Michigan Special Olympics Winter Games

special oI’ve been back from this trip for almost two weeks now. I am still trying to comprehend in my mind how it made me feel. I was an experience unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. I was blessed to be 1 out of 100 volunteers that were able to work to make sure that the Michigan Special Olympics Winter Games went off without a hitch. Yes, it was hard work, but work that I would do over and over again just to see and experience the joy that radiated from those athletes.

I was placed to volunteer at Schuss Mountain with the Athletes competing in Alpine Ski and Snowboarding. Waking up at 6am to bundle up and catch the shuttle at 7am making it to the mountain at 8 to make sure everything was prepared for the athletes. Then standing along side the gates on the course to make sure if they fell or anything went wrong we were there to assist them, but when things went well I got to be their cheerleader the whole way down the hill! Being able to cheer the athletes on as they flew by me, some singing there own little theme song to themselves, or telling themselves “I can do it, I can do it, I can do it” the whole way down the hill. Even one athlete I was cheering him on say “you got this!!” and he said thank you to every volunteer cheering him on down the hill. It made my heart soar. Their determination, pride, joy and their pure hearts took over mine.

At the end of a long day at the hill the volunteers were able to go down to the awards ceremonies and hand out watch and talk to the athletes as they were receiving their awards. This here was when I started to grasp what these games meant to these athletes. I was standing next to a gentleman and I asked him “are you excited, nervous?”  and what he said blew me away he says, ” you know what, I’m just happy to be here, no matter what place I get.” He took first place, he started crying dropped to the ground, then stood back up and did the iconic arms in the arm victory stance. That right there embodies what Special Olympics stands for. It changed my life.



WHYThis Ted talk embodies what it means to be a leader. He shows that in the quote “people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.”  That quote is what is whole speech revolves around. He starts of with three circles, one inside of the other the biggest circle being WHAT, middle circle being HOW , and the smallest circle being WHY. WHAT is “what they/you do,” HOW, very few know how they do it, WHY, why they do it. It represents and stands for how we, most of the time are being motivated by the wrong things ie: money. In the perspective of a business companies forget the WHY which is the most important part. The WHY is the “inspiring” . For example a company can tell you to buy a product, but to be successful you need to find your purpose not profit, then the people will buy. “People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.” In the perspective of leadership you goal is to be the leader that inspires people wont follow not because they have to but because they want to. You want to be leaders not those who lead. To do this you have to know your why. Why is like your purpose/mission statement once you have your mission statement you will no longer just be “selling” your product you will be moving in to the circle to the WHY, why/what im leading for. What I want to inspire to everyone.

So through the Ted Talk the over all message I got was that you have to not go around doing things. If you truly want to make a difference you need to have a purpose and a statement such as a why statement/mission statement to guide you in you endeavors.

Now forming my why statement I had to evaluate my whole life. What I want to embody to inspire my life and to guide me to inspire others lives. I was challenged to take the Ted Talk and to incorporate it to my life to take it to the next step. What I am finding out is that it is not easy, but its not concrete. Your inspiration and passion can always be evolving. But to have a WHY gives you the purpose and inspiration to inspire those to follow not because they have to because they want to.


does leadership come from a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’?

yes noIn my personal opinion to be a leader you have to be able know when to start with a “yes” and when to start with “no”. It’s a careful balance of the two. For myself a student leader balancing life, school, involvement, sports, time, and my sanity. Having the ability to say “no” is more crucial. Having to choose I think an important part of being a leader is knowing what things you can have the biggest impact and do your best work, your best quality work. Doing a couple things being highly involved and influential verses doing tons of things and half assing it. You have to say “no” to some things. Being able to know yourself as a leader and what you can personally can handle. Being a leader myself and living with and knowing many leaders a big thing we run into is being CRAZY busy. Wanting to succeed at school, and social life ,and being involved. All of us want to make a difference and and and and the list just never ends. Our schedules can get jam packed which isn’t a bad thing, but you have to know when to much is to much. Being able to recognize not only what you as a student leader can handle but what your schedule can handle. Than having to say “no” to some opportunities that would turn you from a involved leader in a few things but puts your all into it to being a  leader who is over involved and has to half ass things because they don’t have time. When that occurs is when you are unable to be a successful influential leader , the leader everyone wants to be, the one that makes a difference. You have to be able to say no to give yourself the opportunity to great things. But to open the door to your success as a leader you had to say “yes”. Its a touchy balance you have to know when the right time is for each.