Think of the people you idolize. Why do they impress you? Is it the possessions they’ve acquired, the power they’ve secured, or the fame they’re enjoying? Are you in awe of them because they’ve been able to achieve what most people can only dream about?
On the other hand, when you put their accomplishments aside, are they good people?
- Live an honorable life?
- Treat people with kindness and respect?
- Give more than they take?
- Keep their ego in check?
- Think “we” rather than “me”?
- Bring out the best in people?
- Show compassion and empathy?
- Accept responsibility for their actions?
- Give back to the community?
- Raise happy and productive children?
- Make a difference in people’s lives?
Some folks look good at first glance, but initial appearances can be deceiving. For example, Hollywood celebrities often give the illusion of being happy and successful, but their image is carefully crafted by a PR firm.
In contrast, there are plenty of ordinary people who do extraordinary things but don’t get the recognition that they deserve, due to their humble and unassuming nature.
Meet Four Extraordinary People
Here are four stories of people who are not movie stars, athletes, or heads of state — they’re ordinary people, like you and me, who raised the bar of excellence:
Faisal Hoque. After arriving from Bangladesh at the age of 19, Faisal enrolled as an electrical engineering student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. After paying tuition for the Summer and Fall semesters, he had total savings of $700 to cover his living expenses. With no family members nearby and no source of financial help, Faisal worked the graveyard shift as a janitor to survive. Today, his long list of accomplishments is impressive. With a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and determination, Faisal has developed over 20 commercial businesses and technology platforms and drives innovation for the US Government. On top of that, Ziff Davis, the digital media company, named Faisal one of the “100 Most Influential People in Technology.” And he’s a three-time Wall Street Journal best-selling author of REINVENT (#1), Everything Connects (#2), and LIFT (#1). Faisal donates all book proceeds to Multiple Myeloma Cancer Research and other charities.
Lorelei Colbert. Lorelei Colbert was 28 years old, newly married, and ready to take the world by storm, when she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Lorelei created the Chemo to Kindness℠ Challenge — encouraging people to perform an act of kindness for each week of her chemotherapy treatment. Instead of focusing on the harsh procedures that lay before her, Lorelei found inspiration from the good she was doing for the world. The Chemo to Kindness Challenge inspired more than 1,700 acts of kindness and impacted more than 75 organizations worldwide. Today, as a breast cancer survivor, Lorelei speaks, writes, paints, and advocates for the cause. If I were faced with a crushing medical diagnosis, I hope that I would have the courage, dignity, and grace of Lorelei Colbert.
David A. Tierno. Dave was head of the Management Consulting Group of EY (Ernst & Young), one of the largest consulting firms in the country. I reported to him for over a decade. His schedule ran like clockwork despite his demanding agenda. And yet, he always found time if someone needed him. Furthermore, when Dave ran into an employee on the street, he not only knew them by first name, but remembered conversations he had with them months ago. Dave never had to pull rank or make demands of the employees; he won our hearts through the unwavering trust, respect, and admiration he garnered. Even though it’s been over 30 years since I worked for him, I, like many others, would still run through fire for Dave. Dave passed away in 2018.
Col. Thomas John Dix. Tom joined the Air Force as a commissioned officer in 1964. As a pilot, he flew many missions in Vietnam and was named Aircraft Commander of plane and crew, while serving as a first lieutenant. Tom ended his active duty in 1969 but considered it an honor and privilege to serve our country. He became a citizen soldier in the Air Force Reserves where he served for another 21 years — attaining the rank of Colonel in 1987. In retirement, Tom headed out on his adult tricycle to plant American flags commemorating Memorial Day, July 4th, and Veterans Day. Armed with his handy drill, he planted flags every 20 feet down the main street of his neighborhood. Tom passed away in December 2022 and received the high honor of being interred in Arlington National Cemetery.
That says it all. The self-made accomplishments of a migrant from Bangladesh, the inspiring crusade of a newly diagnosed cancer patient, an outstanding people-oriented leader, and a patriotic veteran who truly loved his country and its flag. It doesn’t get better than that.
How to Truly Impress People
While it may be tempting to idolize people who achieve fame and fortune, I admire folks because of who they are and how they choose to live their life. People who impress me don’t always live in luxury, have a fancy title, or are widely known; they’re everyday people who bring out the best in others, give back to the world, and help create a brighter future for the next generation. After all, it’s not riches that provide meaning, but rather living a rich and rewarding life.
Check out Franks NEW book, Leadership by Example: Be a role model who inspires greatness in others
Think Of the People You Idolize. Why Do They Impress You?
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