But then I take a step back and realize why life had brought me here. To meet great people of course, and try new things in my life, but the main reason I am here is to finally realize my motivational speaking career starts with these children. I want to inspire children to be all they can be and live a more positively directed life. I want to teach them that there is no benefit to bullying their fellow classmates. Make friends in school not enemies. If you know me at all you know that when I set sight on something, no matter how long it takes, I WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN. Maybe this school year maybe next but I was meant for this. It took me 34 years to figure this out but I have 70 more to make a difference in the lives of all our futures.
I realize that if I was married and had kids 3-4 years ago, there was no chance I would be working on a cruise ship, there was no chance I would have moved down to Florida, very little chance that I would have stepped out of my career as a Design Director to find my passion as a motivational speaker. All I had to do was drop the negative thoughts and listen to what life was telling me. There is great things out there and wonderful people to meet. I will meet the right one for me when I least expect it. I will be successful with my goals and like any roller coaster success story I expect to fall, I expect it to be hard, and I expect to learn a lot.
I walk through the halls of my school and every smile or hi I get, every high five or hug I receive lets me know how many young lives I am impacting already. I know my main focus is with the special need students in my class but I make it a point to connect with new students’ every day. I certainly connect with the teachers as well. The students allow me to be more connected with my goals all the time and the teachers are the ones that are opening doors for me to explore. So yes I was meant to be here at this elementary school. Some teachers are excited for their well deserved summer break and here I am off to Alaska for almost two months and I miss these kids already! I know I am where I am meant to be and I know there is still more exploring to do on my way to where I want to be. The purpose for my Alaska trip is simple, I deserve a break too! It just so happens to be a working break but you can’t beat the location or opportunity.
I am so grateful for all of my family, friends, teachers, and students that have helped me get where I am now. You may not know you have helped but know now! I am grateful for all of my blog followers and new friends from the internet that are alongside supporting my journey through life. There are big things coming in my life and I am going after all of it!