Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Impact a Life

~ I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~ Maya Angelou

Look at the picture to the right. One single drop of water released it's energy and look at the impact on the rest of the water. The energy released by that one drop of water is now passing throughout the rest. I'm gonna share how people have given me their time and energy. How it has impacted my life and those around me. So, go ahead and imagine what impact you could make by just one simple act.

Coming from a small community in Southern West Virgina there wasn't much expected of me when I joined the Navy. My parents told my recruiter that I would never make it in the Navy. Sounds harsh, but at that point in my life I hadn't taken too much seriously.

When I was told in Bootcamp that I could receive a spot promotion if I graduated in the top of my class, I did. When I was told that I could get a spot promotion in Submarine School, I did. I did know the value of hard work, I had work ethic. I knew enough to know when to ask someone else how to do something. I had the mental abilities to learn the workings of a Nuclear powered submarine. Even though I had started out well I would never had made it as far as I have without those in my life that imparted wisdom and advice to me.

The one thing I had never had in my life was a mentor. I take that back, my Algebra teacher saw potential in me and pushed me hard, he pushed me harder then any teacher had. He finally pulled me aside one day and told me that he knew I could do the work, that's why he wouldn't let up on me. No matter how many homework assignments I didn't turn in or tests I blew through just to get them done.

I have had many mentors throughout my career. But, there are two that stand out the most. I first met Master Chief Missile Technician Michael K. Young in 1994. I had the pleasure and honor to work with him at Strategic Systems Programs. I was a young and cocky twenty-something that thought I had it all figured out. I remember many occasions getting sound advice from Mike. He always knew how to get through to me.

Two points he taught me that served me well where, You have three silver bullets and Never shoot an Elephant with a BB gun. Let me explain, He was trying to teach me to know when to fight and when to let something go. At this point in my life I fought everything and everyone. I was quickly wearing myself out. I didn't care who you were or what rank you were, if I thought I was right and you were wrong, well I was going to keep going until you saw my side of things. He gave me a lot of one-sided mentoring sessions, but at that time, that was the only way I would listen.

There were many other things he taught me about life and having a successful career. But, I'll save that for another time. His last gesture to me was that at his retirement ceremony from the Navy, he stopped mid way through it and called me up to the stage. I had no idea why he was calling me up there, I just went. He turned to me and then I heard the following words being read out loud, " Attention to award. The Secretary of the Navy takes pleasure in presenting the Navy and Marine Corps achievement medal to Electronics Technician Second Class, Submarines,  Greg Farley.

I almost fainted when I heard this. I never in a million years thought I would be getting an award on this day, his day. The day we were honoring him for his long and distinguished career. He choose to honor me.

That is a day I will never forget, I will never forget how he made me feel. To this day, that is the one award that I cherish the most. Not because it was the only one I got or even the highest award I have received. It was because he did what he always did and that was to give back to someone else.

I can guarantee that there is someone who you can touch like that right now, wherever you are. If you are a Leader, then give back. Not tomorrow or the next, today. Make the choice to impart your wisdom and experience to another.

Part 2 here

Please leave comments about your experiences with people that have Impacted your life in a positive manner. The more we share, the more we grow. Thanks!


Michael said...

Another great article Greg!! We all have someone or in most cases several people who went out of their way to push us to become better people and reach our full potentials.

Following the pay it forward mentality we can also do the same for those working with us. I say with us because even though we may be the manager/leader if we do not work as a team, "our" accomplishments will be failures instead of successes.

Jesse Stoner said...

I enjoyed your post. It felt real - lovely and touching.

Greg Farley said...

Ms. Stoner, thank you so much for your comment. It means a lot coming from someone with your experience. I also appreciate you following me on Twitter. @Mike, Thank you as well. Your opinion means a lot to me and I'm glad that you enjoyed that.

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