Dancing to the Beat of My Own Drum
It is a Sunday morning, and I sit outside in the quiet moment before the chatter, clatter and business of the world around me wakes up. A cricket wakes up early with me chirping his morning song, birds seem to want to harmonize. The only thing I seem to think about is the amazing melodious tempo that the world around me seems to be going. The birds, the bugs and even the wind in the air does not worry about what everything else around them is doing, they simply go forward in their tempo. They have their goals, their tasks and the things they know they desire and need to do to live their lives. There is not discussion, there is no worry of what is on the horizon… for them it simply is what is in store in the present moment.
For a majority of my life, I had sat in the back seat, worried to get out of the car because I was unaware of where I was heading since I was not in the driver’s seat. It is not that I could not drive, however it was due to the fact that I chose to sit back there, perhaps fear that I could not drive this life to the place I wanted it to go. Maybe I listened to all the back seat drivers telling me when to turn, when to stop and when to go and how fast I should drive.
As a young boy, I was always a smiley boy. I was shy, and from the beginning I have always shared my time and space with another, literally! I was born with a twin sister, and I always had her has a companion, a playmate, and I always knew I had her. My older sister was not just a sister, at times she had to be mom at times, especially in some of our circumstances. our lives growing up were not always easy, and without sharing all the details, I can say that I, as well as my sisters learned that our opinion was not a factor. We were to do, be and become who we were told to be. I can say that even as a young boy at age 8-9… I knew this was wrong.
Through this journey, I learned to hide who I was, because I thought it was not needed. Yes, we had our own likes, we had our collective events we liked (MTV, cartoons, games), however, when it came to developing into the person I was destined to be, I never really understood what that was about. Though we were all able to eventually get out of that environment, and becoming adults with our own lives, the scars and the lessons of that childhood continued to resonate in my personal life.
For me, relationships were scary. I did not want to share my life, ask for help, get too close, because I was ashamed, uncertain and unsure how I could live my life for and with another, when I don’t truly know myself. I have heard so many times, those phrases and statements about becoming who you want to be, going after life, making a mark and going for it. I guess for a long period of time, I felt like a fly stuck on a web. I knew other people did great things, and though I did have great talents and skills, I was better off in the background, in the backseat and root for others, watching them excel to greatness, hoping to experience their joy, and have fulfillment from their lives. It did get better as the years have gone by, however, still I needed to find a way to truly connect with myself. To find my own beat, rhythm and tempo in life. I assumed that I was good at doing what I needed to do, and just hide the rest.
That was until one day when I received an invitation.
It was in October of 2012 when I saw a post from my good friend Jenny who said that there was an event that had an open spot. It was a leadership seminar, and would be great for people looking to improve their business and personal skills. I reached out to Jenny, and the next thing I know, I found myself signed up for the class in November. I knew nothing of the course except for what Jenny said, or rather did NOT say about the course.
It was the first evening of U the Leader, and I come into the hotel, knowing nobody else who was in this class. As we started the class, I had NO idea what hit me! It was impactful from the very beginning, forcing me to immediately get out of my comfort zone. One of the biggest things I had to work with that evening was that 8-9 year old boy who lived inside me, afraid, unsure and uncertain on what to do next. I had thoughts of giving up, and just walking away, however, as the night went on, I knew that this was something that I needed to do… for the first time… for me.
As I went through the weekend, I came face-to-face with the realities of who I was, and who I have become based on the thoughts and feelings I had about myself. I also learned that the way I treated others, was not always the way I treated myself. As I graduated U the Leader, I understood an amazing truth; a leader becomes a great leader when it starts within my heart and spirit. I have to walk this life to the beat of my own drum.
For the next 6 months I found myself getting more involved with U & Improved. I completed U the Communicator, learning how lacking my communication was with others, as well as with myself. I learned that I need to stop hiding from life, and let that beat go on… as loud as it can without hesitancy of what others say or do as a result. My life was bombarded with amazing people.
I have become friends with some people that I would never have known if I didn’t reach out, share, smile at, and present myself. I have some friends that though I have only known for a short time, know me better than some folks I have known for years. The Divelbiss’ Tiffany and Skip have made an incredible impact in my life, showing me support and commitment to other people in a way that always seemed too good to be true… and it was foreign to me. I had to learn to accept that support, and to understand that that love, that commitment and support was without limits and without conditions. Friends like them, my amazing team members from all my U & Improved classes, remind me of the lyric from my favorite musical Les Miserables that says, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” I have indeed have experienced his face many times. There are so many other friends, so many to mention, that have helped me crack this shell that I was hiding in, and to get me out. To be unafraid to take on some of these amazingly difficult situations in my life, and to carry on without guilt, without shame and to continue to be a light despite hard times.
On May 11th, I graduated from U the Warrior. It was so fitting that some of my favorite people where there with me to share this most impactful weekend in my life. What warrior for me was an announcement of my breaking out into this world. That the rhythm has been set, and I was here to stay. I learned not to give up. To get up and get what I want, even if it seems too much or too hard. Most importantly, it showed me to not be ashamed and afraid to be who I am, and to be there for others, and allow those people to be in my life.
For me, U & Improved is not just a company that has classes to help us become better leaders, it was the stepping stone to get me to the place I needed to get to in my life. They did not sugar coat or give me a glass of water to fill my thirst in life, they gave me the path, the tools and the desire to get after what I really wanted. To fill my own glass, and to celebrate that with others. We have many people of different walks of life that are a part of this amazing community. There has never been a community like this that has ever shown this type of acceptance.
The vision of Jodi Low is beyond just helping people be better leaders, it is helping the world become a better place for everyone. The more passionate people we have living for one another, the more opportunities we have to change this world for the better. Because of U & Improved and its direction, I have learned to see what I want out of life. It is my decision to go from there. It is mine to go forward.
My motto in life is simple, “I am worth every effort.” Simple words, and powerful results. I will have issues, I will have challenges, however, the effort I put into not just getting through the hard times, but also celebrating my life every day, for every moment, for every person I am lucky enough to get to know. will forever shape who I am, and the legacy I want to leave behind. I am a firm believer that if God wanted us all to live the same lives, to be the same, to look the same and do the same things, all of our hearts would be at the exact same time, the exact same way. The reality is, we all have our own heartbeat, our own rhythm in life. I choose to spend the rest of my life not just living to that beat, but dancing, celebrating and sharing it with others. It is a daily choice, and the most important choice we can make every day we wake up. My list of “somedays” will become realities, and more than anyone else, the beat will go on.
Who wants to dance?
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