On this site we talk about all kinds of inspiration. But today I want to discuss being inspired to give back in your own way. Michelle Obama may not ever know who I am or what I do, but she has inspired me to do what I do in my own way. As the First Lady of the United States of America, Mrs. Obama does many things differently from the First Ladies before her. She chooses her own causes. Her push for healthier eating and physical fitness has inspired people around the country to make changes in their lives. She has her own style of dressing and expressing herself, and both are extremely effective. She doesn't hide the fact that he is intelligent and powerful in her own right, despite the fact that there are some people who don't believe she fits the mold of previous First Ladies. But, I find her inspiring for exactly this reason. Being different, has made her even more important to people around the globe. Because of Michelle Obama I'm inspired to give back, even though not everyone will "get" what I'm giving. What's more, sometimes we give different things on different days. On some days I can blog about deep issues, but on other days I'm posting an outfit picture taken in the bathroom. That's just how it is.
We have all been given chances - whether large or small - join a team, contribute to a project, or create something new - and I think it's important to look at those things for what they are: opportunities to express ourselves in our unique ways. If you are in the midst of doing great things, I believe you are doing what you are doing right now because you are who you are. That's because I believe the same is true for me. I could have done it another way, but then what would be the point of that? What am I really contributing if I'm doing something in exactly the same way it has always been done. I'm not here to be a copy of other people, and neither are you. To me, it's more proof that it's OK that no one before you has ever done it the way you have. And it's thrilling to blaze your own trail. As long as you're getting it done, then do YOU.
This is what I tell the young people I mentor in my field. Whether we are working on writing or networking or some other learned skill, I try to first teach them master the rules. But I also teach them to go above and beyond, which requires being inspired and being willing to think outside of the box. So it's never my aim to tear them, down but show them how to use their unique attributes, energy and personalities to achieve their goals. This is the way that I give back and thanks to the First Lady's shining example, I will continue doing it my way.
Because a great mentor can make all the difference, Coca-Cola has teamed up with Magic Johnson, Common and Debra Lee of BET Networks to give four young people the apprenticeship experience of a lifetime. Visit MCR.com/PayItForward to nominate an aspiring youth and help pay it forward to the next generation. You'll also be automatically entered for a chance to win $5,000 for each nomination you make (up to five nominations per person).
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Coca-Cola via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are all mine and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Coca-Cola.