When I was in the 6th grade I had a classmate that was always getting in trouble. Whenever he had the chance to be a distraction he was first to get the teachers attention. It did not matter how he got her attention – just that he got it. Over time, he began to be laughed at verses laughed with. Other kids would tease him and pick on him. The more they did that the more he would act up in class. Teachers even got in on the act, pointing out his mistakes and whenever something went wrong in class, the teacher was the same toward him, “What have you done now?” It never mattered if he was guilty or not. In the beginning of the year, he came to school dressed he cared what he looked like. Over time he became less and less concerned with how he looked and he began to reflect what others said about him and even worse, how he felt about himself.
I have had the privilege of working with people from all types of backgrounds and incomes, and I have found that many times the way they dress is much like my old schoolmate. They have adopted what others have said about them and so they do not spend any time trying to look their best. My classmate was crying out for attention and in his world, any attention was better than no attentionâ€¦If you are a parent, you know this is true for most children. Yet as we age, that desire changes. Many people dress so no one will notice them and they would rather blend in verses standout. WHY? Why do we do that? I truly believe that one of the reasons is when we stand out we are more open to criticism. When we standout, others around us will want to put us down and point out our failures as we get older. Sometimes we choose to be hidden and unseen in order to blend in and just accept where we think we are. How about you? Are you the older version of my classmate?
Have you allowed society, a divorce, a failed relationship, a lost job, or the rude comments of gossips and others to push you down so that you dress in a way that you no longer standout?
My classmate came back to school in the 8th grade – he had spent the summer at camp and had a new mentor in his life who believed in him. Someone who lifted him up and told him he could do anything he put his mind to. He no longer chose to blend in and hide, he no longer decided to act up and be a clown because he wanted attention to make him feel good. He had gone from class clown to class leader. His attitude was reflected in his image and his behavior. He knew he was important to his mentor and his family and best of all, he knew he was valuable. He had the courage to step up and step out. This is true today. Men and women want to blend in sometimes so that they are NOT noticed. We are scared that others will see our imperfections and ridicule us.
All that said, I love my job and helping people. I love helping them see that their image is not what others say it is, but rather what they say it is. America is in love with reality shows that give this before and after transformation in life. Why? Because we all want to be better, we all want to excel – sometimes we just lack the courage to say I want to improve! Well, this is my call to courage. Take the time to reach out to a friend, a mentor, a family member and tell them to help you improve the quality of your life. Have the courage to change for the better. Now I see my classmate on Facebook of all places successful in life, business, his marriage and he looks very happy. I’m certain he will tell you that it is much easier to stay in the mud than it is to have the courage to get up and say, I deserve better and I want to improveâ€¦but in the long run, it is so much better to take the harder road than it is to try and disappear.
I hope I can help you respond to the call for courage, and be a mentor and friend who can help you project the image that reflects how amazing you truly are.
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